Pengelasan

  1. Oct
    9

    Shielded metal arc welding

    Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), also known as manual metal arc (MMA) welding, flux shielded arc welding or informally as stick welding, is a manual arc welding process that uses a consumable electrode coated in flux to lay the weld. An electric current, in the form of either alternating current or direct current from a welding power supply, is used to form an electric arc between the electrode and the metals to be joined. As the weld is laid, the flux coating of the electrode disintegrates, giving off vapors that serve as a shielding gas and providing a layer of slag, both of which protect the weld area from atmospheric contamination.
    Because of the versatility of the process and the simplicity of its equipment and operation, shielded metal arc welding is one of the world’s most popular welding processes. It dominates other welding processes in the maintenance and repair industry, and though flux-cored arc welding is growing in popularity, SMAW continues to be used extensively in the construction of steel structures and in industrial fabrication. The process is used primarily to weld iron and steels (including stainless steel) but aluminium, nickel and copper alloys can also be welded with this method.

    Development

    After the discovery of the electric arc in 1800 by Humphry Davy there was little development in electrical welding until Auguste de Méritens developed a carbon arc torch, patented in 1881. Nikolay Benardos developed carbon arc welding, obtaining patents from 1887 showing a rudimentary electrode holder. In 1888 consumable metal electrode was invented by Nikolay Slavyanov. Later in 1890 C. L. Coffin received U.S. Patent 428,459 for his arc welding method that utilized a metal electrode. The process, like SMAW, deposited melted electrode metal into the weld as filler.
    Around 1900 A. P. Strohmenger and Oscar Kjellberg released the first coated electrodes. Strohmenger used Clay and lime coating to stabilize the arc, while Kjellberg dipped iron wire into mixtures of carbonates and silicates to coat the electrode. In 1912 Strohmenger released a heavily coated electrode but high cost and complex production methods prevented these early electrodes from gaining popularity. In 1927 the development of an extrusion process reduced the cost of coating electrodes while allowing manufacturers to produce more complex coating mixtures designed for specific applications. In the 1950s manufacturers introduced iron powder into the flux coating, making it possible to increase the welding speed.
    In 1938 K. K. Madsen described an automated variation of SMAW, now known as gravity welding. It briefly gained popularity in the 1960s after receiving publicity for its use in Japanese shipyards though today its applications are limited. Another little used variation of the process, known as firecracker welding, was developed around the same time by George Hafergut in Austria.

    Operation

    SMAW weld area

    To strike the electric arc, the electrode is brought into contact with the workpiece by a very light touch with the electrode to the base metal then is pulled back slightly. This initiates the arc and thus the melting of the workpiece and the consumable electrode, and causes droplets of the electrode to be passed from the electrode to the weld pool. As the electrode melts, the flux covering disintegrates, giving off shielding gases that protect the weld area from oxygen and other atmospheric gases. In addition, the flux provides molten slag which covers the filler metal as it travels from the electrode to the weld pool. Once part of the weld pool, the slag floats to the surface and protects the weld from contamination as it solidifies. Once hardened, it must be chipped away to reveal the finished weld. As welding progresses and the electrode melts, the welder must periodically stop welding to remove the remaining electrode stub and insert a new electrode into the electrode holder. This activity, combined with chipping away the slag, reduces the amount of time that the welder can spend laying the weld, making SMAW one of the least efficient welding processes. In general, the operator factor, or the percentage of operator’s time spent laying weld, is approximately 25%.
    The actual welding technique utilized depends on the electrode, the composition of the workpiece, and the position of the joint being welded. The choice of electrode and welding position also determine the welding speed. Flat welds require the least operator skill, and can be done with electrodes that melt quickly but solidify slowly. This permits higher welding speeds. Sloped, vertical or upside-down welding requires more operator skill, and often necessitates the use of an electrode that solidifies quickly to prevent the molten metal from flowing out of the weld pool. However, this generally means that the electrode melts less quickly, thus increasing the time required to lay the weld.

    Quality

    The most common quality problems associated with SMAW include weld spatter, porosity, poor fusion, shallow penetration, and cracking. Weld spatter, while not affecting the integrity of the weld, damages its appearance and increases cleaning costs. It can be caused by excessively high current, a long arc, or arc blow, a condition associated with direct current characterized by the electric arc being deflected away from the weld pool by magnetic forces. Arc blow can also cause porosity in the weld, as can joint contamination, high welding speed, and a long welding arc, especially when low-hydrogen electrodes are used. Porosity, often not visible without the use of advanced nondestructive testing methods, is a serious concern because it can potentially weaken the weld. Another defect affecting the strength of the weld is poor fusion, though it is often easily visible. It is caused by low current, contaminated joint surfaces, or the use of an improper electrode. Shallow penetration, another detriment to weld strength, can be addressed by decreasing welding speed, increasing the current or using a smaller electrode. Any of these weld-strength-related defects can make the weld prone to cracking, but other factors are involved as well. High carbon, alloy or sulfur content in the base material can lead to cracking, especially if low-hydrogen electrodes and preheating are not employed. Furthermore, the workpieces should not be excessively restrained, as this introduces residual stresses into the weld and can cause cracking as the weld cools and contracts.

    Safety

    SMAW welding, like other welding methods, can be a dangerous and unhealthy practice if proper precautions are not taken. The process uses an open electric arc, which presents a risk of burns which are prevented by personal protective equipment in the form of heavy leather gloves and long sleeve jackets. Additionally, the brightness of the weld area can lead to a condition called arc eye, in which ultraviolet light causes inflammation of the cornea and can burn the retinas of the eyes. Welding helmets with dark face plates are worn to prevent this exposure, and in recent years, new helmet models have been produced that feature a face plate that self-darkens upon exposure to high amounts of UV light. To protect bystanders, especially in industrial environments, translucent welding curtains often surround the welding area. These curtains, made of a polyvinyl chloride plastic film, shield nearby workers from exposure to the UV light from the electric arc, but should not be used to replace the filter glass used in helmets.
    In addition, the vaporizing metal and flux materials expose welders to dangerous gases and particulate matter. The smoke produced contains particles of various types of oxides. The size of the particles in question tends to influence the toxicity of the fumes, with smaller particles presenting a greater danger. Additionally, gases like carbon dioxide and ozone can form, which can prove dangerous if ventilation is inadequate. Some of the latest welding masks are fitted with an electric powered fan to help disperse harmful fumes.

