Visual Welding Inspection

Visual Testing of Welds

Some of the areas of knowledge that are required to be dealt with as a Visual Weld Inspector:

  • A. Welding processes
  • B. Weld joint configuration
  • C. Weld defects (as applicable to various processes)
  • D. Weld procedures
  • E. Welder qualification records
  • F. Material certifications
  • G. Filler metal requirements
  • H. Material processing
  • I. Prints
  • J. Weld symbols
  • K. Mechanical test
  • L. Metallurgy
  • M. NDE
  • N. English and metric measurement practices
  • O. Codes and standards as applicable
  • P. Safety


Basic Definitions required for weld inspections.

  • A. Actual Throat: The shortest distance between the weld root and the face of a fillet weld.
  • B. Autogenous: Welds or welding complete without the use of filler material.
  • C. AWS: American Welding Society.
  • D. AWS D1.1: Structural Steel Welding Code provided by AWS.
  • E. CWI: AWS Certified Welding Inspector.
  • F. NDE, NDI, or NDT: The process of evaluating the suitability of a component for performance by a method that does not harm the component under examination. (NOTE: NDE is in most cases considered an indirect method of examination.)
  • G. Discontinuity: An interruption of the typical structure of a material, such as a lack of homogeneity in its mechanical, metallurgical, or physical characteristics. A discontinuity is not necessarily a defect..
  • H. Defect: An interruption in the normal configuration or condition of a material or article under examination that exceeds the applicable code or standard under which the examination is being performed. This term designates rejectability.
  • I. Interpretation: To give meaning to. The practice of determining the proper term to associate with an observed condition.
  • J. Evaluate: To determine worth. The practice of determining if an observed condition exceeds the applicable criteria for the given inspection.
  • K. Quantitative examination: Determined through measurement or reproducible, quantity. An example would be a measurement taken with micrometers or calipers.
  • L. Qualitative examination: Of quality. This examination may lead to results based on judgment or opinion and may not be based on a measurable quantity.
  • M. Indication: Any area where a suspect condition is observed on the surface of a
    component under examination. Indications may take various forms, and may be rounded, linear, jagged, smooth, continuous or broken. (Specific aspects of indications will be covered later).
  • N. Non-relevant Indication: This may be argued, but in my opinion, an indication due to the normal aspects of a component under evaluation. This could be geometry, threads, splines, press-fit plugs, surface roughness, and press fit assemblies. For this study guide, an indication caused by an acceptable discontinuity will just be considered an acceptable discontinuity, and not non-relevant, to eliminate confusion.
  • O. False Indication: An indication caused by incorrect processing, such as fingerprints, smudges, excessive contamination. False indications are those that are eliminated by correcting errors in processing.