Welding Processes, Metallurgy and Defects

Summer 2010
Mikal Balmforth, P.E., CWEng, CWI
MIT Research Associate MIT Welding Laboratory

• • • • Major welding processes Some welding metallurgy topics Common weld defects Other welding related issues

Arc Welding Processes
• Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW)
– Also stick or MMA welding – Simple, common process – Consumable, flux coated electrode

• Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW)
– – – – – Also TIG welding Non-consumable tungsten Inert gas shielding Clean, precision work Filler added externally


Arc Welding Processes
• Gas metal arc welding (GMAW)
– – – – Also MIG or MAG welding Consumable wire electrode Gas shielding Often automated

• Flux cored arc welding (FCAW)
– Similar to GMAW – Hollow electrode wire filled with flux – Often no shielding gas

Arc Welding Processes
• Others
– Submerged arc welding (SAW) – Plasma arc welding (PAW) – Underwater welding

Resistance Welding Processes
• Spot welding
– – – – Sheet metal Two copper electrodes Heat from resistance at interface Autos have thousands of spot welds

• Seam welding
– Wheel shaped electrodes

• Projection welding
– Dimples or projections in sheet or components concentrates heat

• Upset welding
– Components forged at elevated temperature

Solid State Welding Processes
• Friction welding (FRW) • Inertia welding (IFW) • Friction stir welding (FSW)

Solid State Welding Processes
• Diffusion welding (DFW)
– Often used in aircraft and aerospace

• Ultrasonic welding (USW)
– Used for plastics and electronic components

• Explosion welding (EXW)
– Often dissimilar metals or cladding

High Energy Density Welding Processes
• Narrow, deep welds are produced
– Lower heat input and narrower HAZ

• High speeds are possible • Laser beam welding (LBW)
– Solid state or gas lasers – Usually done in air

High Energy Density Welding Processes
• Electron beam welding (EBW)
– Concentrated stream of high-velocity electrons – Usually done in vacuum – Can be high power

Allied Processes
• Brazing and soldering (450°C, 840°F) • Oxyfuel gas welding • Thermal cutting
– Oxygen, plasma arc, other – Gouging

Regions of a Fusion Weld
• • • • Fusion zone (FZ) – weld metal Fusion boundary (FB) Heat affected zone (HAZ) Unaffected base metal (BM)




Fusion Zone
• Autogenous, homogeneous or heterogeneous • Molten to solid

Heat Affected Zone
• Grain growth, recovery and recrystallization, precipitates, stresses

Welding Metallurgy Issues
• How does the heat from welding affect the material and its properties? • Control microstructures and prevent defects • What filler metals, processing conditions, and welding techniques to use
– Chemistry – Heat input – Welds often require pre- and/or post-heating

Classification of Weld Defects
• Fabrication • Delayed (hydrogen-induced) • Service

Fabrication Defects
• Porosity

• Incomplete fusion

• Incomplete penetration

• Undercut

Fabrication Defects Cont.
• Solidification cracking
– Also called hot or centerline cracking

• HAZ hot cracking • Inclusions – slag or tungsten

Fabrication Defects Cont.
• Reheat cracking • Liquid metal embrittlement (LME)

Fabrication Defects Cont.
• Lamellar tearing

• Incorrect weld shape or size

• Spatter

Delayed (H-induced) Defects
• Usually initiates in course grained HAZ, but can occur in weld metal • Four requirements:
– Susceptible microstructure – Source of hydrogen – Low temperature – Tensile stress

Service Defects
• Fatigue failures
– Cyclic loading conditions – Cracks propagate from weld defects

• Mechanical overload
– Ductile rupture can initiate at defects

Service Defects
• Corrosion
– Intergranular corrosion (IGC)
• Localized grain boundary attack • Sensitization in austenitic stainless steels

– Stress corrosion cracking (SCC)
• Tensile stress combined with corrosive media • Transgranular or intergranular crack propagation

Significance of Weld Defects

• Failure initiation sites • Reduced tensile and other mechanical properties • Reduced fatigue life • Toughness / Fracture mechanics
– Allowable defect size

Other Welding Related Issues
• Codes and Standards / Certification

• Testing / Inspection
– Metallography, SEM, mechanical testing – NDE
• Visual, dye penetrant, ultrasonics, x-ray, magnetic particle, eddy current

• Safety
– Worker, workplace, fumes, fire prevention

• Weld repair • Stresses and distortion

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