What is Herringbone porosity weld defect? how to determine

What is Herringbone porosity weld defect? how to determine

Herringbone porosity in welding is a type of porosity defect characterized by a pattern resembling the bones of a herringbone. This defect occurs when gas bubbles become trapped within the weld metal during solidification, resulting in a distinctive, branching pattern of pores. Herringbone porosity can weaken the weld joint and compromise its integrity, particularly in applications where weld strength and gas-tightness are critical.

Example: Welding of Pressure Vessels

Consider the welding of pressure vessels used in industrial applications such as oil refineries or chemical plants. Pressure vessels are subjected to high internal pressures and temperatures, making the quality of their welds crucial for preventing leaks and ensuring structural integrity.

Herringbone Porosity Weld Defect:

During the welding of pressure vessels, herringbone porosity can occur if proper welding procedures are not followed or if there are issues with gas shielding, electrode contamination, or weld metal cleanliness. This defect manifests as a distinctive pattern of interconnected pores resembling the bones of a herringbone, visible upon visual inspection or through non-destructive testing techniques.

Determining Herringbone Porosity Weld Defect:

  1. Visual Inspection: Herringbone porosity can often be visually identified by examining the surface of the weld bead and surrounding areas. The presence of interconnected pores arranged in a branching pattern resembling a herringbone indicates the presence of this defect.
  2. Non-Destructive Testing (NDT): Non-destructive testing techniques, such as radiographic testing (RT) or ultrasonic testing (UT), can be employed to detect and evaluate the size, location, and extent of herringbone porosity within the weld joint.

Radiographic Process:

In radiographic testing (RT) for herringbone porosity detection:

  • X-rays or gamma rays are directed through the weld joint onto a film or digital detector.
  • Herringbone porosity appears as irregular-shaped, dark indications within the weld metal in radiographic images, indicating areas of discontinuity or gas voids.

Prevention Strategies:

  1. Gas Shielding Optimization: Ensure proper gas shielding parameters, such as flow rate, composition, and distribution, to provide adequate protection of the weld pool from atmospheric contamination. Optimize gas shielding techniques, such as trailing shields or gas lenses, to minimize the risk of gas entrapment and porosity formation.
  2. Electrode Contamination Control: Maintain proper storage, handling, and cleaning of welding electrodes to prevent contamination by foreign materials or particles. Use dedicated storage containers and cleaning procedures to maintain electrode cleanliness and minimize the risk of gas release during welding.
  3. Weld Metal Cleanliness: Thoroughly clean the weld area and base metal surfaces before welding to remove any contaminants, such as oil, grease, or rust, that can contribute to porosity formation. Use proper cleaning methods, such as solvent cleaning or mechanical brushing, to ensure surface cleanliness and minimize the risk of gas entrapment.

Impact on Weld Quality:

Reduced Mechanical Properties:

Herringbone porosity weakens the weld joint, reducing its tensile strength, ductility, and fatigue resistance, leading to increased susceptibility to mechanical failure under loading or stress.

Gas Leak Potential:

Herringbone porosity creates potential pathways for gas leakage, particularly in pressure vessels or pipelines, leading to environmental hazards, product loss, and economic losses.

Weld Integrity:

Herringbone porosity compromises the integrity of the weld joint, increasing the risk of premature failure and necessitating costly repairs or replacements to ensure continued operation and safety.


Herringbone porosity in welding is a critical defect that requires meticulous attention to welding procedures, gas shielding, electrode handling, and weld metal cleanliness to prevent. Through thorough inspection and testing, including visual examination and non-destructive testing techniques, welders and inspectors can ensure the reliability, safety, and quality of welded components, such as pressure vessels, and mitigate the risk of these defects.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *