Aluminium is an excellent metal for manufacturing products, as it is not only very lightweight but using aluminium for parts can extend its life and it works very well in cold temperatures too, making it suitable for applications like trucks and trailers, boat components, cryogenic piping, etc.
However, aluminium welding has its own challenges like dealing with the oxide layer, controlling the heat input, etc. Usually, the GTAW (gas tungsten arc welding) process is used for welding aluminium because the process offers an aesthetic appearance and also the weld integrity produced by the GTAW process is very high. In this article, we will discuss how you can get high-quality aluminium welds using GTAW.
Overcoming the Challenges of Aluminium Welding
GTAW is a very slow welding process and is not commonly used in high-volume manufacturing; however, it is an excellent choice for aluminium welding where the appearance and quality are more important than productivity.
The GTAW process allows you to control when the filler metal is added, the puddle can be established and you can also ensure that the penetration is done properly before the filler metal is added. The right heat is the key factor when you weld aluminium using the GTAW process. And since aluminium is highly conductive, the heat of the puddle can be taken away very quickly, which means that a lot of heat is required in the first place to form the weld puddle. However, in order to prevent a burn-through or a runaway puddle, the heat must be controlled.
The heat in welding depends mainly on the voltage and amperage, which essentially means that the higher the voltage, more the power. While welding using a longer arc produces more heat, it heats a larger area of the metal, which can cause a runaway puddle. Using a shorter arc can help to focus the heat in a smaller area and prevent forming a runaway puddle.
Other Tips for Aluminium Welding
Apart from controlling the heat during aluminium welding, other tips to get a good quality weld are that the metal must be cleaned properly before you start welding. Make use of alternating current polarity while welding aluminium using the GTAW method so that the oxide layer is removed from the aluminium, allowing you to weld properly.
Another factor that is important in getting good aluminium welds is by setting the right balance control. The placement of the weld can be made very easy by adjusting the AC output frequency (i.e. the number of times the power source changes polarity per second) and the higher the AC output is, the arc becomes more stable that allows greater control over the welding.
Whether your objective is to achieve the aesthetic of the stacked dimes look or you’re looking for greater penetration, the above tips and techniques can help you in getting high-quality aluminium welds while using the GTAW process.