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Home Technologies The SS Schenectady, an all welded tanker, broke in two whilst lying in dock in 1943. Principal causes of this failure were poor design and bad workmanship
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Weld defects / imperfections incomplete root fusion or penetration
The characteristic features and principal causes of incomplete root fusion are described. General guidelines on 'best practice' are given so welders can minimise the risk of introducing imperfections during fabrication.
Fabrication and service defects and imperfections
As the presence of imperfections in a welded joint may not render the component defective in the sense of being unsuitable for the intended application, the preferred term is imperfection rather than defect. For this reason, production quality for a component is defined in terms of a quality level in which the limits for the imperfections are clearly defined, for example Level B, C or D in accordance with the requirements of BS EN ISO 5817. For the American standards ASME X1 and AWS D1.1, the acceptance levels are contained in the standards. The application code will specify the quality levels which must be achieved for the various joints. Imperfections can be broadly classified into those produced on fabrication of the component or structure and those formed as result of adverse conditions during service. The principal types of imperfections are: fabrication: • • • lack of fusion cracks porosity
1b) misplaced welds (Fig. 1c) failure to remove sufficient metal in cutting back to sound metal in a double sided weld (Fig. 1a) too small a root gap (Fig. 2 Effect of electrode size on root fusion . Incomplete root fusion or penetration Identification Incomplete root fusion is when the weld fails to fuse one side of the joint in the root. Incorrect procedure or poor technique may produce imperfections leading to premature failure in service. Typical imperfections can arise in the following situations: • • • • • • • an excessively thick root face in a butt weld (Fig. 1d) incomplete root fusion when using too low an arc energy (heat) input (Fig. 1 Causes of incomplete root fusion a) b) c) d) a) Excessively thick root face b) Too small a root gap c) Misplaced welds d) Power input too low e) Arc (heat) input too low e) Fig. too large an electrode in MMA welding (Fig 2) Fig. Incomplete root penetration occurs when both sides of the joint are unfused.• • • • • inclusions incorrect weld shape and size brittle fracture stress corrosion cracking fatigue failure service: Welding procedure and welder technique will have a direct effect on fabrication imperfections. 1e) too small a bevel angle.
and a short arc length. Acceptance standards The limits for lack of penetration are specified in BS EN ISO 5817 for the three quality levels. adequate tacking will be required.a) a) Large diameter electrode b) Small diameter electrode b) Causes These types of imperfection are more likely in consumable electrode processes (MIG. will result in the weld pool bridging the root without achieving adequate penetration.25mm diameter electrode for the root so the welder can manipulate the electrode for penetration and control of the weld pool. should give adequate weld bead penetration. causing the welder to move too quickly. However. the non consumable electrode TIG process in which the welder controls the amount of filler material independent of penetration is less prone to this type of defect. use the correct current level and not too large an electrode size for the root In MIG welding. Electrode size is also important in that it should be small enough to give adequate access to the root. make sure it is of adequate size and does not close up during welding Do not use too high a current level causing the weld pool to bridge the gap without fully penetrating the root. It is also essential that the correct root face size and bevel angles are used and that the joint gap is set accurately. the correct welding parameters for the material thickness. Best practice in prevention The following techniques can be used to prevent lack of root fusion: • • • • • In TIG welding. Too low a current level for the size of root face will give inadequate weld penetration. Too high a level. In MMA welding. do not use too large a root face and ensure the welding current is sufficient for the weld pool to penetrate fully the root In MMA welding. To prevent the gap from closing. The welder has limited control of weld pool penetration independent of depositing weld metal. MMA and submerged arc welding) where the weld metal is 'automatically' deposited as the arc consumes the electrode wire or rod. a 4 or 5mm diameter electrode is used to achieve higher deposition rates. for the fill passes where penetration requirements are less critical. . In MIG welding. It is common practice to use a 3. especially when using a small bevel angle (Fig 2). the risk of incomplete root fusion can be reduced by using the correct welding parameters and electrode size to give adequate arc energy input and deep penetration. use a sufficiently high welding current level but adjust the arc voltage to keep a short arc length When using a joint configuration with a joint gap. Thus.