    Application and materials

    Shielded metal arc welding is one of the world’s most popular welding processes, accounting for over half of all welding in some countries. Because of its versatility and simplicity, it is particularly dominant in the maintenance and repair industry, and is heavily used in the construction of steel structures and in industrial fabrication. In recent years its use has declined as flux-cored arc welding has expanded in the construction industry and gas metal arc welding has become more popular in industrial environments. However, because of the low equipment cost and wide applicability, the process will likely remain popular, especially among amateurs and small businesses where specialized welding processes are uneconomical and unnecessary.
    SMAW is often used to weld carbon steel, low and high alloy steel, stainless steel, cast iron, and ductile iron. While less popular for nonferrous materials, it can be used on nickel and copper and their alloys and, in rare cases, on aluminium. The thickness of the material being welded is bounded on the low end primarily by the skill of the welder, but rarely does it drop below 0.05 in (1.5 mm). No upper bound exists: with proper joint preparation and use of multiple passes, materials of virtually unlimited thicknesses can be joined. Furthermore, depending on the electrode used and the skill of the welder, SMAW can be used in any position.

    Equipment

    SMAW system setup

    Shielded metal arc welding equipment typically consists of a constant current welding power supply and an electrode, with an electrode holder, a ground clamp, and welding cables (also known as welding leads) connecting the two.

    Power supply

    The power supply used in SMAW has constant current output, ensuring that the current (and thus the heat) remains relatively constant, even if the arc distance and voltage change. This is important because most applications of SMAW are manual, requiring that an operator hold the torch. Maintaining a suitably steady arc distance is difficult if a constant voltage power source is used instead, since it can cause dramatic heat variations and make welding more difficult. However, because the current is not maintained absolutely constant, skilled welders performing complicated welds can vary the arc length to cause minor fluctuations in the current.

    A high output welding power supply for Stick, GTAW, MIG, Flux-Cored, & Gouging

    The preferred polarity of the SMAW system depends primarily upon the electrode being used and the desired properties of the weld. Direct current with a negatively charged electrode (DCEN) causes heat to build up on the electrode, increasing the electrode melting rate and decreasing the depth of the weld. Reversing the polarity so that the electrode is positively charged (DCEP) and the workpiece is negatively charged increases the weld penetration. With alternating current the polarity changes over 100 times per second, creating an even heat distribution and providing a balance between electrode melting rate and penetration.
    Typically, the equipment used for SMAW consists of a step-down transformer and for direct current models a rectifier, which converts alternating current into direct current. Because the power normally supplied to the welding machine is high-voltage alternating current, the welding transformer is used to reduce the voltage and increase the current. As a result, instead of 220 V at 50 A, for example, the power supplied by the transformer is around 17–45 V at currents up to 600 A. A number of different types of transformers can be used to produce this effect, including multiple coil and inverter machines, with each using a different method to manipulate the welding current. The multiple coil type adjusts the current by either varying the number of turns in the coil (in tap-type transformers) or by varying the distance between the primary and secondary coils (in movable coil or movable core transformers). Inverters, which are smaller and thus more portable, use electronic components to change the current characteristics.
    Electrical generators and alternators are frequently used as portable welding power supplies, but because of lower efficiency and greater costs, they are less frequently used in industry. Maintenance also tends to be more difficult, because of the complexities of using a combustion engine as a power source. However, in one sense they are simpler: the use of a separate rectifier is unnecessary because they can provide either AC or DC. However, the engine driven units are most practical in field work where the welding often must be done out of doors and in locations where transformer type welders are not usable because there is no power source available to be transformed.
    In some units the alternator is essentially the same as that used in portable generating sets used to supply mains power, modified to produce a higher current at a lower voltage but still at the 50 or 60 Hz grid frequency. In higher-quality units an alternator with more poles is used and supplies current at a higher frequency, such as 400 Hz. The smaller amount of time the high-frequency waveform spends near zero makes it much easier to strike and maintain a stable arc than with the cheaper grid-frequency sets or grid-frequency mains-powered units.

