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SELECTION OF AN NDT METHOD AND THE EXTENT OF TESTING

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NDT.net - May 1999, Vol. 4 No. 5

SELECTION OF AN NDT METHOD AND THE EXTENT OF


TESTING
Gabriel Rihar, D.Sc., Institut za varilstvo, Ptujska 19, Ljubljana
The 4th International Conference of Slovenian Society for
Nondestructive Testing "Application of Contemporary
Nondestructive Testing in Engineering" 24 - 25 April 1997,
Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction
Selection Of Testing Method
Types of inhomogeneity
Characteristics of testing methods

Extent Of Testing

1 INTRODUCTION

Practice in Slovenia
Influence of quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC)
Proposal for determination of the extent of testing

Conclusion

Each testing of welded joints should start with


Literature
the selection of a suitable testing method and
determination of the extent of testing. One should be aware that the selection of a testing method
and determination of the extent of testing are as important as testing itself when the final result is
considered. Owing to the selection of an unsuitable testing method NDT methods often become
purposeless.
When planning NDT testing one should take into account a number of factors such as:
requirements regarding reliable and safe operation,
quality assurance level achieved,
characteristics of welding processes, 'I properties of materials used,
feasibility of NDT methods available,
economic criteria.
In the selection of a suitable NDT method, welding technologists and NDT experts should be
involved, and in determining the extent of testing designers, who know best which are the intended
operating conditions of a device to be tested and which locations may be loaded most.

2 SELECTION OF TESTING METHOD


The selection of the NDT method is usually the concern of NDT laboratories, which know the NDT
methods and their feasibility in detecting defects. Regarding properties of materials and
characteristics of a welding process it should be first established what types of defects may occur
and where. It should also be established which part of a structure may incur the highest stresses.

2.1 Types of inhomogeneity


An expert may, with a high level of certainty, predict which types of defects may occur and at
which locations are they most probable. Attention should be paid to bonding defects and cracks,
which are in no case admissible. A little more toleration may be shown to pores and non-metal
inclusions. But a careful examination of heavily loaded parts of a structure should be carried out.
Hot cracks, i.e. crystallization cracks, usually occur in the middle of the weld. Hotcracking
sensibility is found in alloys, alloyed steels and steels containing a higher level of impurities,
usually in welds of larger dimensions. Cold cracks occur mostly in the heat affected zone. They

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occur in steels susceptible to through-hardening and hydrogen embrittlement.


A special attention should be paid to porosity in gas-shielded welding, submerged arc welding, and
welding with basic electrodes.
Typical cracks in the welded joint and location of their appearance is shown in Fig. 1.
Characteristic location of cracks

Fig. 1. Typical weld defects

2.2 Characteristics of testing methods


As to their ability of detecting various geometrical forms of defects, the NDT methods applied in
testing of welded joints differ one from the other very much, i.e. they complement each other (1, 2,
3). In some cases they are interchangeable (4).
In testing of welded joints, it is radiographic methods which are most frequently used and which
permit a very reliable detection of three-dimensional discontinuities such as pores, non-metallic
inclusions, incomplete penetration and undercuts at the inaccessible root side. The method seems to
be less reliable in detecting planar, i.e. two-dimensional, defects such as cracks.
The ultrasonic methods seem to be the most universally applicable. They may be applied to all
types of defects but they are comparatively complicated and sensitive to various disturbances. They
are less reliable, therefore, they are making themselves valued in welding very slowly.
Simple and reliable methods are available for detection of cracks reaching the surface. Magnetic
methods are suitable for ferromagnetic materials, while penetrant methods are suitable for all
metals.
Too little attention is, however, paid to visual inspection which should be performed prior to each
NDT examination. The visual inspection provides basic information on the state of welded joints
and the structure concerned. This is a guideline for further examinations. Fig. 2 schematically
shows the application of various NDT methods in testing butt and fillet welds.

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Fig. 2. Application of NDT methods

In addition to technical considerations, in the selection of testing methods the cost of testing should
be considered as well. The more perfect weld is to be obtained, the more should be invested into
NDT methods (Fig. 3). Fig. 4 shows market rates for NDT methods in Slovenia.

