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Influence of welding parameters

on imperfections and defects

Ehsanullah Khan
National Expert – Welding & Cutting
Air Liquide India
Ehsanullah.khan@airliquide.com
Tel. +91-1140550200, Extn : 325
Mob. +91-9810099676
Author: Ehsanullah. Khan & Joachim Grundmann – Revision 1.2 dated August 12th, 2014

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Abstract

Most of the weld imperfections and defects can be avoided by an appropriate training of operators, parameter recording
and control , appropriate parameter set up and weld preparation as well as by the optimization of the welding process
when using adjusted shielding atmospheres .Quality supervision will lead necessarily to the management and mastering
of the overall welding cost of the welding workshop .

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Author: Ehsanullah. Khan & Joachim Grundmann – Revision 1.2 dated August 12th, 2014

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Content

1 From Imperfections / defects to optimising .............................................................................................. 7


2 Weld Imperfection .................................................................................................................................. 10
3 Spattering: ............................................................................................................................................... 12
4 Defects .................................................................................................................................................... 13
5 Weld cracks ............................................................................................................................................ 14
6 Undercuts ................................................................................................................................................ 15
7 Weld shape .............................................................................................................................................. 16
8 Surface oxidation .................................................................................................................................... 17
9 Influence of welding current on weld properties .................................................................................... 18
10 Travel speed (welding speed) ................................................................................................................. 19
11 Tip to work-piece distance (stick out) .................................................................................................... 20
12 Conclusions: ........................................................................................................................................... 21
13 Figures: ................................................................................................................................................... 23
14 Graph ...................................................................................................................................................... 23

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1 From Imperfections / defects to optimising

MAG welding the shielding atmosphere chosen by the user shows its typical operating range, every
In MIG-MAG
shielding having its proper one.
In case of a ARCAL Speed compared to a standard M21 as ARCAL Force, figure 1 and 2, it can be seen,
that for a given amperage (current) or for the related wire feed rate, the voltage has to be adapted to the
shielding.

ARCAL Speed

ARCAL Force

Graph 1: I-U chart ARCAL Speed (M20-ArC)


(M20 Graph 2: I-U chart ARCAL Force (M21-ArC)

A wrong choice of voltage will lead to imperfections or even to defects as for example spattering
(imperfection) or porosities (defect).
High argon containing shielding gases as ARCAL Speed show a larger range of short arc mode, an earlier
start of spray arc and a reduced globular mode compared to a standard M21.

Graph 3: influence of CO2 content in argon to appearance of different arc modes versus amperage

Figure 3 shows that a shielding gas containing 8% of CO2 reaches a straight streaming spray arc mode at
250A for a 1,2mm wire, when a shielding gas containing 20% of CO2 shows a repelled spray mode
240-250A
380A, but no streaming spray.
starting at 360-380A,
ter has an influence on the minimum spray arc amperage : the smaller the wire diameter , the
The wire diameter
lower the minimum spray arc amperage :

Author: Ehsanullah. Khan & Joachim Grundmann – Revision 1.2 dated August 12th, 2014
Graph 4: ARCAL Speed influence of wire diameter on streaming spray arc appearance

The choice of the wire diameter may have a special interest when looking for high deposition rates
(productivity/cost solution):
- a 1.0mm wire will show at least 20% higher deposition rate than a 1,2mm wire for
the same amperage level.

When looking for high travel speeds, mainly in automatic welding, voltage amperage parameters will have to
be controlled, in order to avoid imperfections or defects.
Examples of a same weld carried out either with the right voltage, or with a voltage slightly outside the
acceptable
cceptable range are show in figure 5 with ARCAL Speed.

Figure 1:: acceptable parameter range for ARCAL Speed, automatic welding, 1,2mm wire

The effect of proper parameter set up has its influence on wetting, oxide level, but also spattering, over-
over
welding and formation of undercuts.

Author: Ehsanullah. Khan & Joachim Grundmann – Revision 1.2 dated August 12th, 2014
A standard M21 as ARCAL Force (figure 6), shows that under the given set up , the maximum speed of
1,2m/mn cannot be reached in a consistent way, as the acceptable voltage variation tolerance is too low: a
slight change in voltage, less than 1 Volt will lead here to imperfections or defects.

Figure 2: ARCAL Force (M21-ArC-18);


(M21 slight variations of voltage lead to imperfections
and defects when reaching maximum speed

An acceptable tolerance for the voltage in industrial work is around +/


+/- 1V.