    Electrode

    Various accessories for SMAW

    The choice of electrode for SMAW depends on a number of factors, including the weld material, welding position and the desired weld properties. The electrode is coated in a metal mixture called flux, which gives off gases as it decomposes to prevent weld contamination, introduces deoxidizers to purify the weld, causes weld-protecting slag to form, improves the arc stability, and provides alloying elements to improve the weld quality. Electrodes can be divided into three groups—those designed to melt quickly are called “fast-fill” electrodes, those designed to solidify quickly are called “fast-freeze” electrodes, and intermediate electrodes go by the name “fill-freeze” or “fast-follow” electrodes. Fast-fill electrodes are designed to melt quickly so that the welding speed can be maximized, while fast-freeze electrodes supply filler metal that solidifies quickly, making welding in a variety of positions possible by preventing the weld pool from shifting significantly before solidifying.
    The composition of the electrode core is generally similar and sometimes identical to that of the base material. But even though a number of feasible options exist, a slight difference in alloy composition can strongly impact the properties of the resulting weld. This is especially true of alloy steels such as HSLA steels. Likewise, electrodes of compositions similar to those of the base materials are often used for welding nonferrous materials like aluminium and copper. However, sometimes it is desirable to use electrodes with core materials significantly different from the base material. For example, stainless steel electrodes are sometimes used to weld two pieces of carbon steel, and are often utilized to weld stainless steel workpieces with carbon steel workpieces.
    Electrode coatings can consist of a number of different compounds, including rutile, calcium fluoride, cellulose, and iron powder. Rutile electrodes, coated with 25%–45% TiO2, are characterized by ease of use and good appearance of the resulting weld. However, they create welds with high hydrogen content, encouraging embrittlement and cracking. Electrodes containing calcium fluoride (CaF2), sometimes known as basic or low-hydrogen electrodes, are hygroscopic and must be stored in dry conditions. They produce strong welds, but with a coarse and convex-shaped joint surface. Electrodes coated with cellulose, especially when combined with rutile, provide deep weld penetration, but because of their high moisture content, special procedures must be used to prevent excessive risk of cracking. Finally, iron powder is a common coating additive, as it improves the productivity of the electrode, sometimes as much as doubling the yield.
    To identify different electrodes, the American Welding Society established a system that assigns electrodes with a four- or five-digit number. Covered electrodes made of mild or low alloy steel carry the prefix E, followed by their number. The first two or three digits of the number specify the tensile strength of the weld metal, in thousand pounds per square inch (ksi). The penultimate digit generally identifies the welding positions permissible with the electrode, typically using the values 1 (normally fast-freeze electrodes, implying all position welding) and 2 (normally fast-fill electrodes, implying horizontal welding only). The welding current and type of electrode covering are specified by the last two digits together. When applicable, a suffix is used to denote the alloying element being contributed by the electrode.
    Common electrodes include the E6010, a fast-freeze, all-position electrode with a minimum tensile strength of 60 ksi (410 MPa) which is operated using DCEP. Its cousin E6011 is similar except that it is used with alternating current. E7024 is a fast-fill electrode, used primarily to make flat or horizontal welds using AC, DCEN, or DCEP. Examples of fill-freeze electrodes are the E6012, E6013, and E7014, all of which provide a compromise between fast welding speeds and all-position welding.

    Process variations

    Though SMAW is almost exclusively a manual arc welding process, one notable process variation exists, known as gravity welding or gravity arc welding. It serves as an automated version of the traditional shielded metal arc welding process, employing an electrode holder attached to an inclined bar along the length of the weld. Once started, the process continues until the electrode is spent, allowing the operator to manage multiple gravity welding systems. The electrodes employed (often E6027 or E7024) are coated heavily in flux, and are typically 28 in (0.8 m) in length and about 0.25 in (6 mm) thick. As in manual SMAW, a constant current welding power supply is used, with either negative polarity direct current or alternating current. Due to a rise in the use of semiautomatic welding processes such as flux-cored arc welding, the popularity of gravity welding has fallen as its economic advantage over such methods is often minimal. Other SMAW-related methods that are even less frequently used include firecracker welding, an automatic method for making butt and fillet welds, and massive electrode welding, a process for welding large components or structures that can deposit up to 60 lb (27 kg) of weld metal per hour.

  2. Oct
    5

    Gas tungsten arc welding

    TIG welding of a bronze sculpture

    Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), also known as tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, is an arc welding process that uses a nonconsumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The weld area is protected from atmospheric contamination by a shielding gas (usually an inert gas such as argon), and a filler metal is normally used, though some welds, known as autogenous welds, do not require it. A constant-current welding power supply produces energy which is conducted across the arc through a column of highly ionized gas and metal vapors known as a plasma.
    GTAW is most commonly used to weld thin sections of stainless steel and non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, magnesium, and copper alloys. The process grants the operator greater control over the weld than competing processes such as shielded metal arc welding and gas metal arc welding, allowing for stronger, higher quality welds. However, GTAW is comparatively more complex and difficult to master, and furthermore, it is significantly slower than most other welding techniques. A related process, plasma arc welding, uses a slightly different welding torch to create a more focused welding arc and as a result is often automated.

    Development

    After the discovery of the electric arc in 1800 by Humphry Davy, arc welding developed slowly. C. L. Coffin had the idea of welding in an inert gas atmosphere in 1890, but even in the early 20th century, welding non-ferrous materials like aluminum and magnesium remained difficult, because these metals reacted rapidly with the air, resulting in porous and dross-filled welds. Processes using flux-covered electrodes did not satisfactorily protect the weld area from contamination. To solve the problem, bottled inert gases were used in the beginning of the 1930s. A few years later, a direct current, gas-shielded welding process emerged in the aircraft industry for welding magnesium.
    This process was perfected in 1941, and became known as heliarc or tungsten inert gas welding, because it utilized a tungsten electrode and helium as a shielding gas. Initially, the electrode overheated quickly, and in spite of tungsten’s high melting temperature, particles of tungsten were transferred to the weld. To address this problem, the polarity of the electrode was changed from positive to negative, but this made it unsuitable for welding many non-ferrous materials. Finally, the development of alternating current units made it possible to stabilize the arc and produce high quality aluminum and magnesium welds.
    Developments continued during the following decades. Linde Air Products developed water-cooled torches that helped to prevent overheating when welding with high currents. Additionally, during the 1950s, as the process continued to gain popularity, some users turned to carbon dioxide as an alternative to the more expensive welding atmospheres consisting of argon and helium. However, this proved unacceptable for welding aluminum and magnesium because it reduced weld quality, and as a result, it is rarely used with GTAW today.
    In 1953, a new process based on GTAW was developed, called plasma arc welding. It affords greater control and improves weld quality by using a nozzle to focus the electric arc, but is largely limited to automated systems, whereas GTAW remains primarily a manual, hand-held method. Development within the GTAW process has continued as well, and today a number of variations exist. Among the most popular are the pulsed-current, manual programmed, hot-wire, dabber, and increased penetration GTAW methods.

