Why is preheat sometimes required before welding?
Preheating the steel to be welded slows the cooling rate in the weld area. This may be necessary to avoid cracking of the weld metal or heat affected zone. The need for preheat increases with steel thickness, weld restraint, the carbon/alloy content of the steel, and the diffusible hydrogen of the weld metal. Preheat is commonly applied with fuel gas torches or electrical resistance heaters.