Comparing this figure 6 to figure 5, ARCAL Speed, the M20-ArC-8


8 shielding type shows higher voltage
tolerance when reaching the maximum performance requested without imperfections than the M21
M21-ArC-18
shielding.
The M20 shielding gas shows a 10% higher travel speed capability.

Author: Ehsanullah. Khan & Joachim Grundmann – Revision 1.2 dated August 12th, 2014
2 Weld Imperfection

Imperfections can be controlled visually by the op


operator
erator directly during or after welding .Reference should
be taken to EN 970: visual control of welds.
The most frequent imperfections are spatterings (figure 7) - always combined with high fume emissions and
irregular weld aspect.

Figure 3: typical spattering situation

In certain cases, when welded structures are to be painted or coated, the surface oxidation should be
minimised.

Figure 4: : typical surface oxidation with different CO2 content in argon

Shielding gases containing lower amounts of oxidizing elements will decrease the quantity of surface oxides
(fig.8)
Too high welding speeds in combination with a given shielding atmosphere may lead to undercuts (fig.9).
Undercuts can be detected by the operator, but is considered already as a defect, affecting the mechanical
properties of the weld.

Figure 5:: : typical undercut situation due to wrong voltage set up

Author: Ehsanullah. Khan & Joachim Grundmann – Revision 1.2 dated August 12th, 2014
In MIG or MAG processes, over welds (fig.10) are linked to wetting properties of the gaseous shielding
atmosphere, having an influence on the surface tension of the droplets in GMAW welding.
Over welding leads to excessive weld metal deposit, not necessary to obtain the requested mechanical
properties.

Figure 6: typical over weld situation

Imperfections may lead to repair or after weld works (mainly grinding) but not the reject of the welded piece.

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3 Spattering:

High spatter levels occur when welding in the globular mode.


The higher the argon content of the shielding gas, the smaller the globular mode.
Globular more welding can be avoided by:
- using smaller wire diameters (fig.4)
- going into the pulsed mode
- using a shielding gas with higher argon content (fig.3)
Spatter rates can be reduced in a significant way with ARCAL Speed (Graph 1)

ARCAL Speed

Graph 5:: Spatter reduction with M20 compared to M21

Author: Ehsanullah. Khan & Joachim Grundmann – Revision 1.2 dated August 12th, 2014
4 Defects

Weld defects affect the mechanical integrity of the weld and are frequently not visible else but by NDT (non
destructive testing as X-ray or ultra-sonic testing).
Weld defects as porosities (fig.11), lack of fusion (fig.12), lack of penetration or slag inclusions (fig.12) and
drive generally to lower mechanical properties than requested. They also show an influence on fatigue
properties of the welded piece.

Figure 7: porosities detected by X-ray analysis Figure 8: a typical lack of fusion and on top right and
bottom: inclusions

Defects have frequently to be repaired and the cost issues resulting from, have to be taken in account for the
final cost of the welded piece.
Most of the defects can be avoided by an appropriate parameter set up, training of the operators, parameter
control and/or weld preparation, pre-and post-heating processes (crack sensitive steels or preparations).

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5 Weld cracks

Among the different types of cracks in weldments (fig.13), one of the most common cracks is crater cracking,
cracks starting in the end crater of the weld. Here the process parameters for end crater filling are important
to respect .The standard available power sources allow a programming of the arc striking and final crater
filling.
(The end crater cracking occurs due to the restraint of the metal going from liquid state to the solid state;
crater cracking becomes more sensitive when increasing weld thickness).

Figure 9: different types of cracks in the weld zone; HAZ: heat affected zone,
BM: base metal, WM: weld metal ; source ASM handbook

Longitudinal cracks are frequently due high internal stresses of the welded structure during solidification and
may occur during solidification (hot cracking) or a certain time after welding (hydrogen induced cracking:
cold cracking).
To avoid hot cracking, the parameter chart: Amperage/Voltage of the used wire gas combination has to be
known in order to adjust the parameters to decrease or eliminate the hot cracking phenomenon. Pre- or post-
heating may be necessary or an adjustment of the wire- gas combination to the mechanical properties of the
joint area.
In cold cracking situations, the principal cause is the presence of humidity and high stress in the joint area.
There are many sources of humidity, regarding the welding process, one source being the shielding gas.
The shielding gas should show a strictly controlled humidity level.

