What is wormholes weld defect? how to determine and prevent it?

What is wormholes weld defect? how to determine and prevent it?

Wormholes in welding refer to a defect where small cavities or voids are present within the weld metal. These cavities typically appear as interconnected channels or tunnels running through the weld, resembling the shape of a wormhole. Wormholes can occur due to various factors such as improper shielding gas coverage, electrode contamination, or inadequate welding technique. This defect can compromise the structural integrity and mechanical properties of the weld joint, leading to issues such as reduced strength, increased susceptibility to cracking, and decreased resistance to corrosion.

Example: Welding of Automotive Components

Let’s consider the welding of automotive components, such as chassis frames or suspension components, in an automobile manufacturing plant. Welded joints in automotive components are crucial for ensuring the structural integrity and safety of the vehicle.

Wormholes Weld Defect:

During the welding of automotive components, wormholes can occur if proper welding procedures are not followed or if there are issues with gas shielding, electrode quality, or weld contamination. This defect manifests as interconnected channels or tunnels within the weld metal.

Determining Wormholes Weld Defect:

  1. Visual Inspection: Wormholes can often be visually identified by examining the surface of the weld bead. If there are small cavities or voids present within the weld metal, it may indicate this defect.
  2. Radiographic Testing (RT): Radiographic images of the weld joint can provide detailed insight into the internal structure of the weld. Wormholes appear as dark, irregular-shaped indications within the weld metal in radiographic images.

Radiographic Process:

In the radiographic process for determining wormholes defects:

  • X-rays or gamma rays are directed through the weld joint onto a film or digital detector.
  • The resulting radiographic image shows the internal structure of the weld. Wormholes appear as dark, irregular-shaped indications within the weld metal in the radiographic image.

Prevention Strategies:

  1. Proper Gas Shielding: Ensure proper shielding gas coverage during welding to minimize the risk of gas entrapment and porosity formation. Maintain adequate gas flow rates and use appropriate gas mixtures to protect the weld pool from atmospheric contamination.
  2. Electrode Handling and Storage: Handle and store welding electrodes properly to prevent contamination and moisture absorption, which can contribute to gas entrapment and wormhole formation during welding.
  3. Welding Technique: Train welders on proper welding techniques, including travel speed, arc length, and electrode angle, to minimize the risk of gas entrapment and wormhole formation.

Impact on Weld Quality:

Reduced Strength:

Wormholes significantly weaken the weld joint, reducing its load-bearing capacity and increasing the risk of failure under mechanical loads or stress.

Susceptibility to Cracking:

Welds with wormholes defects are more prone to cracking, particularly at the areas of high defect concentration, where stress concentrations are highest, further compromising weld quality and structural integrity.

Corrosion Potential:

Wormholes create potential pathways for the ingress of moisture, contaminants, or corrosive substances, leading to increased susceptibility to corrosion and reduced service life of the automotive component.


Wormholes defects are weld defects that require careful attention to welding procedures, gas shielding, electrode handling, and welding technique to prevent. Through thorough inspection and testing, including radiographic examination, welders and inspectors can ensure the reliability, safety, and quality of welded structures, such as automotive components, and mitigate the risk of these defects.

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