Shielding gases are inert or semi-inert gases that are commonly used in several welding processes, most notably gas metal arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding (GMAW and GTAW, more popularly known as MIG (Metal Inert Gas) and TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas), respectively). Their purpose is to protect the weld area from oxygen, and water vapour. Depending on the materials being welded, these atmospheric gases can reduce the quality of the weld or make the welding more difficult. Other arc welding processes use alternative methods of protecting the weld from the atmosphere as well – shielded metal arc welding, for example, uses an electrode covered in a flux that produces carbon dioxide when consumed, a semi-inert gas that is an acceptable shielding gas for welding steel.
Improper choice of a welding gas can lead to a porous and weak weld, or to excessive spatter; the latter, while not affecting the weld itself, causes loss of productivity due to the labor needed to remove the scattered drops.
Shielding gases fall into two categories—inert or semi-inert. Only two of the noble gases, helium and argon, are cost effective enough to be used in welding. These inert gases are used in gas tungsten arc welding, and also in gas metal arc welding for the welding of non-ferrous metals. Semi-inert shielding gases, or active shield gases, include carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen. These active gases are used with GMAW on ferrous metals. Most of these gases, in large quantities, would damage the weld, but when used in small, controlled quantities, can improve weld characteristics.
The important properties of shielding gases are their thermal conductivity and heat transfer properties, their density relative to air, and the ease with which they undergo ionization. Gases heavier than air (e.g. argon) blanket the weld and require lower flow rates than gases lighter than air (e.g. helium). Heat transfer is important for heating the weld around the arc. Ionizability influences how easy the arc starts, and how high voltage is required. Shielding gases can be used pure, or as a blend of two or three gases. In laser welding, the shielding gas has an additional role, preventing formation of a cloud of plasma above the weld, absorbing significant fraction of the laser energy. This is important for CO2 lasers; Nd:YAG lasers show lower tendency to form such plasma. Helium plays this role best due to its high ionization potential; the gas can absorb high amount of energy before becoming ionized.
Carbon dioxide is the least expensive shielding gas, providing deep penetration, however it negatively affects the stability of the arc and enhances the molten metal's tendency to create droplets (spatter). Carbon dioxide in concentration of 1-2% is commonly used in the mix with argon to reduce the surface tension of the molten metal. Another common blend is 25% carbon dioxide and 75% argon for GMAW.
Helium is lighter than air; larger flow rates are required. It is an inert gas, not reacting with the molten metals. Its thermal conductivity is high. It is not easy to ionize, requiring higher voltage to start the arc. Due to higher ionization potential it produces hotter arc at higher voltage, provides wide deep bead; this is an advantage for aluminium, magnesium, and copper alloys. Other gases are often added. Blends of helium with addition of 5–10% of argon and 2–5% of carbon dioxide ("tri-mix") can be used for welding of stainless steel. Used also for aluminium and other non-ferrous metals, especially for thicker welds. In comparison with argon, helium provides more energy-rich but less stable arc. Helium and carbon dioxide were the first shielding gases used, since the beginning of World War 2. Helium is used as a shield gas in laser welding for carbon dioxide lasers. Helium is more expensive than argon and requires higher flow rates, so despite its advantages it may not be a cost-effective choice for higher-volume production. Pure helium is not used for steel, as it then provides erratic arc and encourages spatter.
Oxygen is used in small amounts as an addition to other gases; typically as 2–5% addition to argon. It enhances arc stability and reduces the surface tension of the molten metal, increasing wetting of the solid metal. It is used for spray transfer welding of mild carbon steels, low alloy and stainless steels. Its presence increases the amount of slag. Argon-oxygen (Ar-O2) blends are often being replaced with argon-carbon dioxide ones. Argon-carbon dioxide-oxygen blends are also used. Oxygen causes oxidation of the weld,so it is not suitable for welding aluminium, magnesium, copper, and some exotic metals. Increased oxygen makes the shielding gas oxidize the electrode, which can lead to porosity in the deposit if the electrode does not contain sufficient deoxidizers. Excessive oxygen, especially when used in application for which it is not prescribed, can lead to brittleness in the heat affected zone. Argon-oxygen blends with 1–2% oxygen are used for austenitic stainless steel where argon-CO2 can not be used due to required low content of carbon in the weld; the weld has a tough oxide coating and may require cleaning.
