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Destructive testing methods of welded joints

This chapter describes three important destructive testing methods of welded joints
namely toughness test, fatigue test and fracture toughness testing. Additionally, concept
of fracture toughness and conditions required for fracture toughness test for different
stress conditions has also been presented. Further, non-destructive testing methods
have also been presented.

Keywords: Impact test, Izod and Charpy test, fatigue test, endurance limit,
fracture toughness, plain strain condition, CT specimen, three point bending
specimen, Dye penetrant test, magnetic particle test, eddy current test and
ultrasonic test

32.1 Toughness testing

In actual practice, engineering components during service are invariably

subjected to various kinds of loads namely static and dynamic loads which are
classified on the basis of the rate of change in magnitude of load and direction.
Dynamic loads are characterized by high rate of change in load magnitude and
direction. Reverse happens in case of static loads. In the hardness test and
tensile tests, load is increased very slowly that corresponds to the behaviour of
material under more or less static loading condition. Moreover, very wide range
rate of loading (0.0001 to 1000mm/min) can be used in tensile test. Rate of
loading governs the strain rate and so rate of hardening which can affect
mechanical behavior of material. For example, material at low rate of loading
showing the ductile behaviour can exhibit brittle behaviour under high rate of
loading conditions.
The toughness test simulates service conditions often encountered by
components of the system used in transportation, agricultural, and construction
equipment. A material high impact resistance is said to be a tough material.
Toughness is the ability of a material to resist both fracture and deformation.
Toughness is the combination of strength and ductility. To be tough, a material
mustt exhibit both
b fairly good strength and ductility to
o resist crracking an
deforrmation und
der impact loading. Notches are
e made inte
entionally in
n impact tesst
cimens to increase the stress co
on so as to
o increase tendency tto
ure as mos
st of the me
echanical co
omponents have stresss raisers. T
To withstan
an im
mpact force, a notched
d material must
m be tough.

Fig. 32.1
1 Principle diagram
d of toughness test.
To study the be
ehaviour of material un
nder dynam
mic load con
nditions (at high rate o
ng) toughne
loadin ess test is frequently conducted. There are two metho
ods used fo
tough ng namely Izod and Ch
hness testin harpy test, based on tthe common
n principle o
ying the load
d at high ratte and meas
suring the a
amount of en
nergy absorrbed (kg m o
e) in breakin
ng the sam
mple due to impact (Fig
g. 32.1). Ho
owever, the
ere are som
differrences also in these tw
wo methods in terms of sample size and shap
pe, method o
ng of the sa
ample and maximum
m en
nergy conte nt of pendulum that hits the samplle
during the test.

Sr. ess
Toughne Samp
ple Holding
No. test

1 Izod Held vertically on anvil as Cantilever type and notch facess

cantilever um
the pendulu

2 Charpy Held horizontally

y on anvil
Simply sup
pported type
e and notch
as sim
mply supported beam
is oppositte side off pendulum
impact (nott facing to pe
dard sample
Stand e for both testing metthods having
g a notch and is mou
unted on th
hine in speciific ways i.e. notch faces to pendulu
um in case Izod test wh
hile pendulum
he sample frrom back of the notch in
hits th n Charpy tesst (Fig. 32.2).

Fig. 32.2
3 Standarrd specimen d and b) cha rpy impact ttest
ns for a) izod

e most of the
e engineerin
ng componen
nts are invarriably design
ned with notcch and stresss
raisers therefore
e, it become
es importantt to know a bout the be
ehaviour of material witth
h under impact loading. Hence, tou
notch ughness testt is usually conducted u
using samplle
with notch.
n Moreover, un-nottched samples can also
o be used fo
or the toughn
ness test an
the re
esults are ex
xpressed acc

ults of impac
ct tests are expressed in terms off either amo
ount of enerrgy absorbe
(Nm) or amount of energy ab ea (Nm/cm2) by standarrd
bsorbed perr unit cross ssectional are
ple. It may be noted th
samp hat values of toughnesss are not directly use
ed for desig
ose but the
ese only in
ndicate the ability of the materia
al to withstand againsst
k/impact loa
ad i.e. load
d applied at
a very high
h rate. The
ese tests arre useful fo
paring the re
esistance to impact loading of differe
ent materialss or the sam
me material in
differrent process
sing conditio
ons such as
a heat trea
atment, pro
ocedure and
d mechanica
workiing etc. Res
sistance to th
he impact lo
oading of a m
material app
preciably depends on th
ounding temp
perature (Fig
g. 32.3). Therefore, tem
mperature att which toug
ghness test is
b reported with results.
conducted must be

Fig. 32.3
3 Schema
atic diagram
m showing inffluence of te
est temperature on tough

