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The Answer Is IT Oct 08:Layout 1


12:34 PM

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answer is...
The Society is not responsible for any statement made or opinion expressed herein. Data and information developed by the authors
are for specific informational purposes only and are not intended for use without independent, substantiating investigation on the
part of potential users.



I have a question regarding the

ultrasonic testing (UT) of the corners
of complete-joint-penetration (CJP)
welds in square tube. Do you know of
any codes that specifically address
this issue? I work for the Department
of Transportation (DOT) of a U.S.
state, and we have fabricators that are
currently building pedestrian bridges
using square tube. Several CJP
splices are required. These joints are
also required by contract to be examined 100% by UT. My concern is with
the UT techniques and acceptance
criteria used at the corners. I have
recently checked behind the contractor doing the UT, and I have found
indications in the corners. The problem with our UT report forms is that
we dont require the technician to list
anything other than the transducer
angle, so I dont know what size transducer crystal was used in the original
exam. I used a mini 14 -in. round, 5MHz transducer for the crosschecks I
performed that revealed the indications. Im looking for something written somewhere that might address a
technique for doing the corners and
what the limitations might be.

A: Though you dont state it in your

question, for a bridge-building project
for a U.S. state DOT, we presume the
governing welding and inspection standards are specific to your state and are
based on AWS D1.5, Bridge Welding
Code, or possibly AWS D1.1, Structural
Welding Code Steel. These two codes
are similar enough with regard to UT
requirements that for the purpose of
your question we can consider them
The UT of groove welds in square
tubulars (and especially as regards the
corners of these joints) is one of those

things that kind of slips through the

cracks of the D1.5/D1.1 Section 6 UT
schemes. The transducer minimum size
requirements of both codes make the
detection of discontinuities in the corners difficult, and even if you see a discontinuity, the sizing of it is even more
complex. Section 6 of both codes offer
alternate techniques (such as Annex S of
D1.1) that can be used and in order to
do a good UT job on square tubular corners, an alternate technique is necessary. Note that per both codes this would
need to be recorded in the contract
records and approved by the Engineer.
Smaller transducers like the one you
used (which, to emphasize, do not meet
the requirements of either Section 6) are
better for both detection and sizing of
discontinuities in corners. For length sizing, the best way to do it accurately is to
be as accurate as possible with the calibration for testing (use as short a screen
range as possible) and to as accurately
as possible plot the indication on a 1:1
cross-sectional sketch. When performing UT on any tubular surface in a circumferential direction, the actual length
of the discontinuity will be less than the
spacing between the two end points measured on the outside surface hence
the need for an accurate sketch. This can
give a pretty accurate picture of what you
have in the weld.
For acceptance then, if you are going
to apply an alternate scanning/sizing technique, you cannot apply the Section 6
acceptance criteria (they are completely
tied to the Section 6 technique requirements) and an alternate set of acceptance
criteria must be used. On past projects
that I have been involved with, one solution that worked reasonably well was a fitness-for-purpose approach, i.e., the UT
results were presented to the Engineer
and then he/she made the call as to

For length sizing, the best

way to do it accurately is
to be as accurate as possible with the calibration for
testing (use as short a
screen range as possible)
and to as accurately as
possible plot the indication on a 1:1 crosssectional sketch.
whether the weld was acceptable or
rejectable. On those projects for which
there were many joints of this type, the
Engineer would instead come up with
some acceptance criteria that the UT technician could use in the field.
All of this, however, requires that
your contract documents permit such an
As regards your question about codes
that address this specifically or other written information that can be used to help,
there is nothing that Im aware of. That is
why any time that alternate techniques
and acceptance criteria from that given in
Section 6 of D1.5 / D1.1 are to be used, it
is imperative (in my opinion) that a UT
Level III experienced in the type of product to be examined be employed for the
development of the written UT procedure
and the techniques to be employed. Once
again, this would require approval of the
Engineer (who would also have to
approve, and would likely be involved in
the development of, the alternate acceptance criteria).

Q: Our company fabrication superintendent is ver y critical about finished welds and overall weld reinforcement conformance. Why does
AWS not specifically address this as

Inspection Trends encourages question and answer submissions. Please mail to the editor (
KENNETH ERICKSON is manager of quality at National Inspection & Consultants, Inc., Ft. Myers, Fla. He is an AWS Senior
Certified Welding Inspector, an ASNT National NDT Level III Inspector in four methods, and provides expert witness review and
analysis for legal considerations.
CLIFFORD (KIP) MANKENBERG is a construction supervisor for Shell International Exploration & Production, Houston, Tex. He is
an AWS Senior Certified Welding Inspector and an ASNT National NDT Level III Inspector in five methods.


The Answer Is IT Oct 08:Layout 1


an attribute in the visual inspection

acceptance criteria? Also, would it be
better for our shop welder to run
stringer or weave beads in regard to
the cap height?

A: An AWS D1.1 visual inspection acceptance criterion, Table 6.1- (4), does
specifically cover weld reinforcement
maximum limits. You will also need to
refer to Fig. 5.4, which details out both
acceptable and unacceptable weld profiles that encompass weld reinforcement
for various weld joint designs. Excessive
weld reinforcement can be detrimental to
a weld when overlap (overfill) is present.
This generally results in an area or areas
of nonfusion that may lead to a more
severe condition once the weld is put into
service or subjected to load or continual
stress. The same holds true for unacceptable undercut. This condition can
also lead to a suspect area where a localized stress riser can be initiated and once
again propagate to a possible linear
defect when in service.
To help educate and train your
welders, you may want to consider
adding the maximum reinforcement limits for all weld joint applications relative
to each welding procedure specification
that you currently use.
Both weave beads and stringer beads
are acceptable to use as long as the WPS
requirements have not been exceeded
such as maximum fill pass thickness, etc.
You will find that welders will differ on
running stringer beads and weave beads
as much as their individual capabilities
vary. For groove welds, the correct placement of weld stringers in correlation to
the thickness and width of the weld joint
can have a superior effect on the life of
the weld in regard to minimizing overall
welding stress when complete. This
becomes even a greater concern for
thicker materials, and for materials that
contain higher percentages of chrome
requiring preheats and postweld heat
treatment. As long as the final welds are
in compliance with the governing specification, either stringers or weaves should
be considered acceptable. You should
also take into consideration the time factor and weld metal consumption to complete similar welds when comparing the
two techniques per welder.

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chemical industries are using phased

array quite extensively and this trend will
continue. Although more costly, the technology and information provided
through phased array dwarfs conventional UT. In addition, many companies
and projects that currently perform radiography (RT) will research and choose
to perform phased array in lieu of RT
when possible, thus reducing costs, minimizing down/wait time, and eliminating
radiation safety concerns. Phased array

manufacturers have already begun developing and installing software into the
equipment available today to meet current AWS ultrasonic specifications and
requirements. Companies that provide
NDE services such as ultrasonic inspection need to begin researching, planning,
and implementing the use of phased
array inspection today or they may be
forced to catch up to this technology and
their competition down the road.

Q: Will phased array ultrasonic

testing someday eliminate conventional ultrasonic testing for AWS
A: As I (Ken Erickson) see it, in the very
near future, phased array will begin to
overtake conventional ultrasonic testing
(UT) for every application now being
used including AWS applications.
Presently, the electric power and petro-

For info go to

FALL 2008 31