The inside and outside of the metal structure can be impacted by welding defects, that could seen at any point for the duration of the welding process. To avoid material loss and maintain the required quality, even though producing a weld free of defects is almost impossible, you ought to lessen its frequency.

A welding defect is any deviation from the specified metallic structure’s size and shape concerning the design and technical specs. A flawed welding manner, approach, or particular human behavior might be the supply of the deviation.

It’s important to remember that whilst a few flaws, like cracks, are ideal as long as they don’t decrease standards or fine, others are not. That being stated, this guide will help you in figuring out commonplace welding defects, as well as their reasons and treatments.

Types of welding defect
Types of welding defect

What Is a Weld Defect?

A weld defect is due to a bad weld, weakening the joint. It is the factor inside the welding system that exceeds the applicable tolerance. Dimensional flaws can occur, resulting in a subpar product. They also can seem within the form of a discontinuity or the residences of a material. 

Undercut welding defect
Undercut welding defect

Welding defects normally result from incorrect welding styles, material selection, ability, or machine settings which include welding velocity, cutting edge, and voltage. There are numerous alternatives for resolving a welding illness in welded metal. The metal can be repaired in some instances, but in others, the metallic has melted, and the welding process must be restarted.

What Are the Types of Welding Defects?

Defects in welds can be categorized based on their position in a metal. They are primarily external and internal.

External Welding Defects

These are surface or visual welding defects. They appear at the surface of the metallic weldment. External weld faults and defects are usually detectable through visible inspection or other strategies, including Dye Liquid Penetrants (DPI) or Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI). Common examples consist of cracks, undercuts, overlaps, porosity, spatter, and so forth.

Internal Welding Defects

Internal flaws in the metal material are usually not visible at the weld’s surface. Visual inspection and some non-destructive tests should be more frequently sufficient for detecting these flaws. However, they can be seen using Radiographic Testing (RT) and Ultrasonic Testing. Slag inclusions, incomplete fusion, and incomplete penetration are all common examples.

Weld defect
Weld defect

15 Common Weld Defects

Here are the top 15 common types of welding defect:

Undercut 

An  undercut welding defect can be formed in different ways, but it is primarily formed for two reasons. The first is to use too much current, which causes the joint edges to melt and drain into the weld. The second reason is a need for filler metal in the weld. This results in a reduced cross-section, which means notches or grooves along the weld, increasing stress when the material is fatigued. This flaw manifests at the weld’s toe or, in the case of multi-run welds, at the fusion face. Continuous, intermediate, and inter-run undercuts can all occur.

Causes 

  • Too much current causes the parent metal to overheat.
  • The ‘V’ is wider. 
  • Insufficient time spent keeping the electrode at the edges during weaving.   
  • The welding centerline has been shifted.

Remedies

  • Change the welding technique and take a break at the undercut edge.
  • Apply the proper edge preparation.
  • Use low current at all times.
  • Before welding, clean the plate.
  • Reduce the welding speed. 

Porosity 

Porosity defects, also known as wormhole welds occur when air or gas bubbles are trapped in the weld. Gases such as hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and steam are frequently produced during welding. A cross-section of porous weld beads usually resembles a sponge with trapped air bubbles.

Entrapped gases can be localized in a specific location or distributed uniformly throughout the weld. These gas bubbles can weaken the weld metal joint, making it more prone to fatigue and damage.

Causes

  • The wrong electrode for the metal to be welded contains too much moisture. 
  • An overheated electrode.

Remedies 

  • The electrodes should be dry for this; they are kept warm and dry.
  • To avoid porosity, always use the correct electrode, such as weld bright, alloy, and medium carbon steels with low hydrogen electrodes.
  • Rework by grinding and rewelding as needed.
  • Use a low current. 

Slag Inclusion

The molten flux floats on the molten weld metal after absorbing the oxide from the parent metal surface. As a result, some of the flux (slag) is incorporated into the molten metal.

Causes 

  • This could be due to low heat input, low current, or excessive weaving.
  • An undercut in the previous run or inadequate space between the plates.
  • If the weld pool is not sufficiently hot, the slag solidifies within the weld.  

Remedies 

  • Repairs are made by grinding and welding again.
  • Prepare the plates so that there are no obstructions, and the slag can float.
  • Increase the current or weave narrower. 

Cracks

Cracks are the most dangerous welding defect because they can quickly grow into larger ones, failing. Weld cracks are classified primarily based on how they form in the weld bead. Transverse cracks form across the width, while longitudinal cracks form parallel to the weld bead. Crater cracks form at the bead’s end, where the arc ends. Cracks can either be: 

  • Hot cracks: Weld joints crystallize when the parent and base metals are heated above 10,000°C, resulting in hot cracks. The two leading causes of hot cracks are using the wrong filler metal and subjecting the workpieces to rapid heating and cooling during procedures like laser welding.
  • Cold cracks: They appear following the weld metal’s cooling process. Days or even hours may pass after the metal cools before the weld crack appears.