Hydrogen is used for welding of nickel and some stainless steels, especially thicker pieces. It improves the molten metal fluidity, and enhances cleanness of the surface. It is added to argon in amounts typically under 10%. It can be added to argon-carbon dioxide blends to counteract the oxidizing effects of carbon dioxide. Its addition narrows the arc and increases the arc temperature, leading to better weld penetration. In higher concentrations (up to 25% hydrogen), it may be used for welding conductive materials such as copper. However, it should not be used on steel, aluminum or magnesium because it can cause porosity and hydrogen embrittlement; its application is usually limited only to some stainless steels.
Dichlorodifluoromethane with argon can be used for protective atmosphere for melting of aluminium-lithium alloys. It reduces the content of hydrogen in the aluminium weld, preventing the associated porosity.
The applications of shielding gases are limited primarily by the cost of the gas, the cost of the equipment, and by the location of the welding. Some shielding gases, like argon, are expensive, limiting its use. The equipment used for the delivery of the gas is also an added cost, and as a result, processes like shielded metal arc welding, which require less expensive equipment, might be preferred in certain situations. Finally, because atmospheric movements can cause the dispersion of the shielding gas around the weld, welding processes that require shielding gases are often only done indoors, where the environment is stable and atmospheric gases can be effectively prevented from entering the weld area.
The desirable rate of gas flow depends primarily on weld geometry, speed, current, the type of gas, and the metal transfer mode being utilized. Welding flat surfaces requires higher flow than welding grooved materials, since the gas is dispersed more quickly. Faster welding speeds, in general, mean that more gas needs to be supplied to provide adequate coverage. Additionally, higher current requires greater flow, and generally, more helium is required to provide adequate coverage than argon. Perhaps most importantly, the four primary variations of GMAW have differing shielding gas flow requirements—for the small weld pools of the short circuiting and pulsed spray modes, about 10 L/min (20 ft3/h) is generally suitable, while for globular transfer, around 15 L/min (30 ft3/h) is preferred. The spray transfer variation normally requires more because of its higher heat input and thus larger weld pool; along the lines of 20–25 L/min (40–50 ft3/h).
1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane (also known as norflurane (INN), R-134a, Freon 134a, Forane 134a, Genetron 134a, Florasol 134a, Suva 134a, or HFC-134a) is a haloalkane refrigerant with thermodynamic properties similar to R-12 (dichlorodifluoromethane) but with insignificant ozone depletion potential and a somewhat lower global warming potential (1,430, compared to R-12's GWP of 10,900). It has the formula CH2FCF3 and a boiling point of −26.3 °C (−15.34 °F) at atmospheric pressure. R-134a cylinders are colored light blue. Attempts at phasing out its use as a refrigerant with substances that have lower global warming potential, such as HFO-1234yf, are underway.Arc welding
Arc welding is a welding process that is used to join metal to metal by using electricity to create enough heat to melt metal, and the melted metals when cool result in a binding of the metals. It is a type of welding that uses a welding power supply to create an electric arc between a metal stick ("electrode") and the base material to melt the metals at the point-of-contact. Arc welders can use either direct (DC) or alternating (AC) current, and consumable or non-consumable electrodes.
The welding area is usually protected by some type of shielding gas, vapor, or slag. Arc welding processes may be manual, semi-automatic, or fully automated. First developed in the late part of the 19th century, arc welding became commercially important in shipbuilding during the Second World War. Today it remains an important process for the fabrication of steel structures and vehicles.Argon
Argon is a chemical element with symbol Ar and atomic number 18. It is in group 18 of the periodic table and is a noble gas. Argon is the third-most abundant gas in the Earth's atmosphere, at 0.934% (9340 ppmv). It is more than twice as abundant as water vapor (which averages about 4000 ppmv, but varies greatly), 23 times as abundant as carbon dioxide (400 ppmv), and more than 500 times as abundant as neon (18 ppmv). Argon is the most abundant noble gas in Earth's crust, comprising 0.00015% of the crust.
Nearly all of the argon in the Earth's atmosphere is radiogenic argon-40, derived from the decay of potassium-40 in the Earth's crust. In the universe, argon-36 is by far the most common argon isotope, as it is the most easily produced by stellar nucleosynthesis in supernovas.
The name "argon" is derived from the Greek word ἀργόν, neuter singular form of ἀργός meaning "lazy" or "inactive", as a reference to the fact that the element undergoes almost no chemical reactions. The complete octet (eight electrons) in the outer atomic shell makes argon stable and resistant to bonding with other elements. Its triple point temperature of 83.8058 K is a defining fixed point in the International Temperature Scale of 1990.
