9 Most Common Welding Defects, Types, Causes, and Remedies

9 Most Common Welding Defects, Types, Causes, and Remedies

No matter if you are a beginner or a professional welder, welding defects are common and you may face them regularly. These defects can become significant issues if not taken care of. The good news is, you can learn to identify these defects and eliminate them and thus don’t have to worry about their significance. Here we discussed some of the most common welding issues, what causes them and how you can avoid those entirely.

How to Check Welding Defects

It is essential to identify welding defects before it is too late and being able to recognize those separates professionals from beginners. Usually, since welding defects can be visually different from a perfect weld, most of them are easier to identify. Moreover, fillet welding gauge, magnifying glass, flashlight, and similar tools help you with checking defects.

We highly recommend you use tools to identify major welding defects rather than only depending on your eyesight. The smallest of issues can be significant and recognizing those is crucial.

9 Common Welding Defects


Bad Penetration

When the bottom of the groove does not fill properly, it is called an incomplete penetration. It means the weld has not filled all the way through and results in bad welding.

Bad_Penetration

Causes

  • It was not tight enough between the metals you are welding
  • You are welding at a lower amperage than required
  • You are running through beads quickly
  • The alignment between the metals wasn’t proper

Remedies

  • Use a better electrode of the right size
  • Ensure the welding current is high enough according to the thickness
  • Make your alignment better

Spatter

Usually, in gas metal arc welding, welding particles spread around the weld and are thus called spatter. Spatter is very common in welding and you will get a small amount no matter what. But if you are getting a lot of spatter you can try to prevent it with a few remedies.

Spatter

Causes

  • Voltage is too low
  • Amperage is too high
  • The surface of the metal isn’t clean
  • Too long of an arc
  • Electrode angle is very steep

Remedies

  • Clean the metal you are working on
  • Adjust the current
  • Ensure that you are using the right polarity
  • Change the electrode angle

Undercut

If grooves appear at the weld toe of your weld, it results in an undercut, which is a very common pipe welding issue. This type of defect can weaken the weld and reduce the lifetime of the piece you are welding.

Undercut

Causes

  • You are welding too fast
  • Your welding technique isn’t on point
  • You’re using too big of an electrode
  • Bad filler material
  • Welding at a bad angle

Remedies

  • Ensure the proper welding angle
  • Make sure you are not welding too fast or too slow for that matter
  • Make sure to use the right current and reduce the current at thinner areas
  • Try out the multiphase method

Incomplete Fusion

When the fusion between the weld metal and base metal is incomplete and does not have a proper joint, it is called an incomplete or bad fusion. It is different from incomplete penetration since the joint disturbance appears on the sides, not at the bottom.

Incomplete Fusion

Causes

  • The metal surface isn’t properly cleaned
  • The electrode diameter does not go along with your metal’s thickness
  • You are welding too fast
  • Bad electrode angle

Remedies

  • Ensure the voltage-current is high enough
  • Use the proper electrodes according to the thickness
  • Ensure no contamination is on the metal

Cracks

Weld cracks are one of the worst types of defects you can have and should always be avoided! Cracks can happen during the weld when the temperature is too high, or after your weld when the temperature lessens.

Cracks

Causes

  • The metal surface isn’t properly cleaned
  • Internal stresses exceed either your weld, your base metal or both
  • You are welding too fast
  • Bad electrode angle

Remedies

  • Makes sure you preheat the base metal
  • Clean the metal
  • Make sure you have the right welding speed and using the proper amperage

Slag Inclusions

Usually appearing during fluxed-cored arc welding, submerged arc welding, and stick welding tasks, slag inclusions are melted flux that is easily visible on the weld.

Slag Inclusions

Causes

  • You didn’t clean the welded area properly
  • The fast spread of the weld
  • Welding current isn’t high enough
  • Bad welding angle

Remedies

  • Make sure you are welding at the right speed
  • Remove slags from the beads you have already done
  • Alternate the current density
  • Use the electrode at a proper angle

Overlap

When the weld face ‘overlaps’ or extends the weld toe far too much, it is considered as welding overlap and seems to be a very common issue you may face while welding.

Overlap

Causes

  • The electrode you are using is too thick
  • You are welding at an incorrect angle

Remedies

  • Use thinner electrodes
  • Weld at the right angle

Porosity

When the trapped gases inside the weld create a bubble-filled weld, it can weaken and result in porosity, which is one of the worst types of bad welding defects.

Porosity

Causes

  • You may be using a longer arc
  • Moisture in the environment
  • Not using the correct gas shield
  • Surface contamination
  • Rust, oil, or grease

Remedies

  • Ensure the materials you are using are properly cleaned
  • Use proper arc distance
  • Use better electrodes
  • Ensure you have the right gas shield

Burn Through

One of the usual defects that occur while welding thin materials is burned through when the weld material penetrates the base metal.

Burn Through

Causes

  • You are welding at a higher amperage
  • Not welding at correct settings
  • Having much space at the joint’s root

Remedies

  • Lower the amperage and heat
  • Use proper welding technique
  • Ensure the base metal does not have paint or any type of coating

Final Note

It is always better to identify these defects sooner rather than later. Moreover, understanding the severity of each defect can help you make decisions that will matter the most. Lastly, ensuring proper welding technique (using the right welding angle, the proper settings, the right materials, etc.) and making sure no contamination is on the materials can eliminate most of the defects you may encounter.

Last Updated on 2 months by Richard Boyer

  • August 30, 2021
Richard Boyer
 

Richard Boyer has been a professional welder for over 27 years of his life, and now he is a trainer and blogger providing critical information to anyone interested in welding. He is helping out both hobbyists, novice and professional welders to learn newer and better techniques. Read more about me

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