Causes 

  • The joint’s high strength.
  • Wrong welding technique
  • High cooling rate.
  • Incorrect electrode use. 

Remedies 

  • Employ a weaving motion.  
  • Let the welded joint gradually cool.   
  • When welding, use a different sequence.   
  • If necessary, use joint key preheating and post-heating.
  • Select the appropriate electrodes based on the kind of parent metal that needs to be welded.

Excessive Penetration

 ‘V’ preparation for thick plates and square edge preparation for 3 mm plates are used when welding a butt joint. Penetration through to the entire thickness is thus possible. It is unacceptable to penetrate too deeply. 

Causes 

  • Operating electrodes improperly.
  • The welding pool overheated.
  • Incorrect electrode type and size. 

Remedies 

  • Make use of minimal current.  
  • Make sure the electrodes are the right size and kind. 
  • Make use of the proper root gap and root face dimensions. 

Lack of Penetration   

There is a lack of penetration if the weld metal is not entirely pierced to the joint’s root. There are several other causes, and they are:

 Causes

  • Low ampere current.
  • Increased welding travel speed.
  • Preheat on low heat.  
  • Inappropriate edge preparation. 

Remedies

  • Make use of a high current.  
  • The figure shows welding defects such as spatter, lack of fusion, misalignment, and so on, which are described further below.
  • Use the appropriate edge preparation for the thickness of the plates.
  • Slow down the welding process.

Spatter 

Metal particles ejected from the welding arc are known as spatters. During GAS welding, tack welding or ARC welding, these particles are scattered or spllashed on the base metal. It can also happen during Mig welding, albeit infrequently. These types of welding flaws frequently adhere to the length of the weld bead. They are also available in joint designs.

Causes 

  • The current is too strong.
  • The arc is longer.
  • The electrodes are wetted.

Remedies

  • Make use of low current.  
  • Create a slight arc.  
  • Make use of dry electrodes.

Overall

The molten weld metal tends to roll over the parent or pre-welded metal because it does not get hot enough. This process is known as overall.  

Cause

  • Excessive weld metal deposition.

Remedies 

Use high welding speed.

Hold the electrode at right angles not to deposit too much metal on one side of the weldment.

Mechanical Damages 

The indentations on parent metal or weld surfaces, known as mechanical damages, are brought on by defects that arise during the welding process. They may arise from incorrect selection of welding equipment or techniques.

Causes

  • improper treatment of the electrode holders
  • Using more force when chipping; ineffective use of a grinder
  • Not connecting the arc to the metal

Remedies

  • After welding, make sure the electrode holder is handled correctly.
  • Proficiently use welding equipment.
  • Hammering should be light when necessary.
  • Before welding, engage the arc.

Lack of Fusion

Lack of fusion welding defect
Lack of fusion welding defect

Lack of fusion refers to weld joints in which the parent metal and the deposited weld metal do not fuse cohesively.

Causes 

  • There is no mixing of oxides or any other foreign material on the plate’s surface.
  • The temperature of the parent metal or the previous run needs to be higher.

Remedies 

  • Before welding, thoroughly clean the surface. 
  • Adjust the welding parameters to the proper values and employ the appropriate techniques. 

Misalignment

Filler material disintegration in the welded joint is the cause of this welding defect. The distinction lies in the elevations of the base metal and the weld metal, both internally and outside. The weldment’s surface may appear to have wavy or curved patches.  

Causes

  • Poor welding fit-up.
  • Welding of uneven plate thickness.

Remedies 

  • Checking the straightness of a joint during fit-up or tacking.
  • Repair by grinding and matching their nominal thickness to maintain a better visual appearance. 

Underfill 

Underfill is the term for the unfinished area of the weld above the base plate that does not maintain the correct bid height. 

Causes

  • Inappropriate technology for welding.
  • Quicken the welding process. 

Remedies 

  • It can be stopped by using the weld gauge to check the bid height periodically.  
  • The welding must be replenished wherever there is underfill to maintain the correct bid height. 

Concavity or Convexity 

Concavity or convexity refers to the weld defect that is the toe’s cavity or dome-like surface that faces the fillet weld. 

Cause

  • Occur as a result of inadequate current supply and inadequate speed maintenance.  

Remedies 

  • To repair the dome-shaped weld, the appropriate bid height must be given for flatness, grinding, and blending the weld with the plate near the plate side weld. 

Excessive Reinforcement  

The weld deposit above the base metal is at this height. The recommended standard reinforcement for pipes is 1/16″ and for plates or structures, 1/8″.   

Causes

  • Slow speed of travel for welding.
  • Low current.

Remedy

Use grinding to remove too much reinforcement.

Burn Through 

Excessive heat application during welding can cause the metal to burst through the center. Burn-through is the term used to describe this kind of weld defect. It is a typical welding flaw for thin metal sheets that are less than 1/4 inch thick. 