    Operation

    GTAW weld area

    Manual gas tungsten arc welding is often considered the most difficult of all the welding processes commonly used in industry. Because the welder must maintain a short arc length, great care and skill are required to prevent contact between the electrode and the workpiece. Similar to torch welding, GTAW normally requires two hands, since most applications require that the welder manually feed a filler metal into the weld area with one hand while manipulating the welding torch in the other. However, some welds combining thin materials (known as autogenous or fusion welds) can be accomplished without filler metal; most notably edge, corner, and butt joints.
    To strike the welding arc, a high frequency generator (similar to a Tesla coil) provides an electric spark; this spark is a conductive path for the welding current through the shielding gas and allows the arc to be initiated while the electrode and the workpiece are separated, typically about 1.5–3 mm (0.06–0.12 in) apart. This high voltage, high frequency burst can be damaging to some vehicle electrical systems and electronics, because induced voltages on vehicle wiring can also cause small conductive sparks in the vehicle wiring or within semiconductor packaging. Vehicle 12V power may conduct across these ionized paths, driven by the high-current 12V vehicle battery. These currents can be sufficiently destructive as to disable the vehicle; thus the warning to disconnect the vehicle battery power from both +12 and ground before using welding equipment on vehicles.
    An alternate way to initiate the arc is the “scratch start”. Scratching the electrode against the work with the power on also serves to strike an arc, in the same way as SMAW (“stick”) arc welding. However, scratch starting can cause contamination of the weld and electrode. Some GTAW equipment is capable of a mode called “touch start” or “lift arc”; here the equipment reduces the voltage on the electrode to only a few volts, with a current limit of one or two amps (well below the limit that causes metal to transfer and contamination of the weld or electrode). When the GTAW equipment detects that the electrode has left the surface and a spark is present, it immediately (within microseconds) increases power, converting the spark to a full arc.
    Once the arc is struck, the welder moves the torch in a small circle to create a welding pool, the size of which depends on the size of the electrode and the amount of current. While maintaining a constant separation between the electrode and the workpiece, the operator then moves the torch back slightly and tilts it backward about 10–15 degrees from vertical. Filler metal is added manually to the front end of the weld pool as it is needed.
    Welders often develop a technique of rapidly alternating between moving the torch forward (to advance the weld pool) and adding filler metal. The filler rod is withdrawn from the weld pool each time the electrode advances, but it is never removed from the gas shield to prevent oxidation of its surface and contamination of the weld. Filler rods composed of metals with low melting temperature, such as aluminum, require that the operator maintain some distance from the arc while staying inside the gas shield. If held too close to the arc, the filler rod can melt before it makes contact with the weld puddle. As the weld nears completion, the arc current is often gradually reduced to allow the weld crater to solidify and prevent the formation of crater cracks at the end of the weld.

    Safety

    Like other arc welding processes, GTAW can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. Welders wear protective clothing, including heavy leather gloves and protective long sleeve jackets, to avoid exposure to extreme heat and flames. Due to the absence of smoke in GTAW, the electric arc can seem brighter than in shielded metal arc welding, making operators especially susceptible to arc eye and skin irritations not unlike sunburn. Helmets with dark face plates are worn to prevent this exposure to ultraviolet light, and in recent years, new helmets often feature a liquid crystal-type face plate that self-darkens upon exposure to high amounts of UV light. Transparent welding curtains, made of a polyvinyl chloride plastic film, are often used to shield nearby workers and bystanders from exposure to the UV light from the electric arc.
    Welders are also often exposed to dangerous gases and particulate matter. While smoke is not produced, the brightness of the arc in GTAW can cause surrounding air to break down and form ozone. Similarly, the brightness and heat can cause poisonous fumes to form from cleaning and degreasing materials. Cleaning operations using these agents should not be performed near the site of welding, and proper ventilation is necessary to protect the welder.

    Applications

    While the aerospace industry is one of the primary users of gas tungsten arc welding, the process is used in a number of other areas. Many industries use GTAW for welding thin workpieces, especially nonferrous metals. It is used extensively in the manufacture of space vehicles, and is also frequently employed to weld small-diameter, thin-wall tubing such as those used in the bicycle industry. In addition, GTAW is often used to make root or first pass welds for piping of various sizes. In maintenance and repair work, the process is commonly used to repair tools and dies, especially components made of aluminum and magnesium. Because the weld metal is not transferred directly across the electric arc like most open arc welding processes, a vast assortment of welding filler metal is available to the welding engineer. In fact, no other welding process permits the welding of so many alloys in so many product configurations. Filler metal alloys, such as elemental aluminum and chromium, can be lost through the electric arc from volatilization. This loss does not occur with the GTAW process. Because the resulting welds have the same chemical integrity as the original base metal or match the base metals more closely, GTAW welds are highly resistant to corrosion and cracking over long time periods, GTAW is the welding procedure of choice for critical welding operations like sealing spent nuclear fuel canisters before burial.

    Quality

    GTAW fillet weld

    Gas tungsten arc welding, because it affords greater control over the weld area than other welding processes, can produce high-quality welds when performed by skilled operators. Maximum weld quality is assured by maintaining cleanliness—all equipment and materials used must be free from oil, moisture, dirt and other impurities, as these cause weld porosity and consequently a decrease in weld strength and quality. To remove oil and grease, alcohol or similar commercial solvents may be used, while a stainless steel wire brush or chemical process can remove oxides from the surfaces of metals like aluminum. Rust on steels can be removed by first grit blasting the surface and then using a wire brush to remove any embedded grit. These steps are especially important when negative polarity direct current is used, because such a power supply provides no cleaning during the welding process, unlike positive polarity direct current or alternating current. To maintain a clean weld pool during welding, the shielding gas flow should be sufficient and consistent so that the gas covers the weld and blocks impurities in the atmosphere. GTAW in windy or drafty environments increases the amount of shielding gas necessary to protect the weld, increasing the cost and making the process unpopular outdoors.
    The level of heat input also affects weld quality. Low heat input, caused by low welding current or high welding speed, can limit penetration and cause the weld bead to lift away from the surface being welded. If there is too much heat input, however, the weld bead grows in width while the likelihood of excessive penetration and spatter increase. Additionally, if the welding torch is too far from the workpiece the shielding gas becomes ineffective causing porosity within the weld. This results in a weld with pinholes, which is weaker than a typical weld.
    If the amount of current used exceeds the capability of the electrode, tungsten inclusions in the weld may result. Known as tungsten spitting, it can be identified with radiography and prevented by changing the type of electrode or increasing the electrode diameter. In addition, if the electrode is not well protected by the gas shield or the operator accidentally allows it to contact the molten metal, it can become dirty or contaminated. This often causes the welding arc to become unstable, requiring that electrode be ground with a diamond abrasive to remove the impurity.