Fig. 3. Ratio between control cost and weld


perfection

Fig. 4. Standard market rates for NDT methods in


Slovenia

3 EXTENT OF TESTING
The extent of testing is a datum informing us what part of the total length of welded joints and
which locations is to be tested. The extent of testing is sometimes determined by the client in the
invitation to project tender, but most frequently by a designer taking into account technical
regulations in force and stresses calculated for individual welded joints.

3.1 Practice in Slovenia


In the techical regulations in force provisions on the minimum extent of NDT testing of welded
joints may be found. Although some are rather old they are still in force (5, 6). They are not
consistent with each other and they may be applied only to certain fields. An exception is the
standard on quality levels with a general applicability (7).
For steam boilers and steam superheaters a 30 % radiographic examination of butt welds is
specified (5).
With welded structures the extent of testing depends on the welding location and the joint quality
class selected (6). Welds made in a workshop require less testing than out-of-position field welds.
Regarding the load and the level of requirements, three classes are distinguished: special, first and
second.

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The regulations on pressure vessels are the most elaborate ones. The extent of testing depends on
operating conditions of the vessel (vessel class), the type of joint and strength calculation (8, 9, 10).
There are four classes of welded joints. A selection may be made among various levels of
perfection of welded joints.
A similar division into four quality classes may be found in the general quality standard (7) which
is applied to pipelines, with the exception of main pipelines for liquid and gas hydrocarbons where
the extent of testing is regulated in a different way (11). The latter depends on the distance from
settlements, energy facilities and traffic routes.
Among the methods for testing welds, the radiographic method is preferred. In older regulations
other methods are not mentioned. More recent regulations permit application of ultrasonic methods
instead of radiography. Other methods are applied only as a complement.
Table I gives a survey of obligatory application of NDT methods in Slovenia.

3.2 Influence of quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC)


When selecting the extent of testing, the level of quality assurance achieved should be taken into
account. This has not been taken into account in Slovenia till now. Also some foreign regulations
known in Slovenia do not take quality assurance into account.
More recent standards specify three levels of
quality assurance, which permits, when selecting
the extent of testing, to give consideration also to
the level of quality assurance achieved by the
performer of welding work. The welded-joint
quality (Q) may be defined as a sum of quality
assurance (QA) and quality control (QC).
The maximum quality in the instance selected may
be achieved if all means of quality assurance
Fig. 5. Ratio between quality assurance (QA) and
available are taken into account and all NDT
quality control (QC)
methods available are applied. The relation
between quality assurance (QA) and the extent of quality control (QC) is graphically shown in Fig.
5.
Table I: Survey of testing methods specified
Field of application Level of
Extent and method of testing
requirements
Steam boilers and
steam superheaters

30 % RT

Steel structures

S
I
II

100 % RT, MT and PT if required


10-50 % RT, MT and PT if required
RT of out-of-position welds

Pipelines
JUS C.T3.010

I
II
III
IV

100% RT or VT, 100 % MT or PT


50 % RT or VT, 100 % MT or PT
10 % RT or VT, 30 % MT or PT
-

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Pressure vessels
I
II A
II B
III A
III B
IV A
IV B
Ic
II c
ID
II D
III D
Main pipelines

Zone I
Zone II
Zone III

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100 % RT or VT, 100 % MT or PT


70 % RT or VT, 100 % MT or PT
50 % RT or VT, 100 % MT or PT
30 % RT or VT, 30 % MT or PT
10 % RT or VT, 30 % MT or PT
no requirements
30 % MT or PT
100 % UT, 100 % MT or PT
50 % UT, 50 % MT or PT
100 % UT, 100 % MT or PT
70 % UT, 100 % MT or PT
310%UT, 30%MT or PT
10 % RT, MT or PT if required
50 % RT, MT or PT if required
100 % RT, MT or PT if required

- For all quality levels a 100 % visual inspection is required.


- MT and PT are performed only if there is a risk of cracks.

Table II: Extent of testing as a function of QA and requirements


QA level

Requirements
Low

Medium

High

III

0%

25%

50%

II

0%

50%

75%

25%

75%

100%

Quality assurance requires a number of operations usually expressed by levels. The new European
standard specifies elementary (1), standard (11) and comprehensive (Ill) levels (12).
The level selected may be achieved by a higher level of quality assurance and less control (instance
a) and vice versa (instance b). Both instances are shown in Fig. 6.
Similar conclusions may be drawn if quality assurance and quality control are considered
production costs and both together quality cost. In this case the following holds true:
Q = QA + QC (monetary unit)
Fig. 7 shows a cost model for quality.

