Welding Failures I Have Known, Interesting cautionary tales from Metals & Welding  expert, Dr Jesse A Grantham, PE
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The Case of the Welder and Poorly Ventilated Toxic Fumes

Welding Fume Mitigation

The Problem:

Welding fume litigation requires testimony to complex scientific issues concurrent with findings from specific medical maladies in neurology, toxicology and epidemiology.  Physical science, engineering assessments and medical diagnosis are expected to converge and form a legal consensus which does not always happen.  The testimony of experts must be complementary from engineers and the medical community for each case, date, process and workplace.  Accurate data about resultant personnel disorders and biological dysfunctions are often not easily exchanged between engineers and medical practitioners. Reports of findings can be biased, misleading and violate common sense.

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The Case of the Badly Welded High Pressure Hydraulic Cylinders

Hydraulic Cylinder & Failed WeldThe Problem:

The weld between the rod and end-cap of a high-pressure hydraulic cylinder installed on a concrete boom pumping assembly failed in-service. The weld was a Gas Metal Arc Weld (GMAW) installed at an overseas manufacturing facility. The steel for the rod and cap was a fine grained alloy steel Type StE690 (Yield Strength of 100 ksi). The rod and cap were attached to a piston which moved inside the cylinder housing. 

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The Case of the Aluminum Dump Trailer's Failed Repair Welds

Aluminum Rear Dump TrailerThe Problem:

Structural repairs fractured on aluminum dump trailer caused an immediate loss of revenue to the owner/operator.  After travelling less than 100 miles, the weld repairs, by a repair shop contractor, failed and the dump trailer collapsed unexpectedly, while loaded with sand.  The weld failures resulted in significant expenses and the owner was not able to receive reimbursement from weld repair shop.

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The Case of the Precast Panel Collapse

Figure 1.  Aerial Site View – Precast Building OpeningThe Problem:

The final, tilt-up, precast panel, weighed 40,000 lbs and collapsed unexpectedly during field erection.  The incident caused the death of 3 landscape workers at ground level, working outside the building.

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The Case of the One Million Gallon Welding Failure

One Million Gallon Water Storage TankThe Problem: 

Water inlet pipes and inlet collar plates contained defective welds that failed on the tank bottom. The tank was originally emptied for interior re-coating and minor improvements. Minor improvements to the tank included welding a pipe extension to each inlet pipe to modify the inlet flow and create silt-stops above the tank bottom. The weld failures occurred as the tank was re-filled with water after a cleanout. The water in the tank emptied rapidly through the openings and created voids under the tank. The failed welds on the inlet pipes were repaired a second time before refilling the tank.

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Welding Failures I Have Known, Interesting cautionary tales from Metals & Welding  expert, Dr Jesse A Grantham, PE