    Equipment

    GTAW torch with various electrodes, cups, collets and gas diffusers

    GTAW torch, disassembled

    The equipment required for the gas tungsten arc welding operation includes a welding torch utilizing a nonconsumable tungsten electrode, a constant-current welding power supply, and a shielding gas source.

    Welding torch

    GTAW welding torches are designed for either automatic or manual operation and are equipped with cooling systems using air or water. The automatic and manual torches are similar in construction, but the manual torch has a handle while the automatic torch normally comes with a mounting rack. The angle between the centerline of the handle and the centerline of the tungsten electrode, known as the head angle, can be varied on some manual torches according to the preference of the operator. Air cooling systems are most often used for low-current operations (up to about 200 A), while water cooling is required for high-current welding (up to about 600 A). The torches are connected with cables to the power supply and with hoses to the shielding gas source and where used, the water supply.
    The internal metal parts of a torch are made of hard alloys of copper or brass in order to transmit current and heat effectively. The tungsten electrode must be held firmly in the center of the torch with an appropriately sized collet, and ports around the electrode provide a constant flow of shielding gas. Collets are sized according to the diameter of the tungsten electrode they hold. The body of the torch is made of heat-resistant, insulating plastics covering the metal components, providing insulation from heat and electricity to protect the welder.
    The size of the welding torch nozzle depends on the amount of shielded area desired. The size of the gas nozzle will depend upon the diameter of the electrode, the joint configuration, and the availability of access to the joint by the welder. The inside diameter of the nozzle is preferably at least three times the diameter of the electrode, but there are no hard rules. The welder will judge the effectiveness of the shielding and increase the nozzle size to increase the area protected by the external gas shield as needed. The nozzle must be heat resistant and thus is normally made of alumina or a ceramic material, but fused quartz, a glass-like substance, offers greater visibility. Devices can be inserted into the nozzle for special applications, such as gas lenses or valves to improve the control shielding gas flow to reduce turbulence and introduction of contaminated atmosphere into the shielded area. Hand switches to control welding current can be added to the manual GTAW torches.

    Power supply

    Gas tungsten arc welding uses a constant current power source, meaning that the current (and thus the heat) remains relatively constant, even if the arc distance and voltage change. This is important because most applications of GTAW are manual or semiautomatic, requiring that an operator hold the torch. Maintaining a suitably steady arc distance is difficult if a constant voltage power source is used instead, since it can cause dramatic heat variations and make welding more difficult.

    GTAW power supply

    The preferred polarity of the GTAW system depends largely on the type of metal being welded. Direct current with a negatively charged electrode (DCEN) is often employed when welding steels, nickel, titanium, and other metals. It can also be used in automatic GTAW of aluminum or magnesium when helium is used as a shielding gas. The negatively charged electrode generates heat by emitting electrons which travel across the arc, causing thermal ionization of the shielding gas and increasing the temperature of the base material. The ionized shielding gas flows toward the electrode, not the base material, and this can allow oxides to build on the surface of the weld. Direct current with a positively charged electrode (DCEP) is less common, and is used primarily for shallow welds since less heat is generated in the base material. Instead of flowing from the electrode to the base material, as in DCEN, electrons go the other direction, causing the electrode to reach very high temperatures. To help it maintain its shape and prevent softening, a larger electrode is often used. As the electrons flow toward the electrode, ionized shielding gas flows back toward the base material, cleaning the weld by removing oxides and other impurities and thereby improving its quality and appearance.
    Alternating current, commonly used when welding aluminum and magnesium manually or semi-automatically, combines the two direct currents by making the electrode and base material alternate between positive and negative charge. This causes the electron flow to switch directions constantly, preventing the tungsten electrode from overheating while maintaining the heat in the base material. Surface oxides are still removed during the electrode-positive portion of the cycle and the base metal is heated more deeply during the electrode-negative portion of the cycle. Some power supplies enable operators to use an unbalanced alternating current wave by modifying the exact percentage of time that the current spends in each state of polarity, giving them more control over the amount of heat and cleaning action supplied by the power source. In addition, operators must be wary of rectification, in which the arc fails to reignite as it passes from straight polarity (negative electrode) to reverse polarity (positive electrode). To remedy the problem, a square wave power supply can be used, as can high-frequency voltage to encourage ignition.

    Electrode

    ISO
    Class
    ISO
    Color
    AWS
    Class
    AWS
    Color
    Alloy
    WP Green EWP Green None
    WC20 Gray EWCe-2 Orange ~2% CeO2
    WL10 Black EWLa-1 Black ~1% La2O3
    WL15 Gold EWLa-1.5 Gold ~1.5% La2O3
    WL20 Sky-blue EWLa-2 Blue ~2% La2O3
    WT10 Yellow EWTh-1 Yellow ~1% ThO2
    WT20 Red EWTh-2 Red ~2% ThO2
    WT30 Violet ~3% ThO2
    WT40 Orange ~4% ThO2
    WY20 Blue ~2% Y2O3
    WZ3 Brown EWZr-1 Brown ~0.3% ZrO2
    WZ8 White ~0.8% ZrO2

    The electrode used in GTAW is made of tungsten or a tungsten alloy, because tungsten has the highest melting temperature among pure metals, at 3,422 °C (6,192 °F). As a result, the electrode is not consumed during welding, though some erosion (called burn-off) can occur. Electrodes can have either a clean finish or a ground finish—clean finish electrodes have been chemically cleaned, while ground finish electrodes have been ground to a uniform size and have a polished surface, making them optimal for heat conduction. The diameter of the electrode can vary between 0.5 and 6.4 millimetres (0.02 and 0.25 in), and their length can range from 75 to 610 millimetres (3.0 to 24 in).
    A number of tungsten alloys have been standardized by the International Organization for Standardization and the American Welding Society in ISO 6848 and AWS A5.12, respectively, for use in GTAW electrodes, and are summarized in the adjacent table.