Argon is produced industrially by the fractional distillation of liquid air. Argon is mostly used as an inert shielding gas in welding and other high-temperature industrial processes where ordinarily unreactive substances become reactive; for example, an argon atmosphere is used in graphite electric furnaces to prevent the graphite from burning. Argon is also used in incandescent, fluorescent lighting, and other gas-discharge tubes. Argon makes a distinctive blue-green gas laser. Argon is also used in fluorescent glow starters.Atomic hydrogen welding
Atomic hydrogen welding (AHW) is an arc welding process that uses an arc between two tungsten electrodes in a shielding atmosphere of hydrogen. The process was invented by Irving Langmuir in the course of his studies of atomic hydrogen. The electric arc efficiently breaks up the hydrogen molecules, which later recombine with tremendous release of heat, reaching temperatures from 3400 to 4000 °C. Without the arc, an oxyhydrogen torch can only reach 2800 °C. This is the third-hottest flame after dicyanoacetylene at 4987 °C and cyanogen at 4525 °C. An acetylene torch merely reaches 3300 °C. This device may be called an atomic hydrogen torch, nascent hydrogen torch or Langmuir torch. The process was also known as arc-atom welding.
The heat produced by this torch is sufficient to weld tungsten (3422 °C), the most refractory metal. The presence of hydrogen also acts as a shielding gas, preventing oxidation and contamination by carbon, nitrogen or oxygen, which can severely damage the properties of many metals. It eliminates the need of flux for this purpose.
The arc is maintained independently of the workpiece or parts being welded. The hydrogen gas is normally diatomic (H2), but where the temperatures are over 600 °C (1,100 °F) near the arc, the hydrogen breaks down into its atomic form, absorbing a large amount of heat from the arc. When the hydrogen strikes a relatively cold surface (i.e. the weld zone), it recombines into its diatomic form, releasing the energy associated with the formation of that bond. The energy in AHW can be varied easily by changing the distance between the arc stream and the workpiece surface.
In atomic hydrogen welding, filler metal may or may not be used. In this process, the arc is maintained entirely independent of the work or parts being welded. The work is a part of the electrical circuit only to the extent that a portion of the arc comes in contact with the work, at which time a voltage exists between the work and each electrode.
This process is being replaced by gas metal-arc welding, mainly because of the availability of inexpensive inert gases.Electrogas welding
Electrogas welding (EGW) is a continuous vertical position arc welding process developed in 1961, in which an arc is struck between a consumable electrode and the workpiece. A shielding gas is sometimes used, but pressure is not applied. A major difference between EGW and its cousin electroslag welding is that the arc in EGW is not extinguished, instead remains struck throughout the welding process. It is used to make square-groove welds for butt and t-joints, especially in the shipbuilding industry and in the construction of storage tanks.Flux-cored arc welding
Flux-cored arc welding (FCAW or FCA) is a semi-automatic or automatic arc welding process. FCAW requires a continuously-fed consumable tubular electrode containing a flux and a constant-voltage or, less commonly, a constant-current welding power supply. An externally supplied shielding gas is sometimes used, but often the flux itself is relied upon to generate the necessary protection from the atmosphere, producing both gaseous protection and liquid slag protecting the weld. The process is widely used in construction because of its high welding speed and portability.
FCAW was first developed in the early 1950s as an alternative to shielded metal arc welding (SMAW). The advantage of FCAW over SMAW is that the use of the stick electrodes used in SMAW is unnecessary. This helped FCAW to overcome many of the restrictions associated with SMAW.Gas metal arc welding
Gas metal arc welding (GMAW), sometimes referred to by its subtypes metal inert gas (MIG) welding or metal active gas (MAG) welding, is a welding process in which an electric arc forms between a consumable MIG wire electrode and the workpiece metal(s), which heats the workpiece metal(s), causing them to melt and join. Along with the wire electrode, a shielding gas feeds through the welding gun, which shields the process from contaminants in the air.
The process can be semi-automatic or automatic. A constant voltage, direct current power source is most commonly used with GMAW, but constant current systems, as well as alternating current, can be used. There are four primary methods of metal transfer in GMAW, called globular, short-circuiting, spray, and pulsed-spray, each of which has distinct properties and corresponding advantages and limitations.
