“It is estimated that more than 50% of global domestic and engineering products contain welded joints,” said Professor Hong Dong from the University of Leicester Department of Engineering. “Solidification/hot cracking is the most common failure mode during metal processing, such as welding, casting and metal additive manufacturing.”
The team used a synchrotron X-ray beamline at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) to observe the crack formation in real time. With modern advances in synchrotron X-ray and imaging techniques, the team was able to see through metals, providing detailed analysis of the alloy.
Weaknesses in welded parts can have many disastrous effects including putting lives at risk and harming the economy because of damages and insurance pay-outs for faulty products. They can also cause environmental catastrophes such as pollution if imperfectly welded parts are used in environmentally sensitive areas such as the ocean.