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Fig. 6. Quality selection between QA and QC

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Fig. 7. Cost model for quality

It may be concluded that quality assurance and control complement each other and jointly produce
quality. In practice both means, however, are not balanced, which is shown by the model (Fig. 7). In
certain cases quality assurance is a more efficient means than quality control and vice versa;
therefore, each is used as appropriate.
In practical applications a certain lower threshold is more and more being taken into account; these
are a welder's approval test certificate in quality assurance and the visual examination in quality
control. For pressure vessels and load-bearing welded structures the lower threshold is determined
by the requirements related to the issue of a certificate of qualification to the workshop concerned.

3.3 Proposal for determination of the extent of testing


When determining the extent of testing, beside requirements for reliable and safe operation of the
structure, also the level of quality assurance already achieved by the performer of welding work
should be considered. Structures may be divided into three classes, i.e. very exacting, exacting, and
less exacting.
The ratio between the level of quality assurance achieved, the requirements, and the extent of
testing may be graphically presented (Fig. 8). Table 11 shows how the extent of testing may be
determined as a function of the level of quality assurance achieved.
We have been used to standards determining quality classes as well as the minimum extent of
testing. Recent standards have no such provisions because the level of acceptance of defects, which
is determined by their size and number, has nothing to do with the extent of testing. But in any case
a higher level indicates a higher quality of the welded joint (Fig. 9). Quality levels B, C, and D were
taken from the new European standard (13).

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Fig. 8. Extent of testing as function of QA and requirements

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Fig. 9. Schematic representation of quality


levels of welded joints

4 CONCLUSIONS
Quality assurance and quality control complement each other. With a higher level of quality
assurance the extent of testing may be reduced. The above-mentioned principle would certainly
stimulate performers of welding work to invest more into quality assurance.
It is suggested that the above-mentioned principle of determining the extent of testing be
implemented in the elaboration of new Slovenian technical regulations.

5 REFERENCES
1. IlW Guidance on Assessment of the Fitness for Purpose of Welded Structures. Doc.
IIS/IlW-SST-1 157-90 (pp. 67-74, 229-296).
2. P. Klug: Quality Management in the Field of Welding.
3. H. Granjon: Metalurske osnove varjenja, Zveza drustev za varilno, tehniko Slovenije,
Ljubljana 1994 (pp. 238-241).
4. Guidelines for Replacing NDE Techniques with one another. IIS/IIW Doc. V- 1062-96.
5. Pravilnik o tehnicnih predpisih za izdelavo in uporabo parnih kotlov, parnih posod,
pregrevalcev pare in ogrevalcev vode. Ur. 1. SFRJ st. 7-157/57.
6. Pravilnik o tehnicnih pogojih in normativih za varen transport tekocih in plinastih
ogljikovodikov, clen 61. Ur. 1. SFRJ st. 26/85.
7. JUS C.T3.010: Zavarivanje i srodni postupci. Klase kvaliteta zavarenih spojeva izvedenih
topljenjem na celiku.
8. Pravilnik o tehnicnih normativih za stabilne tlacne posode. Ur. 1. SFRJ st. 16/83.
9. Pravilnik o tehnicnih normativih za premicne zaprte posode za komprimirane, utekocinjene
in pod tlakom raztopljene pline. Ur. 1. SFRJ st. 25/80 in 9/86.
10. JUS M.E2.159: Posude pod pritiskom. Kontrola i ispitivanje zavarenih spojeva.
11. Tehnicni predpisi o kvaliteti zvarnih spojev za nosilne jeklene konstrukcije. Ur. 1. SFRJ
19/64.
12. SIST EN 729: Zahteve po kakovosti pri varenju - Talilno varjenje kovinskih materialov
1. del: Smernice za izbiro in uporabo
2. del: Obsimejse zahteve po kakovosti
3. del: Standardne zahteve po kakovosti
4. del: Osnovne zahteve po kakovosti.
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13. SIST EN 25817: Oblocni zvarni spoji na jeklu - Smernice za stopnje sprejemljivosti napak.
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