Originally developed in the 1940s for welding aluminium and other non-ferrous materials, GMAW was soon applied to steels because it provided faster welding time compared to other welding processes. The cost of inert gas limited its use in steels until several years later, when the use of semi-inert gases such as carbon dioxide became common. Further developments during the 1950s and 1960s gave the process more versatility and as a result, it became a highly used industrial process. Today, GMAW is the most common industrial welding process, preferred for its versatility, speed and the relative ease of adapting the process to robotic automation. Unlike welding processes that do not employ a shielding gas, such as shielded metal arc welding, it is rarely used outdoors or in other areas of moving air. A related process, flux cored arc welding, often does not use a shielding gas, but instead employs an electrode wire that is hollow and filled with flux.Gas tungsten arc welding
Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), also known as tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, is an arc welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The weld area and electrode is protected from oxidation or other atmospheric contamination by an inert shielding gas (argon or helium), 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 electrical 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.Heli Modified
Heli Modified, Inc. is a privately owned company producing motorcycle handlebar adapters. The company was established by Harry Eddy in 1978 and is headquartered in Cornish, Maine. Heli Modified was incorporated in 1993.Heli Modified began as a specialty welding shop in the greater Boston area. The company name is derived from heli- arc welding - a type of welding using a tungsten electrode and helium as a shielding gas. Throughout the 1980s, Harry Eddy created custom ergonomic applications for motorcycles. Some of his early designs included replacement swingarms for BMWs, off-road modifications and adapting a Harley-Davidson with hand controls for a motorcyclist with an amputated leg.In 1987, Eddy developed the first pair of Heli Bars to add more comfort to his sport bike. The new design gained popularity among friends and acquaintances and sparked HeliBars handlebars and adaptors. Today Heli Modified makes new handlebars to replace stock ones.In 1992, Eddy moved Heli Modified to Cornish, Maine and started producing the handlebars in his barn. The first Heli employee was hired in 1994. The company moved to an 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) building in 1999. Today HeliBars handlebars and adaptors are produced in a state of the art CNC machine-equipped facility, and shipped to customers worldwide. As of 2017, the majority of handle bars manufactured by HeliBars are coated with polyester powder coating in order to prevent UV damage and corrosion. Opposed to epoxy coverage the company used in the manufacturing before, polyester powder coating does not crack or fade with time and is more resistant to mechanical damage. Besides, this coating is more resistant to the chemicals, than epoxy coverage.Hydrogen
Hydrogen is a chemical element with symbol H and atomic number 1. With a standard atomic weight of 1.008, hydrogen is the lightest element in the periodic table. Its monatomic form (H) is the most abundant chemical substance in the Universe, constituting roughly 75% of all baryonic mass. Non-remnant stars are mainly composed of hydrogen in the plasma state. The most common isotope of hydrogen, termed protium (name rarely used, symbol 1H), has one proton and no neutrons.
The universal emergence of atomic hydrogen first occurred during the recombination epoch. At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, nonmetallic, highly combustible diatomic gas with the molecular formula H2. Since hydrogen readily forms covalent compounds with most nonmetallic elements, most of the hydrogen on Earth exists in molecular forms such as water or organic compounds. Hydrogen plays a particularly important role in acid–base reactions because most acid-base reactions involve the exchange of protons between soluble molecules. In ionic compounds, hydrogen can take the form of a negative charge (i.e., anion) when it is known as a hydride, or as a positively charged (i.e., cation) species denoted by the symbol H+. The hydrogen cation is written as though composed of a bare proton, but in reality, hydrogen cations in ionic compounds are always more complex. As the only neutral atom for which the Schrödinger equation can be solved analytically, study of the energetics and bonding of the hydrogen atom has played a key role in the development of quantum mechanics.
Hydrogen gas was first artificially produced in the early 16th century by the reaction of acids on metals. In 1766–81, Henry Cavendish was the first to recognize that hydrogen gas was a discrete substance, and that it produces water when burned, the property for which it was later named: in Greek, hydrogen means "water-former".
