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THE WELDING INSTITUTE

Welding Imperfections:
What are welding imperfections?
Welding imperfections are material discontinuities caused by, or during, the process of welding. All things contain imperfections, but it is only when they fall outside of a level of acceptance that they should be termed defects, as they may render the product defective, or unfit for its purpose. As welds can be considered as castings they may contain all kinds of imperfections associated with the casting of metals, plus any other particular imperfections associated with the specific welding process being used. Welding imperfections can be classified as follows: 1) 3) 5) 7) Cracks Solid inclusions Surface and profile Misalignment 2) 4) 6) Gas pores and cavities Lack of fusion Mechanical/Surface damage

1)

Cracks:
Cracks sometimes occur in welded materials, and may be caused by a great number of factors. Generally, we can say that for any crack like imperfection to occur in a material, there are 3 criteria that must be present: a) A force b) Restraint c) A weakened structure

Typical types of hot and cold cracks that will be discussed later in the course are: 1) H2 Cracks 2) Solidification Cracks 3) Lamellar Tears

A Materials likelihood to crack during welding can be evaluated under the term Weldability. This may be defined as: The ease with which materials may be welded by the common welding processes All cracks have sharp edges, which produce high stress concentrations. This generally results in rapid progression, however this also depends on the properties of the metal. Cracks are classed as planar imperfections as they generally have only 2 visible, or measurable dimensions i.e. length and depth. Most fall into the defects category, though some standards will allow a degree of so called crater, or star cracking.

Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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2)

Gas pores, porosity and cavities:


Gas pores: These are defined as singular gas filled cavities < 1.6mm diameter, which are created during final solidification by expulsion of gases from solution in solidifying weld metal. Porosity: Porosity is a term used to describe a collection, or area of gas pores. These areas may be classified by their number, size and grouping of the pores within the area. (i.e. Fine, or coarse cluster porosity) Porosity is mainly produced when welding improperly cleaned plate, or when using damp welding consumables. Gases may also be formed by the breakdown of paints, oil based products, corrosion or anti corrosion products that have been left on the plates to be welded. A singular gas filled cavity = or > 1.6mm diameter is termed a blow hole Porosity can be frequently formed during the MIG or TIG process by the temporary loss of gas shield, and ingress of air into the arc column. This may be caused by movement of the surrounding atmosphere, or wind. Porosity may also be caused by improper settings of shielding gas flow rate. Gas pores may also be break the welds surface where they are collectively known as surface porosities. Porosity may also found in deep Sub Arc welds due to the distance that trapped gases formed in the root area need to travel to escape from the surface, and may also occur when using damp MMA welding electrodes, or damp Sub Arc Fluxes. Porosity may be prevented by correct cleaning of materials, correct setting and shielding when using the TIG or MIG welding processes, and using dry welding consumables. Porosity may generally be identified on a radiograph as a spherical imperfection that has varying density shades, from highest in the centre, decreasing to its outer edges i.e. Surface breaking cluster porosity Coarse cluster porosity Blow hole > 1.6 mm

Shrinkage cavity Fine cluster porosity

Hollow root bead Shrinkage cavities: These are internal voids, or cavities that are formed during the solidification of single welds of high depth to width ratio (d:w) as with SAW or MIG. They may be defined as a hot plastic tears caused by opposing contractional strains. Shrinkage cavities produce high stress concentrations at their sharp edges, and are thus generally treated as cracks.
Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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3)

