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EWF/IIW Diploma –

Welding Processes and Equipment (Foundation)


Training and Examination Services

Granta Park, Great Abington
Cambridge CB21 6AL
United Kingdom
Copyright © TWI Ltd
EWF/IIW Diploma-
Welding Processes and Equipment

Section Subject

Pre training briefing

1 General Introduction to Welding
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Joining methods
1.3 Welding processes
1.4 Joint configuration
1.5 Types of weld
1.6 Features of the completed weld
1.7 Weld preparation
1.8 Types of preparation
1.9 Size of butt welds
1.10 Size of fillet welds
1.11 Welding position, slope, rotation and weaving
IWS revision questions on general introduction
2 Fabrication Standards
2.1 Application standards and codes
2.2 Approval of welding procedures and welders
2.3 Process terminology
2.4 Revision questions on standards
3 Weld Symbols
3.1 Standards
3.2 Basic representation
3.3 Edge preparation symbols
3.4 Weld sizing
3.5 Revision questions on weld symbols
4 Introduction to Fusion Welding
4.1 Creation and protection of weld pool
4.2 Direction of welding
4.3 Bead shape
IWS questions on fusion welding Introduction and safety

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Contents Copyright © TWI Ltd 2015
5 Arc Welding Safety
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Electric shock
5.3 Heat
5.4 Light
5.5 Fumes and gases
5.6 Noise
5.7 Gas handling and storage
5.8 Working at height and in restricted access areas
5.9 Mechanical hazards
6 Gas Welding
6.1 Oxyacetylene welding
6.2 Equipment
6.3 Operating characteristics
6.4 Equipment safety checks
IWS questions on gas welding
7 Electricity as Applicable to Welding
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Ions and electrons
7.3 Electricity generation
7.4 Current, voltage, watts and resistance
7.5 Direct and alternating current
7.6 Transforming electricity
7.7 Rectification
7.8 Series and parallel
7.9 Inductance
7.10 Transistors and thyristors
7.11 Inverters
Revision questions on electricity
8 Power Sources
8.1 Types of power source
8.2 Power source characteristics
8.3 Pulsed power
8.4 Slope control and gas purging
8.5 Duty cycle
8.6 Bibliography
Revision questions on power sources
9 TIG Welding
9.1 Process characteristics
9.2 Arc Initiation
9.3 Current and polarity
9.4 Preparing the tungsten electrode
9.5 Shielding gas
9.6 Filler wires
9.7 Potential defects
9.8 Advantages of the TIG process
9.9 Disadvantages of the TIG process
Revision questions on TIG

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Contents Copyright © TWI Ltd 2015
10 MIG/MAG Welding
10.1 Process characteristics
10.2 Transfer modes
10.3 Welding parameters
10.4 Contact tip and nozzle set-up
10.5 Shielding gases
10.6 Solid wire consumables
10.7 Flux-cored arc welding
Revision questions on MIG/MAG
11 Manual Metal Arc (MMA) Welding
11.1 History
11.2 Process characteristics
11.3 MMA basic equipment requirements
11.4 Electrode types
11.5 Setting up for welding
11.6 Welding parameters
11.7 Practical aspects of MMA
11.8 Storage and handling
11.9 Baking electrodes
11.10 Electrode classification
Revision questions
12 Welding Consumables
12.1 Consumables for MMA welding
12.2 AWS A 5.1- and AWS 5.5-
12.3 Inspection points for MMA consumables
13 Submerged Arc Welding
13.1 History
13.2 Process characteristics
13.3 Power source
13.4 Equipment
13.5 Consumables
13.6 Welding parameters
13.7 Potential defects
13.8 Classification of consumables
Revision questions

14 Electroslag Welding
14.1 History
14.2 Process characteristics
14.3 ESW materials other than steel
14.4 Stainless steel and nickel alloys
14.5 Current status
14.6 Benefits and disadvantages

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Contents Copyright © TWI Ltd 2015
15 Thermal Cutting and Gouging
15.1 Introduction
15.2 General safety
15.3 Oxy-fuel cutting
15.4 Powder cutting
15.5 Oxy-fuel gouging
15.6 MMA gouging
15.7 Air carbon arc gouging
15.8 Plasma arc cutting
15.9 Plasma arc gouging
15.10 Laser cutting
15.11 IWS Revision questions
16 Surfacing and Spraying
16.1 Background
16.2 Friction surfacing
16.3 Surfacing by arc welding
16.4 Thermal spraying
16.5 IWS Revision questions.
Appendix 1 Practice Questions