    • Pure tungsten electrodes (classified as WP or EWP) are general purpose and low cost electrodes. They have poor heat resistance and electron emission. They find limited use in AC welding of e.g. magnesium and aluminium.
    • Cerium oxide (or ceria) as an alloying element improves arc stability and ease of starting while decreasing burn-off. Cerium addition is not as effective as thorium but works well, and cerium is not radioactive.
    • Using an alloy of lanthanum oxide (or lanthana) has a similar effect. Addition of 1% lanthanum has the same effect as 2% of cerium.
    • Thorium oxide (or thoria) alloy electrodes were designed for DC applications and can withstand somewhat higher temperatures while providing many of the benefits of other alloys. However, it is somewhat radioactive. Inhalation of the thorium grinding dust during preparation of the electrode is hazardous to one’s health. As a replacement to thoriated electrodes, electrodes with larger concentrations of lanthanum oxide can be used. Larger additions than 0.6% do not have additional improving effect on arc starting, but they help with electron emission. Higher percentage of thorium also makes tungsten more resistant to contamination.
    • Electrodes containing zirconium oxide (or zirconia) increase the current capacity while improving arc stability and starting and increasing electrode life. Zirconium-tungsten electrodes melt easier than thorium-tungsten.
    • In addition, electrode manufacturers may create alternative tungsten alloys with specified metal additions, and these are designated with the classification EWG under the AWS system.

    Filler metals are also used in nearly all applications of GTAW, the major exception being the welding of thin materials. Filler metals are available with different diameters and are made of a variety of materials. In most cases, the filler metal in the form of a rod is added to the weld pool manually, but some applications call for an automatically fed filler metal, which often is stored on spools or coils.

    Shielding gas

    GTAW system setup

    As with other welding processes such as gas metal arc welding, shielding gases are necessary in GTAW to protect the welding area from atmospheric gases such as nitrogen and oxygen, which can cause fusion defects, porosity, and weld metal embrittlement if they come in contact with the electrode, the arc, or the welding metal. The gas also transfers heat from the tungsten electrode to the metal, and it helps start and maintain a stable arc.
    The selection of a shielding gas depends on several factors, including the type of material being welded, joint design, and desired final weld appearance. Argon is the most commonly used shielding gas for GTAW, since it helps prevent defects due to a varying arc length. When used with alternating current, the use of argon results in high weld quality and good appearance. Another common shielding gas, helium, is most often used to increase the weld penetration in a joint, to increase the welding speed, and to weld metals with high heat conductivity, such as copper and aluminum. A significant disadvantage is the difficulty of striking an arc with helium gas, and the decreased weld quality associated with a varying arc length.
    Argon-helium mixtures are also frequently utilized in GTAW, since they can increase control of the heat input while maintaining the benefits of using argon. Normally, the mixtures are made with primarily helium (often about 75% or higher) and a balance of argon. These mixtures increase the speed and quality of the AC welding of aluminum, and also make it easier to strike an arc. Another shielding gas mixture, argon-hydrogen, is used in the mechanized welding of light gauge stainless steel, but because hydrogen can cause porosity, its uses are limited. Similarly, nitrogen can sometimes be added to argon to help stabilize the austenite in austentitic stainless steels and increase penetration when welding copper. Due to porosity problems in ferritic steels and limited benefits, however, it is not a popular shielding gas additive.

    Materials

    Gas tungsten arc welding is most commonly used to weld stainless steel and nonferrous materials, such as aluminum and magnesium, but it can be applied to nearly all metals, with a notable exception being zinc and its alloys. Its applications involving carbon steels are limited not because of process restrictions, but because of the existence of more economical steel welding techniques, such as gas metal arc welding and shielded metal arc welding. Furthermore, GTAW can be performed in a variety of other-than-flat positions, depending on the skill of the welder and the materials being welded.

    Aluminum and magnesium

    A TIG weld showing an accentuated AC etched zone

    Closeup view of an aluminium TIG weld AC etch zone

    Aluminum and magnesium are most often welded using alternating current, but the use of direct current is also possible, depending on the properties desired. Before welding, the work area should be cleaned and may be preheated to 175 to 200 °C (347 to 392 °F) for aluminum or to a maximum of 150 °C (302 °F) for thick magnesium workpieces to improve penetration and increase travel speed. AC current can provide a self-cleaning effect, removing the thin, refractory aluminium oxide (sapphire) layer that forms on aluminium metal within minutes of exposure to air. This oxide layer must be removed for welding to occur. When alternating current is used, pure tungsten electrodes or zirconiated tungsten electrodes are preferred over thoriated electrodes, as the latter are more likely to “spit” electrode particles across the welding arc into the weld. Blunt electrode tips are preferred, and pure argon shielding gas should be employed for thin workpieces. Introducing helium allows for greater penetration in thicker workpieces, but can make arc starting difficult.
    Direct current of either polarity, positive or negative, can be used to weld aluminum and magnesium as well. Direct current with a negatively charged electrode (DCEN) allows for high penetration. Argon is commonly used as a shielding gas for DCEN welding of aluminum. Shielding gases with high helium contents are often used for higher penetration in thicker materials. Thoriated electrodes are suitable for use in DCEN welding of aluminum. Direct current with a positively charged electrode (DCEP) is used primarily for shallow welds, especially those with a joint thickness of less than 1.6 mm (0.063 in). A thoriated tungsten electrode is commonly used, along with a pure argon shielding gas.

    Steels

    For GTAW of carbon and stainless steels, the selection of a filler material is important to prevent excessive porosity. Oxides on the filler material and workpieces must be removed before welding to prevent contamination, and immediately prior to welding, alcohol or acetone should be used to clean the surface. Preheating is generally not necessary for mild steels less than one inch thick, but low alloy steels may require preheating to slow the cooling process and prevent the formation of martensite in the heat-affected zone. Tool steels should also be preheated to prevent cracking in the heat-affected zone. Austenitic stainless steels do not require preheating, but martensitic and ferritic chromium stainless steels do. A DCEN power source is normally used, and thoriated electrodes, tapered to a sharp point, are recommended. Pure argon is used for thin workpieces, but helium can be introduced as thickness increases.