Solid inclusions:
Solid inclusions include metallic and non-metallic inclusions that may be trapped in the weld during the process of welding. The type of solid inclusion that may be expected is really dependant on the welding process being used. In welding processes that use fluxes to form all the required functions of shielding and chemical cleaning, such as MMA and Submerged Arc welding, slag inclusions may occur. Other welding processes such as MIG and TIG use silicon, aluminium and other elements to de-oxidise the weld. These may form silica, or alumina inclusions. Any of these non-metallic compounds may be trapped inside a weld during welding. This often happens after slag traps, such as undercut have been formed. Slag traps are mostly caused by incorrect welding technique. Metallic inclusions include tungsten inclusions that may be produced during TIG welding by a poor welding technique, an incorrect tungsten vertex angle, or too high amperage for the diameter of tungsten being used. Copper inclusions may be caused during MIG/MAG welding by a lack of welding skill, or incorrect settings in mechanised, or automated MIG welding. (Mainly welding Aluminium alloys) Other welding phenomena such arc blow or the deviation of the electric arc by magnetic forces, can cause solid inclusions to be trapped in welds. The locations of these inclusions may be within the centre of a deposited weld, or between welds where the result causes Lack of inter-run fusion, or at the sidewall of the weld preparation causing Lack of side wall fusion Generally solid internal inclusions may be caused by: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) Lack of welder skill. (Incorrect welding technique) Poor manipulation of the welding process, or electrode. Incorrect parameter settings, i.e. voltage, amperage, speed of travel. Magnetic arc blow. Incorrect positional use of the process, or consumable. Incorrect inter-run cleaning.

Surface breaking solid inclusion Internal solid inclusion causing a lack of inter-run Internal solid inclusion causing fusion a lack of sidewall fusion

Internal solid Solid inclusions from base metal undercut in the root run, or hot pass (Slag traps)
Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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4)

Lack of fusion:
Lack of fusion imperfections, are defined as a lack of union between two adjacent areas of material. This may be accompanied, or caused by other imperfections as explained in the last section. Lack of fusion can be considered a serious imperfection, as like cracks, they produce areas of high stress concentration. Lack of fusion, or overlap (a form of lack of fusion) may occur in the weld face area during positional welding caused by the action of gravity and incorrect use of the process. Arc blow is a prime cause of lack of fusion imperfections, particularly when using high current processes, such as Sub Arc using high direct electric currents. (DC+ or DC -) Lack of fusion may also be formed in the root area of the weld where it may be found on one, or both plate edges. It may also be accompanied by incomplete root penetration. Lack of fusion is also a common imperfection in Dip transfer MIG welding of metals over 3mm thickness, especially when welding vertically down. This is caused by the inherent coldness of this form of metal transfer, and the action of gravity. Like solid inclusions, lack of fusion imperfections may be caused by: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) Lack of welder skill. (Incorrect welding technique) Poor manipulation of the welding process, or electrode. Incorrect parameter settings, i.e. voltage, amperage, speed of travel. Magnetic arc blow. Incorrect positional use of the process, or consumable. Incorrect inter-run cleaning. Incorrect or non-feathered tack welds. (Lightly ground prior to welding)

Lack of sidewall fusion (Also causing an Incompletely filled groove)

Overlap (Causing a Cold laps)

Lack of inter-run Lack of sidewall fusion Lack of root fusion

Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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5)

Surface and profile:


Surface and profile imperfections are generally caused by poor welding techniques. This includes the use of incorrect welding parameters, electrode/blowpipe sizes and/or manipulation and joint set up. This category may be split into two further groups of weld face and weld root. Surface and profile imperfections are shown pictorially in A & B below:

A:
Spatter is not a major factor in lowering the weldments strength, though it may mask other imperfections, and should therefore be cleaned off before inspection. Spatter may also hinder NDT and be detrimental to coatings. It can also cause micro cracking or hard spots in some materials due to the localised heating/quenching effect. An incompletely filled groove may bring the weld below its DTT. It is a major stress concentration when accompanied by lack of sidewall fusion. Lack of root fusion causes a serious stress concentration to occur in the root. It may also render the root area more susceptible to corrosion in service

Spatter An Incompletely filled groove

Lack of root fusion

Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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B:
A bulbous contour is an imperfection as it causes sharp stress concentrations at the toes of individual passes and may also contribute to overall poor toe blend Arc strikes, Stray-arcing, or Stray flash may cause many problems including several types of cracks to occur. They can also cause depressions in the plate bringing it below its DTT. Arc strikes would normally be NDT inspected and then repaired. Incomplete root penetration may be caused by too small a root gap, insufficient amperage, or poor welding technique. It also causes high stress concentrations to occur. It also generally produces a weld with less throat thickness than the DTT of the joint.

