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Defects in Welds

Defects in Welds -
The significance of defects in welds, which can be assumed to occur in normal fabrication, is
of importance to Design Engineers.A defective weldment fails under service conditions and
causes damage to property and loss of human lives.
This makes it necessary to study defects in welded joints and analyses their causes.Improper
welding parameters and base metal and wrong welding procedures introduce defects or
faults in the weld metal and around (i.e., in the heat-affected zone).
The tolerance of welded joints to defects ranges from acceptance of gross defects (lack of
penetration, gross slag inclusions, lack of fusion) under static loading at low stress levels, to
sensitivity to extremely small defects, such as cracks, which are almost impossible to detect
by non destructive testing.
The significance of individual defects depends on
(i) The microstructure in which the defect occurs.
(ii) The mechanical properties of the material with particular reference to notch toughness.
(iii) The type of general loading (static, cyclical or shock).
(iv) The environment (corrosive or non-corrosive).
(v) Section thickness.
(vi) Type and size of defect, and
(vii) The stress pattern local to the defect.
Some of the common weld defects along with their causes will be discussed below.
1. Cracks.
2. Distortion.
3. Incomplete penetration.
4. Inclusions.
5. Porosity and blow holes.
6. Poor fusion.
7. Poor weld bead appearance.
8. Spatter.
9. Undercutting.
10. Overlapping.
Cracks in Welding
Cracks in Welding - Cracks may be on microscopic scale or macroscopic scale depending
upon their size. Cracks may appear in the base metal, base metal-weld metal boundary, or
in the weld metal.
Cracks may be on the weld surface or under the weld bead. Cracks may appear in the crater
or in the root.
Causes for Welding Cracks
Causes for Welding Cracks -
1. Rigidity of the joint, i.e., joint members not free to expand or contract when subjected to
welding heat and subsequent cooling (localized stresses).
2. Poor ductility of base metal.
3. Hardenability, high Sand C percentage of base metal.
4. Concave weld bead.
5. Fast arc travel speed.
6. Electrode with high H2 content.
Lamellar Tearing is the result of very severe restraint on the joint, poor ductility and due
to the presence of non metallic inclusions running parallel to the plate surface.
In large highly stressed structures such cracks can be seen in the material of the parent
plats and the heat affected zone of a joint, the cracks usually running parallel to the plate
surface. Certain types of joints such as T, and corner are more susceptible to lamellar
tearing than others.
Distortion in Welding
Distortion in Welding - While welding a job, base metal under the arc melts, base metal
ahead gets preheated and the base metal portion already welded starts cooling. There is a
good amount of temperature difference at various points along the joint and thus at any
instant certain areas of base metal expand and others including weld bead contract.
This phenomena leads to distortion. Distortion is the change in shape and difference between
the positions of the two plates before welding and after welding.
Factors Leading to Distortion in Welding
Factors Leading to Distortion in Welding -
The various factors leading to distortion are:
1. More number of passes with small diameter electrodes.
2. Slow arc travel speed.
3. Type of joint. A V joint needs more metal to be deposited to fill the groove as compared to
a U joint, thus leading to comparatively more distortion.
4. High residual stresses in plates to be welded.
5. Welding sequence being improper. Use of jigs and fixtures, clamps, presetting,
wedging and proper tacking may minimize distortion

Various Causes for Incomplete Penetration in Welding
Various Causes for Incomplete Penetration in Welding - Penetration is the distance
from base plate top surface to the, maximum extent of the weld nugget.
Various causes of incomplete penetration areas follow:
1. Improper joints. (For example, it is simpler to obtain full penetration in U joint as
compared to J butt joint).
2. Too large root face.
3. Root gap too small.
4. Too small bevel angle.
5. Less arc current.
6. Faster arc travel speed.
7. Too small angle (Normal is 70-800).
8. Too large electrode diameter.
9. Longer arc length.
10. Incorrect polarity when welding with direct current.
11. Wrongly held electrode. It should be in the centre of the joint.
Spatter in Welding
Spatter in Welding - Spatters are the small metal particles which are thrown out of the arc
during welding and get deposited on the base metal around the weld bead along its length.
The spatter may be due to
1. Excessive arc current.
2. Longer arcs.
3. Damp electrodes.
4. Electrodes being coated with improper flux ingredients.
5. Arc blow making the arc uncontrollable.
6. Bubbles of gas becoming entrapped in the molten globule of metal, expanding with
great violence and projecting small drops of metal outside the arc steam.

Undercutting in Welding
Undercutting in Welding - In under cutting a groove gets formed in the parent metal
along the sides of the weld bead. Groove reduces the thickness of the plate and thus the
area along the bead, which in turn weakens the weld. The main causes of undercutting are
as follows:
1. Wrong manipulation and inclination of electrode and excessive weaving.
2. Too large electrode diameter.
3. Higher currents.
4. Longer arcs.
5. Faster arc travel speeds.
6. Magnetic arc blow.
7. Rusty and scaly job surfaces.

Overlapping in Welding
Overlapping in Welding - Overlapping is just reverse to undercutting. An overlap occurs
when the molten metal from the electrode flows over the parent metal surface, and remains
there without getting properly fused and united with the same. Overlapping may occur due
1. Lower arc current.
2. Slower arc travel speed.
3. Longer arcs.
4. Improper joint geometry (i.e., root gap).
5. Incorrect electrode diameter.
The electrode diameter should not be too large to be manipulated conveniently and suitably.
(a) Under cut
(b) Cracks
(c) Porosity
(d) Slag inclusions
(e) Lack of fusion
(f) Lack of penetration

Common Causes and Remedies of Cracking
Common Causes and Remedies of Cracking -
Causes Remedies Weld Metal Cracking
Highly rigid joint
Relieve residual stresses mechanically
Minimize shrinkage stresses using back
step or block welding sequence
Excessive dilution
Change welding current and travel speed
Weld with covered electrode negative;
butter the joint faces prior to welding.
Defective electrodes
Change to new electrode; bake electrodes
to remove moisture
Poor fit-up
Reduce root opening; build up the edges
with weld metal
Small weld bead
Increase electrode size; raise welding
current, reduce travel speed
High sulfur base metal Use filler metal low in sulfur
Angular distortion
Change to balanced welding on both
sides of joint
Crater cracking
Fill crater before extinguishing the arc;
use a welding current decay device when
terminating the weld bead
Heat-Affected Zone
Hydrogen in welding atmosphere
Use low-hydrogen welding process;
preheat and hold for 2 h after welding or
post weld heat treat immediately.
Hot cracking

Use low heat input; deposit thin layers;
change base metal
Low ductility Use preheats; anneal the base metal
High residual stresses
Redesign the weldment; change welding
sequence; apply inter mediate stress-
relief heat treatment
High Hardenability
Preheat; increase heat input; heat treat
without cooling to room temperature
Brittle phases in the microstructure Solution heat treat prior to welding.