32.2 Fatigue behaviour

b of
o weld jointt

The fatigue perfformance off the metallic componen

nts in general is determ
mined in tw
s a) enduran
nce limit i.e. indicating the
t maximum
m stress, sttress amplitu
ude or stresss
e for infinite life (typically
y more than 20 million o
of load cycle
es) and b) nu
umber of loa
e a joint can be withstan
nd for a set of loading conditions a
as desired. Two types o
ples are gen
nerally prepa
ared for fatigue studiess as per AST
TM 466 (Fig
g. 32.4 a, b
uced radius sample ge
enerally ens
sures fractu re from we
eld joint or any speciffic
locatiion of interest (Fig. 32.5
5 a, b). The fatigue
f perfo
ormance is a
appreciably influenced b
the various variable related with
w fatigue test namelyy stress ratio
o, type of strress (tension
on, reverse bending, te
pression, ze ro-tension), maximum sstress, stresss
e, loading frequency and surrounding en
range nvironmenta
al condition
ns such a
temperature, corrosion, vacu
uum, tribolog
gical conditio
ons. Each an
nd every parrameter to b
used for the fatigue test must
m be care
efully selectted and reccorded with results whille
sults should include follo
reporrting. The fattigue test res owing.
 Test cond
ducted accorrding to AST
TM E466 sta
 Type of lo
oading: axiall pulsating/re
everse bend
 Maximum
m stress:
 Stress rattio (ratio of minimum
m stre
ess to maxim
mum stress))
 Temperatture: ambien
 Frequenc
cy of pulsatin
ng load: load
d cycles per min
 Type of sample

a) b)

Fig. 32.4
3 Standarrd specimen
n for fatigue testing

To co
onducting fa
atigue test, first step is
s conduct th
he tensile te
est on the w
weld joint fo
blishing the yielding stre
ength of me
etal as maxximum stresss becomes 0.9 times o
yield strength of material. For number of cycle (S-N) ccurve, fatigu
F plotting the stress-n ue
test is first condu
ucted with maximum
m ap
pplied tensile
e load corre
esponding to
o 0.9 times o
yield strength of weld joint under
u study to determin e the numb
ber of load ccycle require
acture and then
for fra t in the same
s way te
est is repeate
ed at 0.85, 0
0.8, 0.75, 0.7
7 …. times o
yield strength of weld joint until
u enduran
nce limits orr desired fattigue life is not achieve
cal dimensio
(Fig. 32.6). Typic ons of a stan
ndard specim
men as per A
ASTM 466 a
are as-underr.

 Continuo
ous radius (R):
( 100mm
 Width (W
W): 10.3mm
 Thicknes
ss *T): 11mm (as received)
 Gripping length: 50m


Fig. 32.5
3 Fatigue
e test sample
e a) Schema
atic diagram
m of standard
d fatigue test sample witth
nuous radius
s between ends
e and b) photograph
p of typical sp

Peak stress/Ultimate stress





100000 1000000 1000000
No. of cycles

Fig. 32.6
3 Typical data on fatig
gue test sho
owing peak sstress/ultima
ate stress vss. number of
e relationship
p for structurre steel

32.3 Fracture toughness

The resistance to fracture conversely

c re
esistance to
o crack grow
wth is know
wn as fracturre
hness and is
s measured using variou
us paramete
ers such as a
a) stress inte
ensity aroun
the crack tip (K), opening of crack mouth also called crack tip opening displacement
(CTOD) and energy requirement for growth of crack (J or G). The mechanical properties
namely yield strength and ductility and thickness of the weld joint under study primarily
dictate the suitable parameter to be used for determining the fracture toughness. The
fracture toughness parameter namely stress intensity factor (K) is commonly used for
weld joint of heavy sections of high strength and low ductility material developing plain
strain conditions, while crack tip opening tip displacement and energy based methods (G
and J integral) are used for comparatively thinner sections made of low strength and
high ductility material and those develop plain stress condition under external loading.
Measurement of fracture toughness using any of above parameters is performed using
two types of samples a) compact tension specimen (CT) and b) three point bending
specimen (TPB). Schematics of two type of specimen are shown in Fig. 32.7. In general,
in these tests, applied external load is increased until strain/crack opening
displacement/energy vs. load relationship becomes non-linear. This critical value of load
(P) is used for calculations of fracture toughness using relevant formulas.

W-a a

0.3 B

W P/2 P/2
a) b)

W=2B, a=B, W-a=B and radius of hole r = 0.25B where B is plate thickness

Fig. 32.7 Schematic of fracture toughness specimens using a) compact tension and b)
three point bending approaches

Although different standards have historically been published for determining K, CTOD
and J-integral, the tests are very similar, and generally all three values can be
established from one type of test.

