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:
(2) interpretation, and (3) evaluation.
All of these steps make use of the radiographer's visual acuity. Visual acuity is the ability to resolve a spatial pattern in an image. The ability of an individual to detect discontinuities in radiography is also affected by the lighting condition in the place of viewing, and the experience level for recognizing various features in the image. The following material was developed to help students develop an understanding of the types of defects found in weldments and how they appear in a radiograph.
Discontinuities are interruptions in the typical structure of a material. These interruptions may occur in the base metal, weld material or "heat affected" zones. Discontinuities, which do not meet the requirements of the codes or specifications used to invoke and control an inspection, are referred to as defects.
General Welding Discontinuities
The following discontinuities are typical of all types of welding.
Cold lap is a condition where the weld filler metal does not properly fuse with the base metal or the previous weld pass material (interpass cold lap). The arc does not melt the base metal sufficiently and causes the slightly molten puddle to flow into the base material without bonding.
Porosity is the result of gas entrapment in the solidifying metal. Porosity can take many shapes on a radiograph but often appears as dark round or irregular spots or specks appearing singularly, in clusters, or in rows. Sometimes, porosity is elongated and may appear to have a tail. This is the result of gas attempting to escape while the metal is still in a liquid state and is called wormhole porosity. All porosity is a void in the material and it will have a higher radiographic density than the surrounding area.
Cluster porosity is caused when flux coated electrodes are contaminated with moisture. The moisture turns into a gas when heated and becomes trapped in the weld during the welding process. Cluster porosity appear just like regular porosity in the radiograph but the indications will be grouped close together.
Slag inclusions are nonmetallic solid material entrapped in weld metal or between weld and base metal. In a radiograph, dark, jagged asymmetrical shapes within the weld or along the weld joint areas are indicative of slag inclusions.
Incomplete penetration (IP) or lack of penetration (LOP) occurs when the weld metal fails to penetrate the joint. It is one of the most objectionable weld discontinuities. Lack of penetration allows a natural stress riser from which a crack may propagate. The appearance on a radiograph is a dark area with well-defined, straight edges that follows the land or root face down the center of the weldment.