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Contents Copyright © TWI Ltd 2015
What the Welding Processes and Equipment Module is About

Welcome to the International Institute of Welding (IIW) and European Welding

Federation (EWF) approved Diploma course offered by TWI Training and
Examination Services. Successful completion of your course leads to
qualification recognised in more than 40 countries. TWI-TES also offers tuition
to those who do not meet the IIW/EWF access criteria. The syllabus and
expected learning outcomes are given in an IIW publication, IAB-252r8-07, of
which a short version may be downloaded from either the IIW website:
www.iiw-iis.org or from the EWF website: www.ewf.be.

This course is designed to cover the syllabus but we emphasise that self-study
should account for at least as much time as the lectures. Larry Jeffus (Welding -
Principles and Applications) is an excellent source for basic information, with
coloured easy to follow diagrams. There are good books covering the topics in
greater depth: AC Davies - The Science and Practice of Welding is a classic, but
now rather dated, reference. Jeffries (Welding Principles and Application) and
Althouse, Turnqist, Bowditch, Bowditch, Bowditch (Modern Welding) are newer
titles with good explanations.

The internet is, of course, a prime source of reference, though care must be
taken as anyone can set up a website and post information, not all of which is
accurate. We strongly suggest that you use the technical information available
from TWI’s website http://www.twi.co.uk/content/tec_index.html

Others that you may find helpful are:


With the changing face of the internet we cannot say that these sites will
remain in place and as useful as they seemed when we looked at them. We
recommend that you use a search engine to explore what is available for any
topic that you to learn more about.

We hope that you enjoy this learning experience. Good luck in the exams!

What does this module cover?

We will take you from the absolute basics - defining a weld, for instance -
through to quite detailed understanding of the make-up and characteristics of
arcs and plasmas. You will learn the basic electricity functions applicable to
welding and the relationship between such fundamentals as transformation,
rectification, inductance, etc and the behaviour of a welding process.

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Objectives Copyright © TWI Ltd 2015
We cover all of the commonly used processes and many of those considered
advanced or specialised. The basic principles behind each process are described
together with the equipment and materials necessary for a quality joint.

Standards applicable to welding and symbols used on drawings to indicate

specific joints are covered and safety aspects are emphasised throughout.

Much of the module concerns fusion welding but solid state processes, brazing,
soldering, surfacing and cutting are also dealt with.

What is the final outcome that I can expect?

We emphasise that we work to an international syllabus, at one of three levels,
in order to prepare you for examinations that will qualify you to the same level
as welding co-ordinators trained in any of the countries complying with the
International Accreditation Board’s requirements. Your qualification will be
recognised in more than 40 countries around the world.

This module prepares you for specific exams on welding processes and
equipment, one of four modules that you need to achieve the end qualification.
Even if you choose not to be tested in this way, your involvement in the course
will have given you a much greater understanding of the most influential
parameters in welding and how to exert control over them in order to achieve
quality welds.

What sort of material and learning methods are used?

The rest of this volume contains notes and slides that show you the depth to
which we take each topic. We lecture and expect active participation. This
involvement increases as you progress through the levels - we expect those at
the Engineer Level to be making significant personal input into the learning

We must point out that simply learning the notes is not enough. We make
frequent reference to private study and expect you to use all facilities - library,
reference books and the internet, especially the TWI website with its Job
Knowledge series of articles - to give you a fuller understanding of the subject.

Our lecturers and course manager are always keen to hear from you. If you
have input to give, ideas for improvement, or you just have a concern over the
learning or examination, please speak to us.

Why is this module important to me?

All welding engineers, technologists and specialists are expected to know the
fundamentals of the welding processes. There is no-one in the company with
better knowledge, so if the welding operation does not go smoothly everyone
will turn to the specialist, ie you, for advice.
A key decision the welding specialist must make is to determine the best
process for the company to use for any application. This will require an
understanding, not only of the pros and cons of each process, but also any
attendant requirements necessary to make the process work efficiently.

This module will give you an understanding of how each process works and the
differences between them; the equipment, control and operator skill required
for each and the economic factors associated with choosing a welding process.

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Objectives Copyright © TWI Ltd 2015
My company has fixed ideas, who am I to change them?

We’re not saying change is necessary, nor always desirable, but WL Bateman
famously said:

If you keep on doing what you've always done, you'll keep on getting what
you've always got.