In general, stress intensity factor (K) decreases with increase in specimen

thickness. This trend continues up to a limit of thickness thereafter K becomes
independent of the plate thickness. The corresponding value of K is called critical
stress intensity factor (Kc) and occurs in plane strain condition. KIC is used for
the estimation of the critical stress need to apply to a specimen with a given
crack length for catastrophic fracture to take place.

σC ≤KIC /(Y(π a)½)

Where KIC is the stress-intensity factor, measured in MPa*m½, σC is the critical

stress applied to the specimen, a is the crack length for edge crack or half crack
length for internal crack and Y is a geometry factor

32.4 Non-destructive testing (NDT)

To determine the presence of surface and surface imperfections, non-destructive testing

of weld joints can be carried out using variety of techniques as per needs. Apart from the
visual inspection, many non-destructive testing methods including dye penetrant test
(DPT), magnetic particle test (MPT), eddy current test (ECT), ultrasonic test (UT),
radiographic test (RT) etc. are used in manufacturing industry for assessing the
soundness of weld joints. In following section, principle and capability of some non-
destructive testing methods have been described.

32.4.1 Dye penetrant test

This is one of the simplest non-destructive testing methods primarily used for detecting
the presence of surface defects only. In this method surface to be tested a thin low
viscosity and low surface tension liquid containing suitable dye is applied (Fig. 32.8). The
thin liquid penetrates (by capillary action) into fine cavities, pores and cracks, if any,
present on the surface. Excess liquid present at surface is wiped out. Then suitable
developer like talc or chalk powder is sprinkled over the surface. Developer sucks out
thin liquid with dye wherever it is present inside the surface discontinuities present on
the weld joints. Dye with liquid changes colour of developer and indicates location, and
size of surface defects.
Fig. 32.8
3 Schema
atic showing
g four steps of
o dye penettrant test

32.4.2 Magnetic particle tes


This method is mainly used for asses

ssing the su
urface and near surfacce defects iin
netic materia
al. It is based on the simple
s princciple of the flow of mag
gnetic line o
forces. Magnetic
c flux flows easily th
hrough meta outh to norrth-pole. Th
al from so he
ponent to be
comp e evaluated is magnetize
ed using ele
ectrical energ
gy or suitable permanen
netic. The electro-magnetization is performed u
using suitab
ble yoke whiich is applie
ss the location / area to be tested. Presence of any dis--continuity in
acros n the form o
k, porosity, near
n surface
e defects in the
t path of fflow of these
e lines results in leakag
of ma
agnetic flux forming
f two additional poles.
p The m
magnetic pow
wder particle
es (in dry form
or su
uspension fo
orm in thin liquid) are sprinkled
s ove
er the surfa
ace of comp
ponents to b
tested. The magnetic particle
es tend to migrate
m towa
ard the locattion whereve
er leakage o
netic flux had
magn d taken plac
ce and then get
g piled up (Fig. 32.9). The particle
es align alon
ontinuities on
n the surface, near or shallow
s sub--surface disccontinuities. The locatio
and pattern
p of piled
p up mag
gnetic powd
der particless suggest th
he location, size, type o
ontinuity pres
sent on the surface or near
n surface
e region. Hazzy pile of po
owder particlle
ates the sub
b-surface deffect. Formattion of very tthin line of p
powder particcles suggestts
ence of crac
ck with deta
ails of size and
a location
n of crack. H
However, th
his method o
ng is found fiit for ferroma
agnetic meta
al only.

Fig. 32.9
3 Principle
e of magnetiic particle te

32.4.3 Ultrasonic testing

This is one of the

e most popu
ular, quick, cost
c effective
e and capab
ble methodss of NDT as it
not only
o indicates the presence of disco
ontinuities bu
ut also sugg
gests their lo
ocation usin
sonic vibrations. Ultraso
onic vibrations have ca pability to p
penetrate intto the metals
and are
a reflected
d as soon as
s they come across a ch
hange of med
dium e.g. metal to air, a
to metal,
m metal to dis-con
ntinuities ettc. This refflection cha
aracteristic of ultrasonic
vibrattions from th
he interfaces e in medium is mainly exxploited for detecting th
s of change he
ence or abs
sence of discontinuities. Application
n of ultrason
nic vibrations in a soun
metal system at the sources produces tw
wo interface
es a) at top ssurface due to change o
medium from airr to metal an
nd b) at the bottom surfface due to change of medium from
metal to air. The ultrasonic vibrations
v are
e used in tw NDT a) transmission an
wo ways for N nd
b) refflection of vibrations to evaluate the
e soundnesss of the welld joints in cconsideration
All these methods are very effective
e for parallel
p surfa ates, sheets..
ace components e.g. pla

