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8, 2018
Poor fusion and Lack of penetration - Cause and Countermeasure
(cited from H.P. of Japan Welding Society, 2004)

Poor fusion and lack of penetration are the results that a part which should be melted doesn’t melt,
and the fundamental cause is that the heat by weld arc is not sufficiently supplied. The factors that
obstructs the fusion are:
1) Lack of input heat
2) Precedence of fusion metal
3) Improper wire target position, improper weaving
4) Improper groove shape, improper multilayer method
5) Unstable arc
6) Poor bead shape of previous pass

The followings are details of cause and countermeasure.

(1) Welding work condition
Factors affecting the fusion are basic conditions such as electric current, arc voltage, travel speed, and
groove shape, electrode (welding rod, wire) angle, weaving method etc.
For the coated arc welding, electric current shall be increased and proper welding rod shall be selected
in the extent that melt drop doesn’t occur.
In the MAG or MIG welding, if the electric current is too low or arc voltage is too high, arc power
becomes weak and enough fusion into groove root point can’t be obtained. On the contrary, if arc
voltage is too low, bead shape becomes extreme convex, and lack of fusion often occurs because deep
gap occur between groove and weld toe and next pass cannot melt the previous bead. Therefore, arc
voltage shall be properly adjusted for the electric current.
When welding speed is too low in comparison with electric current, or when electric current is too
high in comparison with welding speed, the phenomenon of “precedence of fusion metal” occurs. If
this phenomenon occurs, digging effect by arc power is lost and that often cause lack of fusion and
lack of penetration. On the contrary, when welding speed is too high, heat input into base metal
becomes low and that causes a shallow fusion. As a welding speed has optimum range in terms of
fusion depth as shown in Fig.-1, arc shall be made at the end of molten pool.
Table-1 shows the countermeasures against lack of fusion and lack of penetration in the aspect of
welding conditions.

(2) Welding materials

One of the countermeasures is to select the welding materials with which melting depth become large.
For example, when solid wire is used for MAG/MIG welding in the vertical position, welding shall
be conducted with relatively low electric current. However, when a wire with flux is used, welding
with high electric current can be done and deep fusion can be obtained.

(3) Power supply for welding

Generally, power supply for welding with a type of constant wire feeding speed control/constant
voltage property is used for MAG/MIG welding. In these welding method, there is a characteristics
that welding current changes greatly according to the distance between chip and base metal. In the
actual welding joint, there are some cases in which the distance between chip and base metal cannot
be help being large because of the constraint of groove shape and small space, and that sometimes
causes decrease of electric current and lack of fusion/lack of penetration.
Power supply for welding which can keep the welding electric current almost constant even if the
distance between chip and base metal changes and secure the fusion depth is already used. Therefore,
countermeasure in the aspect of power supply might be effective for some joint shape and welding
Table-1 Countermeasure against Poor fusion and Lack of Penetration
Cause Countermeasure Defect
Poor Lack of
fusion penetration
Welding Precedence of molten pool -Electric current, voltage shall be
✓ ✓
condition adjusted
-Arc voltage shall be set a little
Lack of input heat Electric current shall be set a
✓ ✓
little high
Work -Improper wire target position and -Tow of weld, end of molten pool
✓ ✓
Condition torch angle shall be targeted
-Small fusion at toe of weld -Weaving is adopted, make
-gap of arc target due to wire curl fusion wide
-Keep wire sticking out length
properly (15-20 mm)
-Make torch proceeding angle
Bead shape -Previous bead shape is convex or -Make bead smooth by weaving

concave -Grinding extreme convex and
concave bead
Remaining slag of previous pass Remove slag of previous pass

Groove shape -Improper wire target position Make groove angle large
✓ ✓
Due to small groove angle
-Precedence of molten pool
-Spatter, Oxide file of scale etc. Grinding groove face

Small gap -Make groove large by gauging

-Make root face small
-Make root gap proper-
Others Unstable arc -Clean chip
✓ ✓
-Change chip frequently
Unstable feeding Maintenance and inspection of
✓ ✓
wire feeding system properly

Poor fusion Proper range Poor fusion

Penetration depth

low Welding speed high

Fig.-1 Relation between Welding speed and penetration

Japan Welding Society, 2004