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Radiograph Interpretation - Welds

In addition to producing high quality radiographs, the radiographer must also be skilled in
radiographic interpretation. Interpretation of radiographs takes place in three basic steps: (1)
detection, (2) interpretation, and (3) ealuation. !ll of these steps make use of the radiographer"s
isual acuity. #isual acuity is the ability to resole a spatial pattern in an image. $he ability of an
indiidual to detect discontinuities in radiography is also affected by the lighting condition in the
place of ie%ing, and the e&perience leel for recogni'ing arious features in the image. $he
follo%ing material %as deeloped to help students deelop an understanding of the types of
defects found in %eldments and ho% they appear in a radiograph.
(iscontinuities are interruptions in the typical structure of a material. $hese interruptions may
occur in the base metal, %eld material or )heat affected) 'ones. (iscontinuities, %hich do not
meet the requirements of the codes or specifications used to inoke and control an inspection, are
referred to as defects.
General Welding Discontinuities
$he follo%ing discontinuities are typical of all types of %elding.
Cold lap is a condition %here the %eld filler metal does not properly fuse %ith the base metal or
the preious %eld pass material (interpass cold lap). $he arc does not melt the base metal
sufficiently and causes the slightly molten puddle to flo% into the base material %ithout bonding.
Porosity is the result of gas entrapment in the solidifying metal. *orosity can take many shapes
on a radiograph but often appears as dark round or irregular spots or specks appearing singularly,
in clusters, or in ro%s. +ometimes, porosity is elongated and may appear to hae a tail. $his is
the result of gas attempting to escape %hile the metal is still in a liquid state and is called
%ormhole porosity. !ll porosity is a oid in the material and it %ill hae a higher radiographic
density than the surrounding area.
Cluster porosity is caused %hen flu& coated electrodes are contaminated %ith moisture. $he
moisture turns into a gas %hen heated and becomes trapped in the %eld during the %elding
process. ,luster porosity appear -ust like regular porosity in the radiograph but the indications
%ill be grouped close together.
Slag inclusions are nonmetallic solid material entrapped in %eld metal or bet%een %eld and base
metal. In a radiograph, dark, -agged asymmetrical shapes %ithin the %eld or along the %eld -oint
areas are indicatie of slag inclusions.
Incomplete penetration (IP) or lack of penetration (LOP) occurs %hen the %eld metal fails to
penetrate the -oint. It is one of the most ob-ectionable %eld discontinuities. .ack of penetration
allo%s a natural stress riser from %hich a crack may propagate. $he appearance on a radiograph
is a dark area %ith %ell/defined, straight edges that follo%s the land or root face do%n the center
of the %eldment.
Incomplete fusion is a condition %here the %eld filler metal does not properly fuse %ith the base
metal. !ppearance on radiograph: usually appears as a dark line or lines oriented in the direction
of the %eld seam along the %eld preparation or -oining area.
Internal concavity or suck ack is a condition %here the %eld metal has contracted as it cools
and has been dra%n up into the root of the %eld. 0n a radiograph it looks similar to a lack of
penetration but the line has irregular edges and it is often quite %ide in the center of the %eld
Internal or root undercut is an erosion of the base metal ne&t to the root of the %eld. In the
radiographic image it appears as a dark irregular line offset from the centerline of the %eldment.
1ndercutting is not as straight edged as .0* because it does not follo% a ground edge.
!"ternal or cro#n undercut is an erosion of the base metal ne&t to the cro%n of the %eld. In
the radiograph, it appears as a dark irregular line along the outside edge of the %eld area.
Offset or mismatc$ are terms associated %ith a condition %here t%o pieces being %elded
together are not properly aligned. $he radiographic image sho%s a noticeable difference in
density bet%een the t%o pieces. $he difference in density is caused by the difference in material
thickness. $he dark, straight line is caused by the failure of the %eld metal to fuse %ith the land
Inade%uate #eld reinforcement is an area of a %eld %here the thickness of %eld metal
deposited is less than the thickness of the base material. It is ery easy to determine by
radiograph if the %eld has inadequate reinforcement, because the image density in the area of
suspected inadequacy %ill be higher (darker) than the image density of the surrounding base
!"cess #eld reinforcement is an area of a %eld that has %eld metal added in e&cess of that
specified by engineering dra%ings and codes. $he appearance on a radiograph is a locali'ed,
lighter area in the %eld. ! isual inspection %ill easily determine if the %eld reinforcement is in
e&cess of that specified by the engineering requirements.
Cracks can be detected in a radiograph only %hen they are propagating in a direction that
produces a change in thickness that is parallel to the &/ray beam. ,racks %ill appear as -agged
and often ery faint irregular lines. ,racks can sometimes appear as )tails) on inclusions or

Discontinuities in &IG #elds
$he follo%ing discontinuities are unique to the $I2 %elding process. $hese discontinuities occur
in most metals %elded by the process, including aluminum and stainless steels. $he $I2 method
of %elding produces a clean homogeneous %eld %hich %hen radiographed is easily interpreted.
&ungsten inclusions' $ungsten is a brittle and inherently dense material used in the electrode in
tungsten inert gas %elding. If improper %elding procedures are used, tungsten may be entrapped
in the %eld. 3adiographically, tungsten is more dense than aluminum or steel, therefore it sho%s
up as a lighter area %ith a distinct outline on the radiograph.
O"ide inclusions are usually isible on the surface of material being %elded (especially
aluminum). 0&ide inclusions are less dense than the surrounding material and, therefore, appear
as dark irregularly shaped discontinuities in the radiograph.
Discontinuities in Gas (etal )rc Welds (G()W)
$he follo%ing discontinuities are most commonly found in 24!5 %elds.
W$iskers are short lengths of %eld electrode %ire, isible on the top or bottom surface of the
%eld or contained %ithin the %eld. 0n a radiograph they appear as light, )%ire like) indications.
*urn+&$roug$ results %hen too much heat causes e&cessie %eld metal to penetrate the %eld
'one. 0ften lumps of metal sag through the %eld, creating a thick globular condition on the back
of the %eld. $hese globs of metal are referred to as icicles. 0n a radiograph, burn/through
appears as dark spots, %hich are often surrounded by light globular areas (icicles).