What is Incomplete filled groove weld defect? how to determine

What is Incomplete filled groove weld defect? how to determine

Incomplete filled groove weld is a weld defect characterized by the failure to completely fill the groove between the base metals during the welding process. This defect typically occurs due to inadequate weld deposition, insufficient penetration, or improper welding technique, resulting in a weld bead that does not fully bond with the base metal surfaces. Incomplete filled groove welds can compromise the strength, integrity, and load-bearing capacity of the welded joint.

Example: Welding of Structural Steel Beams

Let’s consider the welding of structural steel beams for the construction of a bridge. Structural steel welds are crucial for maintaining the integrity and stability of the bridge structure.

Incomplete Filled Groove Weld Defect:

During the welding of structural steel beams, incomplete filled groove welds can occur if proper welding procedures are not followed or if there are issues with weld penetration, deposition rate, or joint fit-up. This defect manifests as a weld bead that fails to completely fill the groove between the base metals, leaving unfilled voids or gaps.

Determining Incomplete Filled Groove Weld Defect:

  1. Visual Inspection: Incomplete filled groove welds can often be visually identified by examining the surface of the weld bead and the groove between the base metals. Unfilled voids or gaps in the weld bead indicate the presence of this defect.
  2. Dimensional Measurement: Precise measurements can be taken to confirm the completeness of the weld bead and the degree of groove filling. Calipers or depth gauges can be used to measure the width and depth of the weld bead and compare it to the dimensions of the groove.

Radiographic Process:

In radiographic testing (RT) for incomplete filled groove weld detection:

  • X-rays or gamma rays are directed through the weld joint onto a film or digital detector.
  • Incomplete filled groove welds appear as irregular-shaped, dark indications within the weld metal in radiographic images, indicating areas of incomplete fusion or penetration.

Prevention Strategies:

  1. Proper Welding Technique: Employ proper welding techniques, including maintaining the correct arc length, travel speed, and electrode angle, to ensure adequate weld penetration and deposition.
  2. Joint Fit-Up: Ensure proper fit-up and alignment of the base metals before welding to facilitate complete groove filling. Proper joint preparation, including beveling and edge preparation, can help promote full penetration and fusion.
  3. Welding Parameters: Control welding parameters, such as voltage, current, and wire feed speed, to achieve proper penetration, fusion, and deposition rate. Optimize welding parameters based on material thickness, joint geometry, and welding position.

Impact on Weld Quality:

Reduced Strength:

Incomplete filled groove welds weaken the weld joint, reducing its load-bearing capacity and increasing the risk of sudden failure under mechanical loads or stress.

Susceptibility to Cracking:

Welds with incomplete filled groove defects are more prone to cracking, particularly at the areas of incomplete fusion or penetration, where stress concentrations are highest, further compromising weld quality and structural integrity.

Corrosion Potential:

Incomplete filled groove welds create potential pathways for the ingress of moisture, contaminants, or corrosive substances, leading to increased susceptibility to corrosion and reduced service life of the welded component.


Incomplete filled groove weld defects are critical issues that require careful attention to welding procedures, joint fit-up, and welding parameters to prevent. Through thorough inspection and testing, including visual examination and radiographic testing, welders and inspectors can ensure the reliability, safety, and quality of welded structures, such as structural steel beams for bridges, and mitigate the risk of these defects.

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