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6 Undercuts

Undercuts are frequently observed when welding with non adapted voltage at high welding speed (travel
speed) levels.
Adjusting the voltage for the given travel speed may show an improvement of the weld properties, provided
that the shielding gas is suitable for this selected speed (fig.14)

Figure 10:: excessive voltage for a given shielding gas and travel speed, may lead to undercuts;
315A / 45 cm/min/ wire feed: 9.2 m/min., 1.2 mm diameter wire,
shielding gas: ARCAL Speed, (flow rate: 20 l/min), forehand technique (15°), work angle 45°.

Undercuts may be considered as defects, when the welded piece is used under dynamic stress.
The undercut area is the area where cracks may start and displace.
The proper voltage set up
p corresponding to the chosen shielding is absolutely necessary in order to reach a
smooth junction with the base metal.
In such cases a voltage control during welding is to be recommended ( e.g. recording of welding data ) in
order to keep consistent properties
erties all over the welded structure , all over the fabrication process.

Author: Ehsanullah. Khan & Joachim Grundmann – Revision 1.2 dated August 12th, 2014
7 Weld shape

The voltage set up for the chosen shielding gas has an influence on the weld shape morphology. Increasing
the voltage means increasing the arc length and the width of the arc plume. Changes in voltage drive to
different morphologies, from wide penetration shape to finger
finger-shape ones (fig15 and 16).

Figure 11:: Voltage versus penetration shape at constant amperage (wire feed rate) and travel speed

Figure 12:: constant wire feeding rate 8,8m/mn, wire 1mm, shielding gas ARCAL Speed, stick out 20mm, travel speed
50cn/mn

Each welding application requests its morphology. For thin metal welding, finger shaped weld morphology
are to be performed, in order to reach high welding speed and flat welds.
Fillet welds may request larger weld shapes.
A larger weld shape requested may need a voltage set up slightly outside the recommended parameter range
of the shielding gas .Consequence might be a higher spattering rate.
A special care is to be taken regarding the tendency to porosity formation when cchanging
hanging the voltage (Graph
(
6).

ARCAL Speed

Graph 6:: light blue area, the porosity free amperage-voltage


amperage zone for ARCAL Speed; source: SLV Mannheim

This figure shows in blue the zone of porosity free welding, in dark blue the zone with high porosity level,
and in green the zone with still an acceptable porosity level.
For any shielding gas, going outside the recommended U
U-II area, may lead to imperfections and/or defects.

Author: Ehsanullah. Khan & Joachim Grundmann – Revision 1.2 dated August 12th, 2014
8 Surface oxidation

The surface oxidation as the regularity of the weld bead may be influenced by the choice of the shielding gas
composition.
Surface oxides will have to be removed when the piece is painted after welding. High CO2 or oxygen
containing shielding gases lead too higher oxidation.
Changes in voltage will show an influence on surface oxidation: a higher voltage, in other words a higher arc
length will lead to a higher oxidation rate of the droplets (fig.18).

Figure 13: at constant wire feeding


eeding 8,8m/mn a parameter change leads to changes in weld surface properties;
see also figure 16; wire diameter: 1 mm, ARCAL Speed, tip-to-work
work distance: 20 mm, travel speed: 50 cm/min

However, the right choice of the voltage will be a compromise showing the best acceptable level of quality
and productivity, related to the properties of the welded structure.

Author: Ehsanullah. Khan & Joachim Grundmann – Revision 1.2 dated August 12th, 2014
9 Influence of welding current on weld properties

The welding current (amperage) has a direct influence on the penetration depth (voltage and travel speed
being constant) (fig.19).

Figure 14:: an increase of amperage (U and Ts constant) = increase in penetration depth

High wire feeding rates (amperage) used for high deposition or high speed welding show here a significant
change of the weld shape morphology, from fingertip shape to rounded shape (Fig.20). Higher amperages
(wire feed rates) lead to higher oxidation rates.

Figure 15:: Influence of amperage on weld morphology; A = 240A, wire feed rate 6,3m/mn; B: 340A, wf = 11,8m/mn;
Wire diameter 1 mm, ARCAL Speed, Voltage 30 V, Tip-to-work
Tip work distance: 20 mm, Travel speed: 30 cm/min.

For a fixed voltage and travel speed, for a requested and identical leg length (fillet size), the fillet weld (fig
21) shows in one case an acceptable fillet size and shape, in the other (right hand) a pronounced over weld
and – resulting from over weld- a higher distortion by shrinkage

Figure 16:: influence of amperage on wetting; A= 335A, Wf= 12,2m/mn; B= 355 A,


Wf= 14,4m/mn; 45 cm/min, 28V, 1.2 mm diameter 70S wire,
shielding gas: ARCAL Speed, (flow rate: 20 l/min), work angle 45°, forehand technique: 15°.

Author: Ehsanullah. Khan & Joachim Grundmann – Revision 1.2 dated August 12th, 2014
10 Travel speed (welding speed)

The travel speed has its influence on the pool width mainly (fig.22 and 23).

Figure 17:: travel speed versus penetration shape; the higher the travel speed at constant voltage and amperage,
the smaller the penetration depth and shape

Figure 18:: influence on travel speed on weld shape: A= 20cm/mn, B= 40cm/mn;


wire diameter: 1 mm, ARCAL Speed, Voltage 30 V, Feed rate: 8.8 m/min., Welding current:280 A, tip-
tip to-work
distance: 20 mm

With higher travel speeds (all other parameters constant) the we


weld
ld pool narrows and penetration depth
decreases;
In overlap conditions, the pool width may have its importance when the preparation tolerances are rather
high and a larger gap has to be filled. In this case the speed reduction is a benefit for the user.
On the other side an optimization of the preparation (close the gap, reduce preparation tolerances) may help
to improve deformations, the productivity and to decrease the welding overall costs for the piece.
Fig.24 shows the effect of excessive welding speeds. The weld shape becomes narrow, as well as the pool
width , the assembly shows a high tendency to over
over-welding

Figure 19:: influence on travel speed on weld shape: A= 40cm/mn, B= 60cm/mn; wire diameter:
iameter: 1mm,
1
ARCAL Speed, Voltage 30V, Feed rate: 8.8m/min.,
8.8 Welding current:280 to 300A, tip- to-work
work distance: 20mm

It is recommended to choose his travel speed in order to achieve the right productivity, but also the best gap
filling, to reach the appropriate pool width, corresponding to the requested quality level .

Author: Ehsanullah. Khan & Joachim Grundmann – Revision 1.2 dated August 12th, 2014
11 Tip to work-piece
piece distance (stick out)

Increasing the tip to work-piece


piece distance is beneficial to improve deposition rate; however a bigger stick out
may lead to higher oxidation levels (poorer shielding) and a decrease in the penetration rate at same wire
feeding rate (fig.24).In fact part of the elect
electrical energy is used to pre-heat
heat the wire stick out leading to lower
penetration but higher deposition rates .This phenomena is commonly used for high deposition rate welding
in automatic processes with the possibility to reach also rotating arc modes when using amperages between
450 and 550 amps depending on the used shielding gas .

Figure 20:: influence on tip to work


work-piece distance on weld shape: A= Tip-to-work
work dist.: 15mm, 310A,
B= Tip-to-work dist.: 25mm, 265A; diameter: 1mm, ARCAL Speed, Voltage 30V, wire Feed rate: 8.8m/min
A; wire diameter

When adapting the feeding rate and stick out to the working situation, penetration depth but also deposition
rate are affected. In Fig.25 is shown the influence of the tip-to
tip work piece distance on deposition rate and
weld shape.
However, in manual welding a constant stick out is not possible to maintain, unless using a specific gas cap
(longer than the usual one). An experienced welder is able to keep the stick out in tight tolerances,
minimising the influence on weld shape, penetration and wetting.

Figure 21: Influence of tip-to-work


work distance on deposition rate and weld shape; base metal thickness: 8 mm, wire dia.
1.2 mm,
shielding gas: ARCAL Force, 20 l/min., contact tip 2 mm above nozzle level,
nozzle dia. 20 mm, voltage: 29V, amperage: 320A, travel speed: 40

Author: Ehsanullah. Khan & Joachim Grundmann – Revision 1.2 dated August 12th, 2014
12 Conclusions:

Most of the shown issues are imperfections due to amperage, voltage, wire feed and travel speed parameters.
Parameters should be measured when setting up the WPS for the welded structure, and should be recorded in
order to provide a quality management system but also in order to detect possible improvement issues in the
workshop.
Knowing the performances and capabilities of a shielding gas, managing parameter set up responding to the
working and cost situation, allows to reach higher quality and productivity.
Welders should be trained for the use of the specific shielding gas, as the welder is in the front line of quality
inspection (visual control).
Specific shielding gas compositions and qualities may help to resolve quality issues and offering in the same
time flexibility (parameter set up) in use.