Industrial production is mainly from steam reforming natural gas, and less often from more energy-intensive methods such as the electrolysis of water. Most hydrogen is used near the site of its production, the two largest uses being fossil fuel processing (e.g., hydrocracking) and ammonia production, mostly for the fertilizer market. Hydrogen is a concern in metallurgy as it can embrittle many metals, complicating the design of pipelines and storage tanks.Liquid air
Liquid air is air that has been cooled to very low temperatures (cryogenic temperatures), so that it has condensed into a pale blue mobile liquid. To thermally insulate it from room temperature, it is stored in specialized containers (Vacuum insulated flasks are often used). Liquid air can absorb heat rapidly and revert to its gaseous state. It is often used for condensing other substances into liquid and/or solidifying them, and as an industrial source of nitrogen, oxygen, argon, and other inert gases through a process called air separation.List of plasma physics articles
This is a list of plasma physics topics.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.Orbital welding
Orbital welding is a specialized area of welding whereby the arc is rotated mechanically through 360° (180 degrees in double up welding) around a static workpiece, an object such as a pipe, in a continuous process. The process was developed to addresses the issue of operator error in gas tungsten arc welding processes (GTAW). In orbital welding, computer-controlled process runs with little intervention from the operator. The process is used specifically for high quality repeatable welding.Packaging gas
A packaging gas is used to pack sensitive materials such as food into a modified atmosphere environment. The gas used is usually inert, or of a nature that protects the integrity of the packaged goods, inhibiting unwanted chemical reactions such as food spoilage or oxidation. Some may also serve as a propellant for aerosol sprays like cans of whipped cream. For packaging food, the use of various gases is approved by regulatory organisations.Their E numbers are included in the following lists in parentheses.Period 3 element
A period 3 element is one of the chemical elements in the third row (or period) of the periodic table of the chemical elements. The periodic table is laid out in rows to illustrate recurring (periodic) trends in the chemical behaviour of the elements as their atomic number increases: a new row is begun when the periodic table skips a row and a chemical behaviour begins to repeat, meaning that elements with similar behavior fall into the same vertical columns. The third period contains eight elements: sodium, magnesium, aluminium, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, and argon. The first two, sodium and magnesium, are members of the s-block of the periodic table, while the others are members of the p-block. Note that there is a 3d subshell, but it is not filled until period 4, such giving the period table its characteristic shape of "two rows at a time". All of the period 3 elements occur in nature and have at least one stable isotope.Plasma arc welding
Plasma arc welding (PAW) is an arc welding process similar to gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). The electric arc is formed between an electrode (which is usually but not always made of sintered tungsten) and the workpiece. The key difference from GTAW is that in PAW, by positioning the electrode within the body of the torch, the plasma arc can be separated from the shielding gas envelope. The plasma is then forced through a fine-bore copper nozzle which constricts the arc and the plasma exits the orifice at high velocities (approaching the speed of sound) and a temperature approaching 28,000 °C (50,000 °F) or higher.
Just as oxy-fuel torches can be used for either welding or cutting, so too can plasma torches, which can achieve plasma arc welding or plasma cutting.
Arc plasma is the temporary state of a gas. The gas gets ionized after passage of electric current through it and it becomes a conductor of electricity. In ionized state atoms break into electrons (−) and cations (+) and the system contains a mixture of ions, electrons and highly excited atoms. The degree of ionization may be between 1% and greater than 100% i.e.; double and triple degrees of ionization. Such states exist as more electrons are pulled from their orbits.
The energy of the plasma jet and thus the temperature is dependent upon the electrical power employed to create arc plasma. A typical value of temperature obtained in a plasma jet torch may be of the order of 28000 °C (50000 °F ) against about 5500 °C (10000 °F) in ordinary electric welding arc. Actually all welding arcs are (partially ionized) plasmas, but the one in plasma arc welding is a constricted arc plasma.Shielded metal arc welding
Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), also known as manual metal arc welding (MMA or MMAW), flux shielded arc welding or informally as stick welding, is a manual arc welding process that uses a consumable electrode covered with a 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. The workpiece and the electrode melts forming a pool of molten metal (weld pool) that cools to form a joint. 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 first and 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 heavy 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.Welding
Welding is a fabrication or sculptural process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by using high heat to melt the parts together and allowing them to cool causing fusion. Welding is distinct from lower temperature metal-joining techniques such as brazing and soldering, which do not melt the base metal.
In addition to melting the base metal, a filler material is typically added to the joint to form a pool of molten material (the weld pool) that cools to form a joint that, based on weld configuration (butt, full penetration, fillet, etc.), can be stronger than the base material (parent metal). Pressure may also be used in conjunction with heat, or by itself, to produce a weld. Welding also requires a form of shield to protect the filler metals or melted metals from being contaminated or oxidized.
Many different energy sources can be used for welding, including a gas flame (chemical), an electric arc (electrical), a laser, an electron beam, friction, and ultrasound. While often an industrial process, welding may be performed in many different environments, including in open air, under water, and in outer space. Welding is a 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 millennia to join iron and steel by heating and hammering. Arc welding and oxy-fuel 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 the world wars 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, magnetic 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 understanding of weld quality.