Causes

  • Excessively high welder settings for thick metal stock
  • Significant distances between metal pieces
  • The torch’s too-slow movement

Remedies

  • Avoid using a welder with a high current or setting.
  • Avoid having too many gaps between metal plates.

How to Determine Whether It Is a Weld Discontinuity or a Welding Defect

A weld discontinuity is easy to spot because it appears to be a break in normal flow. It is also called as a weld imperfection and can be found in either the weld or parent metal. Due to the incorrect welding pattern or welding technique, a discontinuity occurs in the weld metal. It can vary in shape, thickness, and, ultimately, quality. In general, discontinuities should be avoided and dealt with, but they are marginally less severe than welding fault. Nonetheless, if you discover a weld discontinuity, you must repair it.

Common welding defects
Common welding defects

However, if a group of weld discontinuities exceeds the limits specified in your project, they can become a weld defect. This is determined by your country, the material, and the environment you live in. Finally, a welding camera is the most suitable way to check a welding job, especially in tight spaces. Here are some video demonstrations of how that works.

How to prevent Weld Defect

Here are some of the things you can do to prevent weld defects in manufacturing or rapid prototyping:  

Pre- and Post-Weld Materials Correctly

 Weld failures resulting from cracking are more common in materials with high levels of carbon or alloy. They appear to be low elasticity, which causes them to produce high residual stress along the completed weld when it cools. 

Preheating such materials at the proper temperature and duration specified by the underlying weld procedure is crucial to prevent stressing the base material. In the welded zone, prior heating helps to maintain a more ductile structure by slowing down rapid cooling. To avoid weld defects brought on by cold cracking, post-weld heat treatment also aids in reducing residual stress.

Use of Low Hydrogen Filler Metals 

Numerous manufacturers in different industries are offering a vast array of goods. Stick electrodes and flux-cored wires that generate low amounts of diffusible hydrogen are what you should look for, even though not all products are the same. Using these metals may prevent welding defects caused by hydrogen-induced cracking.

Hydrogen-induced cracking, also called cold cracking, happens when the weld cools. The reason is the tension the base material pulls on the weld creates. Use filler metals with the lowest hydrogen content when welding thicker materials. Because of the development of high-restriction zones that promote rapid cooling, they are more likely to fail.

Implementation of Proper Filler Storage

 Dust, moisture, oil, and debris build-up due to improper filler material storage. Because these impurities change the filler’s overall condition, they may result in weld defects. The storage guidelines must be followed to prevent such failures.

Before being used, the filler metals should be kept safe from these impurities by being stored in their original packaging. To prevent condensation, maintain the filler at the same temperature. Wearing gloves will also prevent the welding operator from handling the filler with wet hands.

Proper Training

Education is the most effective means of preventing simple weld defects. Teaching the operators proper welding techniques will provide them with the most up-to-date knowledge possible to avoid common defects. Both how to follow welding procedures and troubleshoot common welding issues should be covered in their training.

Proper Matching of Base Material Strength and Filler Metal 

Selecting the appropriate filler metal strength can significantly lower weld defects. This can only be accomplished by matching the base material’s yield strength to the filler metal’s. These strengths should be as near to each other as feasible to prevent irreversible defects. 

Choose a filler that complements the lower-strength material when joining one of greater strength to another. To minimize stress on the weld when forming fillet joints, the filler metal’s strength must be less than that of the base material.

How to Detect Welding Defects

There are two main methods to detect welding defects:

Destructive Testing

Destructive testing gathers data by pushing completed projects to their limits through rigorous methods. Destructive testing is sometimes necessary in addition to non-destructive testing to significantly reduce weld defects in production.

The limits of the weld metal can be found using destructive methods like tensile strength, guided bend, free bend, back bend, nick break, and acid etch.

Non-Destructive Testing

Through non-destructive testing, we can see weld discontinuities without any damage being done. This technique is crucial when testing a sample from a batch in high-speed production.

Visual inspection, liquid penetrants, magnetic particles, eddy currents, ultrasonics, acoustics, emissions, or radiography are frequently used in non-destructive testing and evaluation.

Welding defect
Welding defect

Conclusion

Weld defects can be caused by a variety of other factors overall. Successful welding results and avoiding common weld defects depend critically on proper fit-up and material preparation. Welders and fabricators can guarantee that the work meets the required quality standards by being aware of these flaws, their causes, and preventative measures.Investing in the right tools and selecting the right metal welding partner are essential for achieving your manufacturing objectives. Zintilon provides trustworthy sheet metal fabrication services. Our vital facilities and stringent quality inspection procedures ensure we produce high-quality welded parts. We also have a highly skilled engineering team and professional technicians who ensure that suitable materials and techniques are used to manufacture components that meet your specifications. Contact us today, and let’s get started on your project!

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