Bulbous contour Arc Strikes Poor toe blend

Incomplete root penetration bead

Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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C: An irregular bead width is a surface imperfection, which is often referenced in application standards as. The weld bead should be regular along its linear length

Undercut: Undercut can be defined as a depression at the toe of a weld in a previous deposited weld, or base metal, caused by welding. Undercut is generally caused by incorrect welding technique, including the use of too high a current for the electrode being used, and the welding position. It is often caused in the top toe of fillet welds when attempting to produce a large leg length fillet weld in one run. Undercut can also be considered a serious imperfection particularly if it is sharp, as again it causes high stress concentrations. It is gauged in severity by its length, depth and sharpness. Parent metal, surface undercut

Parent metal, top toe undercut

Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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Weld metal, surface undercut

Root Run or Hot Pass undercut

Shrinkage grooves: Shrinkage grooves may occur in the root area and are caused by contractional forces pulling on the hot plastic base metal in the root area. It is often mistakenly termed as root undercut. Shrinkage grooves

Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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Root concavity: (Suck back) This may be caused when using too high a gas backing pressure in purging. It may also be produced when welding with too large a root gap and depositing too thin a root bead, when the hot pass may pull back the root bead through contractional strains.

Root concavity

Excess penetration: Often caused by using too high a welding current, and/or, slow travel speed, coupled with a large root gap, and/or a small root face for the current or process being used. It is often accompanied by burn through, which can be defined as a local collapse of the weld puddle causing a hole, or depression in the final weld root bead. Root oxidation: Root oxidation may take place when welding re-active metals such as stainless steels with contaminated, or inadequate purging gas flow. Incompletely fused Tack Welds: It is often a procedural requirement for tack welds to be feathered (Lightly ground and blended) prior to welding. This requirement is mainly dependent upon the class of work. Feathering should enable the tack welds to be more easily fused and thus more smoothly blended into the root/penetration bead during welding. Failure to achieve this correctly may result in a degree of lack of root fusion/penetration occurring in the weld root run. An un-feathered root tack weld Adjacent un-smooth area showing a lack of root fusion and/or root penetration
Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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Crater pipes: This often occurs during TIG welding in the crater at the end of a weld run during final solidification. It is caused by insufficient filler material to meet the solidification process and can be eliminated by applying adequate filler metal, or using a slope out control.

Crater pipe

Root oxidation in Stainless Steel

Excess root penetration bead This may lead to a burn through A local collapse of the weld pool leaving a hole in the root area.

Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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To summarize, we can list surface or profile welding imperfections as follows: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) Incompletely filled grove/lack of fusion. Spatter. Arc strikes. (Stray arcs) Incomplete root penetration. Lack of root fusion. Bulbous or irregular contour. Poor toe blend. Irregular bead width. Undercut. (Weld and Base metal) Root concavity. Root shrinkage grooves. Excess penetration. Burn through. Root oxidation.

6)

Mechanical/Surface damage:
Mechanical/Surface damage: This can be defined as any surface material damage caused during the manufacturing process, or in-service conditions. This can include damage caused by: 1) 3) 5) 7) Grinding. Hammering. Chiselling. Corrosion. 2) 4) 6) Chipping. Braking off welded attachments by hammering. Using needle guns to compress weld capping runs.

As with the stray arcing, the above imperfections can be detrimental as they reduce the through thickness dimension of the plate in that area. They can cause local stress concentrations and should be repaired prior to completing the job.

Chisel Marks

Pitting Corrosion

Grinding Marks

Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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7)

Misalignment:
There are 2 main forms of misalignment in plate materials, which are termed: 1) Linear misalignment. 2) Angular misalignment.