    Dissimilar metals

    Welding dissimilar metals often introduces new difficulties to GTAW welding, because most materials do not easily fuse to form a strong bond. However, welds of dissimilar materials have numerous applications in manufacturing, repair work, and the prevention of corrosion and oxidation. In some joints, a compatible filler metal is chosen to help form the bond, and this filler metal can be the same as one of the base materials (for example, using a stainless steel filler metal with stainless steel and carbon steel as base materials), or a different metal (such as the use of a nickel filler metal for joining steel and cast iron). Very different materials may be coated or “buttered” with a material compatible with a particular filler metal, and then welded. In addition, GTAW can be used in cladding or overlaying dissimilar materials.
    When welding dissimilar metals, the joint must have an accurate fit, with proper gap dimensions and bevel angles. Care should be taken to avoid melting excessive base material. Pulsed current is particularly useful for these applications, as it helps limit the heat input. The filler metal should be added quickly, and a large weld pool should be avoided to prevent dilution of the base materials.

    Process variations

    Pulsed-current

    In the pulsed-current mode, the welding current rapidly alternates between two levels. The higher current state is known as the pulse current, while the lower current level is called the background current. During the period of pulse current, the weld area is heated and fusion occurs. Upon dropping to the background current, the weld area is allowed to cool and solidify. Pulsed-current GTAW has a number of advantages, including lower heat input and consequently a reduction in distortion and warpage in thin workpieces. In addition, it allows for greater control of the weld pool, and can increase weld penetration, welding speed, and quality. A similar method, manual programmed GTAW, allows the operator to program a specific rate and magnitude of current variations, making it useful for specialized applications.

    Dabber

    The dabber variation is used to precisely place weld metal on thin edges. The automatic process replicates the motions of manual welding by feeding a cold filler wire into the weld area and dabbing (or oscillating) it into the welding arc. It can be used in conjunction with pulsed current, and is used to weld a variety of alloys, including titanium, nickel, and tool steels. Common applications include rebuilding seals in jet engines and building up saw blades, milling cutters, drill bits, and mower blades.

  3. Oct
    5

    List of welding processes

    List of welding processes

    This is a list of welding processes, separated into their respective categories. The associated N reference numbers (second column) are specified in ISO 4063 (in the European Union published as EN ISO 4063). Numbers in parentheses are obsolete and were removed from the current (1998) version of ISO 4063. The AWS reference codes of the American Welding Society are commonly used in North America.

    Arc welding

    Name N AWS Characteristics Applications
    Atomic hydrogen welding (149) AHW Two metal electrodes in hydrogen atmosphere Historical
    Bare metal arc welding (113) BMAW Consumable electrode, no flux or shielding gas Historical
    Carbon arc welding (181) CAW Carbon electrode, historical Copper, repair (limited)
    Flux cored arc welding 136
    137
    FCAW
    FCAW-S
    Continuous consumable electrode filled with flux Industry, construction
    Gas metal arc welding 131
    135
    GMAW Continuous consumable electrode and shielding gas Industry
    Gas tungsten arc welding 141 GTAW Nonconsumable electrode, slow, high quality welds Aerospace,Construction(piping),Tool and Die
    Plasma arc welding 15 PAW Nonconsumable electrode, constricted arc Tubing, instrumentation
    Shielded metal arc welding 111 SMAW Consumable electrode covered in flux, can weld any metal as long as they have the right electrode Construction, outdoors, maintenance
    Submerged arc welding 121 SAW Automatic, arc submerged in granular flux
    1. Also known as metal inert gas (MIG) welding or metal active gas (MAG) welding
    2. Also known as tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding
    3. Also known as manual metal arc (MMA) welding or stick welding
  4. Oct
    5

    Safety issues

    Welding, without the proper precautions appropriate for the process, can be a dangerous and unhealthy practice. However, with the use of new technology and proper protection, the risks of injury and death associated with welding can be greatly reduced.[citation needed] Because many common welding procedures involve an open electric arc or flame, the risk of burns is significant. To prevent them, welders wear personal protective equipment in the form of heavy leather gloves and protective long sleeve jackets to avoid exposure to extreme heat and flames. Additionally, the brightness of the weld area leads to a condition called arc eye in which ultraviolet light causes the inflammation of the cornea and can burn the retinas of the eyes. Full face welding helmets with dark face plates are worn to prevent this exposure, and in recent years, new helmet models have been produced that feature a face plate that self-darkens upon exposure to high amounts of UV light. To protect bystanders, opaque welding curtains often surround the welding area. These curtains, made of a polyvinyl chloride plastic film, shield nearby workers from exposure to the UV light from the electric arc, but should not be used to replace the filter glass used in helmets.
    Welders are also often exposed to dangerous gases and particulate matter. Processes like flux-cored arc welding and shielded metal arc welding produce smoke containing particles of various types of oxides, which in some cases can lead to medical conditions like metal fume fever. The size of the particles in question tends to influence the toxicity of the fumes, with smaller particles presenting a greater danger. Additionally, many processes produce fumes and various gases, most commonly carbon dioxide and ozone, that can prove dangerous if ventilation is inadequate. Furthermore, because the use of compressed gases and flames in many welding processes pose an explosion and fire risk, some common precautions include limiting the amount of oxygen in the air and keeping combustible materials away from the workplace. Welders with expertise in welding pressurized vessels, including submarine hulls, industrial boilers, and power plant heat exchangers and boilers, are generally referred to as boilermakers.

  5. Oct
    5

    Welding power supply

    A welding power supply is a device that provides an electric current to perform welding. Welding usually requires high current (over 80 amperes) and it can need above 12,000 amperes in spot welding. Low current can also be used; welding two razor blades together at 5 amps with gas tungsten arc welding is a good example. A welding power supply can be as simple as a car battery and as sophisticated as a modern machine based on silicon controlled rectifier technology with additional logic to assist in the welding process.