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13 Figures:
Figure 1: acceptable parameter range for ARCAL Speed, automatic welding, 1,2mm wire _____________________________________________ 8
Figure 2: ARCAL Force (M21-ArC-18); slight variations of voltage lead to imperfections and defects when reaching maximum speed ___________ 9
Figure 3: typical spattering situation______________________________________________________________________________________ 10
Figure 4: : typical surface oxidation with different CO2 content in argon _________________________________________________________ 10
Figure 5: : typical undercut situation due to wrong voltage set up _______________________________________________________________ 10
Figure 6: typical over weld situation ______________________________________________________________________________________ 11
Figure 7: porosities detected by X-ray analysis ______________________________________________________________________________ 13
Figure 8: a typical lack of fusion and on top right and bottom: inclusions _________________________________________________________ 13
Figure 9: different types of cracks in the weld zone; HAZ: heat affected zone, BM: base metal, WM: weld metal ;
source ASM handbook _________________________________________________________________________________________________ 14
Figure 10: excessive voltage for a given shielding gas and travel speed, may lead to undercuts; 315A / 45 cm/min/ wire feed: 9.2 m/min., 1.2 mm
diameter wire, shielding gas: ARCAL Speed, (flow rate: 20 l/min), forehand technique (15°), work angle 45°. ____________________________ 15
Figure 11: Voltage versus penetration shape at constant amperage (wire feed rate) and travel speed ____________________________________ 16
Figure 12: constant wire feeding rate 8,8m/mn, wire 1mm, shielding gas ARCAL Speed, stick out 20mm, travel speed 50cn/mn _______________ 16
Figure 13: at constant wire feeding 8,8m/mn a parameter change leads to changes in weld surface properties; see also figure 16;
wire diameter: 1 mm, ARCAL Speed, tip-to-work distance: 20 mm, travel speed: 50 cm/min ___________________________________________ 17
Figure 14: an increase of amperage (U and Ts constant) = increase in penetration depth _____________________________________________ 18
Figure 15: Influence of amperage on weld morphology; A = 240A, wire feed rate 6,3m/mn; B: 340A, wf = 11,8m/mn; Wire diameter 1 mm, ARCAL
Speed, Voltage 30 V, Tip-to-work distance: 20 mm, Travel speed: 30 cm/min. ______________________________________________________ 18
Figure 16: influence of amperage on wetting; A= 335A, Wf= 12,2m/mn; B= 355 A, Wf= 14,4m/mn; 45 cm/min, 28V, 1.2 mm diameter 70S wire,
shielding gas: ARCAL Speed, (flow rate: 20 l/min), work angle 45°, forehand technique: 15°. _________________________________________ 18
Figure 17: travel speed versus penetration shape; the higher the travel speed at constant voltage and amperage, the smaller the penetration depth
and shape ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 19
Figure 18: influence on travel speed on weld shape: A= 20cm/mn, B= 40cm/mn; wire diameter: 1 mm, ARCAL Speed, Voltage 30 V, Feed rate: 8.8
m/min., Welding current:280 A, tip- to-work distance: 20 mm __________________________________________________________________ 19
Figure 19: influence on travel speed on weld shape: A= 40cm/mn, B= 60cm/mn; wire diameter: 1mm, ARCAL Speed, Voltage 30V, Feed rate:
8.8m/min., Welding current:280 to 300A, tip- to-work distance: 20mm____________________________________________________________ 19
Figure 20: influence on tip to work-piece distance on weld shape: A= Tip-to-work dist.: 15mm, 310A, B= Tip-to-work dist.: 25mm,
265A; wire diameter: 1mm, ARCAL Speed, Voltage 30V, wire Feed rate: 8.8m/min__________________________________________________ 20
Figure 21: Influence of tip-to-work distance on deposition rate and weld shape; base metal thickness: 8 mm, wire dia. 1.2 mm,
shielding gas: ARCAL Force, 20 l/min., contact tip 2 mm above nozzle level, nozzle dia. 20 mm, voltage: 29V, amperage: 320A,
travel speed: 40 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 20

14 Graph
Graph 1: I-U chart ARCAL Speed (M20-ArC)________________________________________________________________________________ 7
Graph 2: I-U chart ARCAL Force (M21-ArC)________________________________________________________________________________ 7
Graph 3: influence of CO2 content in argon to appearance of different arc modes versus amperage ______________________________________ 7
Graph 4: ARCAL Speed influence of wire diameter on streaming spray arc appearance _______________________________________________ 8
Graph 5: Spatter reduction with M20 compared to M21 _______________________________________________________________________ 12
Graph 6: light blue area, the porosity free amperage-voltage zone for ARCAL Speed; source: SLV Mannheim_____________________________ 16

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