Linear misalignment: can be controlled during weld set up by the correct use/control of the weld set up technique i.e. tacking, bridging, clamping etc. Excess weld metal height and the root penetration bead are always measured from the lowest plate to the highest point of the weld metal, as shown below. Excess weld metal height

3 mm Linear misalignment measured in mm Angular misalignment: may be controlled by the correct application of distortion control techniques, i.e. balanced welding, offsetting, or use of jigs, clamps, etc.

15 Angular misalignment measured in degrees

Hi-Lo is a term that is generally used to describe the unevenness across the root faces between pipes found during setting up for welding. This unevenness is often caused by an un-matching and/or irregular wall thickness, or between pipes having any degree of ovality. It is not a term that should be used when describing misalignment in plates.

Hi-Lo

Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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Summary of Welding Imperfections:


Group
1) Cracks

Type
Centreline H2 Lamellar Tears Porosity Gas pore < 1.6mm Blow hole > 1.6mm Shrinkage cavity Slag MMA/SAW Silica TIG/MAG(Fe steels) Tungsten TIG Copper (MIG/MAG) Lack of side wall fusion (Can be surface breaking) Lack of root fusion Cold lapping Poor toe blend Arc Strikes Incomplete penetration Incompletely filled groove Spatter Bulbous contour Undercut: Surface and internal Shrinkage groove (Root) Root concavity Excess Penetration Burn through Crater Pipes (Mainly TIG) Hammer/Grinding marks etc. Angular Misalignment () Linear Misalignment (mm) Hi-Lo (mm) Only in pipe

Causes/Location
Weld Metal Weld Metal & HAZ Base metal Damp electrodes Un-cleaned plates/pipes Loss of gas shield Weld metal (high d:w) Poor Inter-run cleaning Slag traps. Arc blow Dipping tungsten in pool Dipping contact tip in pool Arc Blow Incorrect welding technique Non feathering of tack welds Positional welding technique Incorrect welding technique Poor welding technique < Root gap/Amps. > Root face Incorrect welding technique Damp consumables Incorrect welding technique Too high an amperage Poor welding technique Contractional strains Too high gas pressure > Root gap/Amps < Root face Incorrect current decay Poor workmanship Poor fit-up. Distortion Poor fit-up. Irregular pipe wall, or ovality

2) Porosity/Cavities

3) Solid Inclusions

4) Lack of Fusion

5) Surface & Profile

6) Mechanical damage 7) Misalignment

Notes: The causes given in the above table should not be considered as the only possible causes of the imperfection given, but as an example of a probable cause. Good working practices and correct welder training will minimise the occurrence of unacceptable welding imperfections, or welding defects.

Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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Identify and name the following Welding Imperfections:


(As indicated within the ovals) 1 A 2 A

3 A

4 A

5 A

6 A

Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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9 A

10

11 A

12 A B

Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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13

14

A A

15 A

16

17 A B

18

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Solutions:
Page 3:14
1. 2. 3. 4. 5a. 6a. Weld metal undercut Lack of root fusion Root concavity Incomplete root penetration Lack of sidewall fusion Slag inclusion 5b 6a Cold lap (Bulbous contour) Base metal undercut

Page 3:15
7. 8. 9. 10. Pitting Corrosion Lack of sidewall fusion with an incompletely filled groove Spatter Bulbous contour with a Poor toe blend 11b. 12b. Lack of root fusion Weld metal undercut

11a. Arc strikes 12a. Base metal undercut

Page 3:16
13. 14. 15. 16. Chisel marks Incompletely filled groove with a bulbous contour Shrinkage grooves Burn through 17b. 18b. Undercut (In the top toe) Burn through

17a. Spatter 18a. Excess root penetration bead

Welding Inspection of Steels WIS 5 Section 03 Welding Imperfections Rev 09-09-03 Copyright 2003, TWI Ltd

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