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In-process detection and non-destructive testing of electron beam weld imperfections

Project Code: 35258

Start date and planned duration: January 2023, 18 months


  • Identify and test suitable ultrasonic testing techniques for assessment of electron beam welds both at ambient and in-process conditions;
  • Establish impact of changes in welding conditions in-process on weld quality outcomes as determined by inspection according to governing standards;
  • Outline suitable acceptance criteria for weld quality based on standards with the possibility to build live online feedback between inspection and welding for the future generation of electron beam welding systems;
  • Demonstrate the capability over a selection of materials.

Project Outline

EB welded specimens will be generated by the Electron Beam (EB) Section with changes in in-process conditions within an agreed spectrum. The specimens will then be examined by a range of ultrasonic testing (UT) techniques that are operable on surfaces at both ambient and elevated temperatures. The inspection reports will aim to provide information in a form that will allow for the quality of the EB welds to be assessed according to BS EN ISO 13919-1 (Electron and laser-beam welded joints – Requirements and recommendations on quality levels for imperfections.). Based on this information correlation between welding parameters and product quality outcomes as determined by inspection and quality standards can be established. The outcomes of this proposed project will enable future generation of electron beam welding systems that can monitor the weld during fabrication and create a live online feedback between inspection and welding to maximise product quality. 

Industry Sectors

-    Nuclear power

-     Aerospace

-     Renewable


 Benefits to Industry

Reliable non-destructive identification of discontinuities due to out-of-process transients in electron beam (EB) welds is required during welding. It has been identified that an industrial need is present for the ability to correlate between detected flaws in metallographic specimens and in-process data. Recent advancements in ultrasonic testing (UT) technologies within TWI have already demonstrated capability to detect the type and size of defects common to EB welding. By applying these advancements to the inspection of EB welds, the industrial need can be met.  Furthermore, by conducting the inspection during the welding process, correlation can be made between detected flaws and in-process data. The UT technique will also be applicable to a wide range of metals, including titanium and zirconium alloys.

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