smission ap
Trans pproach

The transmission
n approach of ultrason
nic testing u eparate devvices namely
uses two se
transmitter of viibration and
d receiver. Transmitting
g probe ge
enerates and sends th
sonic vibrattions and receiver
ultras r getts these viibrations att other end
d. Therefore
transmission app
proach need
ds access to both the sid
des of the ccomponents to be tested
Inputts from transmitting and
d receiving probes are given to o
oscilloscope (Fig. 32.10
Metal system witthout discon
ntinuities sho
ows the two
o peaks in o
oscilloscope i.e. one from
op surface and
the to a another from the bo
ottom surface
e. In presen
nce of discon
ntinuity in th
metal being testted, ultrason
nic vibration
ns are refleccted so the
ey don’t reach up to th
ving end an
receiv nd so no signal is rec
ceived. Unde
er this cond
dition, only one peak iin
observed in the oscilloscope
o and absenc
ce of anothe r peak from bottom surfface suggestts
prese continuity in the metal tested. One
ence of disc e by one en
ntire surface
e area of th
ponent to be
e tested is scanned
s using transmittting and recceiving probe
es. Howeve
transmission app
proach is nott very usefull due to two reasons a) requirementt of access tto
both sides of com
mponent to be
b tested an
nd b) difficul ty in placem
ment of receiiving probe iin
line of
o transmittin
ng probe sen
nding ultraso
onic vibratio
ons especiallly in case off componentts
ng thick sections.

Fig. 32.10
3 Transm e of ultrasonic testing 
mission type


ection Apprroach

The reflection
r approach uses
s single prob
be which actts as a transsmitter as we
ell as receive
of ulttrasonic vibrrations. In metal
m system without disscontinuities,, application
n of ultrasonic
vibrattions results
s in the two
o peaks in oscilloscope
o e i.e. one frrom the top surface an
anoth approach (Fig. 32.11). In
her from the bottom surfface like transmission a n presence o
ontinuity in the
t metal being
b tested, ultrasonic vibrations are reflecte
ed. Vibration
cted from the
e discontinu
uity shows ad
dditional pea
aks between
n the surface and bottom
s in the osc
cilloscope. Relative
R location of the i ntermediate
e peaks (between the to
and bottom
b surfa
ace peaks) suggests
s the
e distance off discontinuitty from the ssurfaces. Th
ction approa
ach overcom
mes both lim
mitations off transmissio
on approacch as it use
e probe so itt does not re
equire a) acc
cess of both
h sides of the
e componen
nt to be teste
and b)
b alignmentt of transmission and rec
ceiving probe

Fig. 32.11
3 Reflec
ction type of ultrasonic te

(http:://ultrasonicin basic‐principl es‐of‐ultraso onic‐testing.httml)

h Catch metthod

In this method, ultrasonic vibrations

v arre transmitte
ed using 45
5 and 60 d
degree to th
surface of the material to tested (Fig
g. 32.12). R
Reflected vibrations fro
om the othe
cting surface
e or discon
ntinuity are used to ide
entify the presence and location o
ontinuity in weld
w joints an
nd other para urfaces.
allel sided su
Fig. 32.12 Schematic of pitch catch method of ultrasonic testing


For effective transmission of ultrasonic vibrations from the transmitting / source probe to
the metal surface, generally a fluid mostly in the form of water or low viscosity liquid
called coupler is used. The coupler ensures proper contact and transmission of vibration
from source probe to metal surface with minimum losses. Water is considered as the
best coupling media because it is readily available, low viscosity, and relatively safe to
use with most construction materials. In the pitch-catch method, a water-based gel has
proven to be the most practical coupling agent.

References and books for further reading

 Inspection and testing of weld joints Welding handbook, American

Welding Society, 1983, 7th edition, USA.
 Sindo Kou, Welding metallurgy, John Willey, 2003, 2nd edition, USA.
 J F Lancaster, Metallurgy of Welding, Abington Publishing, 1999, 6th
edition, England.
 Metals Handbook-Welding, Brazing and Soldering, American Society for
Metals, 1993, 10th edition, Volume 6, USA.
 R S Parmar, Welding engineering & technology, Khanna Publisher, 2002,
2nd edition, New Delhi.
 Richard Little, Welding and Welding Technology, McGraw Hill, 2001, 1st
 H Cary, Welding Technology, Prentice Hall, 1988, 2nd edition.
 S V Nadkarni, Modern Arc Welding Technology, Ador Welding Limited,
2010, New Delhi.
 R S Parmar, Welding process and engineering, Khanna Publisher, New