    Classification

    Welding machines are usually classified as constant current (CC) or constant voltage (CV); a constant current machine varies its output voltage to maintain a steady current while a constant voltage machine will fluctuate its output current to maintain a set voltage. Shielded metal arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding will use a constant current source and gas metal arc welding and flux-cored arc welding typically use constant voltage sources but constant current is also possible with a voltage sensing wire feeder.
    The nature of the CV machine is required by gas metal arc welding and flux-cored arc welding because the welder is not able to control the arc length manually. If a welder attempted to use a CV machine to weld with shielded metal arc welding the small fluctuations in the arc distance would cause wide fluctuations in the machine’s output. With a CC machine the welder can count on a fixed number of amps reaching the material to be welded regardless of the arc distance but too much distance will cause poor welding.

    Power supply designs

    The welding power supplies most commonly seen can be categorized within the following types:

    Transformer

    A transformer style welding power supply converts the high voltage and low current electricity from the utility mains into a high current and low voltage, typically between 17 to 45 volts and 55 to 590 amps. A rectifier converts the AC into DC on more expensive machines.
    This design typically allows the welder to select the output current by variously moving a primary winding closer or farther from a secondary winding, moving a magnetic shunt in and out of the core of the transformer, using a series saturating reactor with a variable saturating technique in series with the secondary current output, or by simply permitting the welder to select the output voltage from a set of taps on the transformer’s secondary winding. These transformer style machines are typically the least expensive.
    The trade against being the least expensive is that pure transformer designs are often bulky and massive because they operate at the utility mains frequency of 50 or 60 Hz. Such low frequency transformers must have a high magnetizing inductance to avoid wasteful shunt currents. The transformer may also have significant leakage inductance for short circuit protection in the event of a welding rod becoming stuck to the workpiece. The leakage inductance may be variable so the operator can set the output current.

    Generator and alternator

    Welding power supplies may also use generators or alternators to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. Modern designs are usually driven by an internal combustion engine. but older machines may use an electric motor to drive an alternator or generator. In this configuration the utility power is converted first into mechanical energy then back into electrical energy to achieve the step-down effect similar to a transformer. Because the output of the generator can be direct current, or even a higher frequency ac current, these older machines can produce DC from AC without any need for rectifiers of any type, or can also be used for implementing formerly-used variations on so-called heliarc (most often now called TIG) welders, where the need for a higher frequency add-on module box is avoided by the alternator simply producing higher frequency ac current directly.

    Inverter

    Since the advent of high-power semiconductors such as the insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT), it is now possible to build a switched-mode power supply capable of coping with the high loads of arc welding. These designs are known as inverter welding units. They generally first rectify the utility AC power to DC; then they switch (invert) the DC power into a stepdown transformer to produce the desired welding voltage or current. The switching frequency is typically 10 kHz or higher. Although the high switching frequency requires sophisticated components and circuits, it drastically reduces the bulk of the step down transformer, as the mass of magnetic components (transformers and inductors) that is required for achieving a given power level goes down rapidly as the operating (switching) frequency is increased. The inverter circuitry can also provide features such as power control and overload protection. The high frequency inverter-based welding machines are typically more efficient and provide better control of variable functional parameters than non-inverter welding machines.
    The IGBTs in an inverter based machine are controlled by a microcontroller, so the electrical characteristics of the welding power can be changed by software in real time, even on a cycle by cycle basis, rather than making changes slowly over hundreds if not thousands of cycles. Typically, the controller software will implement features such as pulsing the welding current, providing variable ratios and current densities through a welding cycle, enabling swept or stepped variable frequencies, and providing timing as needed for implementing automatic spot-welding; all of these features would be prohibitively expensive to design into a transformer-based machine, but require only program memory space in a software-controlled inverter machine. Similarly, it is possible to add new features to a software-controlled inverter machine if needed, through a software update, rather than through having to buy a more modern welder.

    Other types

    Additional types of welders also exist, besides the types using transformers, motor/generator, and inverters. For example, laser welders also exist, and they require an entirely different type of welding power supply design that does not fall into any of the types of welding power supplies discussed previously. Likewise, spot welders require a different type of welding power supply, typically containing elaborate timing circuits and large capacitor banks that are not commonly found with any other types of welding power supplies.

  6. Oct
    5

    Welding

    Welding is a fabrication or sculptural process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence. This is often done by melting the workpieces and adding a filler material to form a pool of molten material (the weld pool) that cools to become a strong joint, with pressure sometimes used in conjunction with heat, or by itself, to produce the weld. This is in contrast with soldering and brazing, which involve melting a lower-melting-point material between the workpieces to form a bond between them, without melting the workpieces.
    Many different energy sources can be used for welding, including a gas flame, an electric arc, a laser, an electron beam, friction, and ultrasound. While often an industrial process, welding may be performed in many different environments, including open air, under water and in outer space. Welding is a potentially hazardous undertaking and precautions are required to avoid burns, electric shock, vision damage, inhalation of poisonous gases and fumes, and exposure to intense ultraviolet radiation.
    Until the end of the 19th century, the only welding process was forge welding, which blacksmiths had used for centuries to join iron and steel by heating and hammering. Arc welding and oxyfuel welding were among the first processes to develop late in the century, and electric resistance welding followed soon after. Welding technology advanced quickly during the early 20th century as World War I and World War II drove the demand for reliable and inexpensive joining methods. Following the wars, several modern welding techniques were developed, including manual methods like shielded metal arc welding, now one of the most popular welding methods, as well as semi-automatic and automatic processes such as gas metal arc welding, submerged arc welding, flux-cored arc welding and electroslag welding. Developments continued with the invention of laser beam welding, electron beam welding, electromagnetic pulse welding and friction stir welding in the latter half of the century. Today, the science continues to advance. Robot welding is commonplace in industrial settings, and researchers continue to develop new welding methods and gain greater
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