Weld defects/imperfections in welds - lack of sidewall and inter-run fusion

Job Knowledge

Demagnetising a pipe

This article describes the characteristic features and principal causes of lack of sidewall and inter-run fusion. General guidelines on best practice are given so that welders can minimise the risk of imperfections during fabrication.

Lack of fusion imperfections can occur when the weld metal fails
 

to fuse completely with the sidewall of the joint (Fig. 1) to penetrate adequately the previous weld bead (Fig. 2).

Fig. 1. Lack of side wall fusion

will prevent adequate fusion of the joint sidewall. a narrow joint preparation may prevent adequate access into the joint or encourage flooding the joint with moulting weld metal. For example. Insufficient cleaning of oily or scaled surfaces can also contribute to lack of fusion. poor welder technique and magnetic arc blow. Consequently. particularly when welding alloy or high notch toughness steels. Welder technique Poor welder technique such as incorrect angle or manipulation of the electrode/welding gun. However. Lack of inter-run fusion Causes The principal causes are too narrow a joint preparation. this happens in MMA welding when using a large diameter electrode. In addition. Consideration should also be given to fabrication features that may obstruct the welding torch. 2.Fig. Magnetic arc blow . Welding parameters It is important to use a sufficiently high current for the arc to penetrate into the joint sidewall and previously deposited weld runs. incorrect welding parameter settings. especially dwelling at the joint sidewall. Joint preparation Too narrow a joint preparation often causes the arc to be attracted to one of the side walls causing lack of side wall fusion on the other side of the joint or inadequate penetration into the previously deposited weld bead. greatly improving sidewall fusion. too high a current or too low a welding speed will cause weld pool flooding ahead of the arc resulting in poor or non-uniform penetration. too high a welding speed for the welding current will increase the risk of these imperfections. MAG and FCAW welding where an allowance has not been made for the diameter of the sheilding gas nozzle. These types of imperfection are more likely to happen when access to the joint is restricted. Weaving. Too great an arc length may also increase the risk of preferential melting along one side of the joint and cause shallow penetration. It should be noted that the amount of weaving may be restricted by the welding procedure specification limiting the arc energy input. or in MIG. will enable the weld pool to wash into the parent metal.

Distortion of the arc current magnetic field can be minimised by positioning the current return cable clamp so that welding is always towards or away from the clamp and. not too high a welding speed) to promote penetration into the joint side wall and previousl deposited weld runs without causing flooding ensure the electrode/gun angle and manipulation technique will give adequate side wall fusion use weaving and dwell to improve side wall fusion providing there are no heat input restrictions if arc blow occurs.When welding ferromagnetic steels lack of fusion imperfections can be caused through uncontrolled deflection of the arc. Arc deflection can be caused by distortion of the magnetic field produced by the arc current (Fig. Interaction of magnetic forces causing arc deflection Fig. Weld bead deflection in DC MMA welding caused by welding past the current return connection Best practice in prevention The following fabrication techniques can be used to prevent formation of lack of sidewall and interrun fusion imperfections:      use a sufficiently wide joint preparation select welding parameters (high current level. Fig. Often the only effective means is to demagnetise the steel before welding. 4. by using AC instead of DC. in MMA welding. 4. reposition the current return cable clamp. usually termed arc blow. short arc length. The interaction of the magnetic field surrounding the arc and that generated by the current flow in the plate to the current return cable is sufficient to deflect the weld bead. through:    residual magnetism in the material through using magnets for handling earth's magnetic field. use AC (in MMA welding) or demagnetise the steel Acceptance standards . 3). 3. for example in pipeline welding position of the current return cable clamp The effect of welding past the current return cable which is bolted to the centre of the place is shown in Fig.

Short imperfections permitted. These types of imperfection are not permitted for Quality Level B (stringent) and C (intermediate). Levels B. For sub-surface imperfections. detection is by radiography or ultrasonic inspection. Levels C and D. Level D short imperfections permitted but not surface breaking. Acceptance limits for specific codes and application standards Application Steel Code/Standard BS EN ISO 5817:2007 Acceptance limit Level B and C not permitted.The limits for incomplete fusion imperfections in arc welded joints in steel are specified in BS EN ISO 5817 for the three quality levels (see Table). followed by re-welding as specified in the agreed welding procedure. short imperfections are permitted but the total length of the imperfections is limited depending on the butt weld or the fillet weld throat thickness. C. or grinding. long imperfections are not permitted for all three quality levels. Not permitted Aluminium BS EN ISO 10042:2005 Pressure vessels Storage tanks Pipework BS PD5500:2012+A1: 2012 BS EN 14015:2004 Not permitted BS2633:1994 'l' not greater than 15mm (depending on wall thickness) 'l' not greater than 25mm (less when weld length <300mm) Line pipe API 1104 (R2010) Detection and remedial action If the imperfections are surface breaking. Remedial action will normally require their removal by localised gouging. they can be detected using a penetrant or magnetic particle inspection technique. . D. For Quality level D (moderate) they are only permitted providing they are intermittent and not surface breaking. Ultrasonic inspection is normally more effective than radiography in detecting lack of inter-run fusion imperfections. for quality levels C and D. Long imperfections not permitted. For arc welded joints in aluminium. However.

This Job Knowledge article was originally published in Connect. .If lack of fusion is a persistent problem. Copies of other articles in the 'Job knowledge for welders' series can be found under Practical Joining Knowledge or by using the search engine. the welding procedures should be amended or the welders retrained. and is not caused by magnetic arc blow. It has been updated so the web page no longer reflects exactly the printed version. May/June 1999.

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