Maybe your company has got it right and wants to continue getting what it
always got, but we doubt it. Everyone wants to remain competitive and seeks
to improve productivity. If not, we would still see rows of scribes with quill pens
rather than computers in offices.

Welding is a traditional process, but the equipment and control available today
make even the set-up of ten years ago obsolete. This course will place recently
developed processes and newer equipment types and controls in context with
traditional units. It will teach you how to judge true advances and their benefit
to your company.

My company just wants me to be IIW/EWF qualified so that I can sign the

paperwork, do I really need this knowledge?

Companies do have short-term goals and getting someone qualified as a

welding co-ordinator is an admirable one, but this shows that it is working on
contracts that demand that welding is taken seriously as a special process.

Having succeeded with the first of such contracts, your company will surely look
to take on more. A welding co-ordinator does far more than sign the paperwork
and will play a big part in determining the success of future contracts of ever
increasing technological and quality demands.

This module will give you the confidence to speak with authority on fabrication
techniques to be used and the cost-effectiveness of welding processes at your

What will I be able to do at the end of this course that I can’t do now?

This is a tricky one, as everyone has different skills coming into the course and
different requirements that they wish to gain from it. However, even if you are
on top of the game with regard to the applications you see every day in your
job, exposure to the requirements and decisions from other quarters can only
be of benefit. Who knows, maybe laser cutting or friction stir welding is the next
logical step for your company with regard to cost and quality improvement.

This module will give you details of a wide range of processes available for
many different types of material.

So, in a nutshell, what’s in it for me?

The acquisition of knowledge about your speciality is never wasted. Even if you
don’t use all that you learn on this course immediately, your awareness will be
raised so that you will remember where to look for information when
circumstances demand it.

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Objectives Copyright © TWI Ltd 2015
If your company develops opportunities in applications and materials currently
unfamiliar, you will be in a position to come to terms rapidly with any new
approaches necessary.

Whilst we recognise that you are likely to be sponsored by your company

against a company objective, we should also point out that your personal
development and the gaining of professional qualifications is of great benefit to
you, the individual, as you follow your career path.

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Objectives Copyright © TWI Ltd 2015
Section 1
General Introduction to Welding
1 General Introduction to Welding
1.1 Introduction
Welding and joining, like any other technologies, have their own terminology
and are liberally endowed with abbreviations and acronyms, but these soon
become familiar. In this section we give the definitions of basic terms.

1.2 Joining methods

Joining is the most general term used to refer to any process or procedure by
which two or more separate pieces of material are physically attached to each
other so as to create a single larger piece.

1.2.1 Welding
Welding is defined as an operation in which two or more parts are united by
means of heat or pressure or both, in such a way that there is continuity in the
nature of the metal between these parts.

Many materials such as metals, plastics and ceramics may be welded though
some require the use of specific processes and techniques and a number are
considered unweldable, a term not usually found in dictionaries but useful and
descriptive in engineering.

The parts that are joined are termed parent material and any material added
to help form the join is called filler or consumable. The form of these
materials may see them referred to as parent plate or pipe, filler wire,
consumable electrode (for arc welding), etc. Consumables are usually chosen
to be similar in composition to the parent material thus forming a
homogenous weld but there are occasions, such as when welding brittle cast
irons, when a filler with very different composition and therefore properties is
used, such welds are called heterogeneous.
The completed welded joint may be referred to as a weldment.

1.2.2 Brazing
A process of joining generally applied to metals in which, during or after
heating, molten filler metal is drawn into or retained in the space between
closely adjacent surfaces of the parts to be joined by capillary attraction. In
general, the melting point of the filler metal is above 450oC but always below
the melting temperature of the parent material.

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General Introduction to Welding 1-2 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
The composition of the filler for brazing is often very different from parent
material; for instance, steel may be brazed with a copper alloy filler.

1.2.3 Soldering
A similar process to brazing, relying on capillary attraction to draw molten filler
into a gap between parts that remain solid throughout. Solders melt at low
temperatures – less than 450ºC. For steel and copper, solders are usually alloys
of tin.

1.3 Welding processes

Welding processes fall into two groups – those in which fusion takes place and
those that achieve solid state bonding.

Fusion welding includes oxy-fuel gas welding (OFW); manual metal(lic)

arc (MMA); metal inert/active gas (MIG/MAG); flux-cored arc welding
(FCAW); tungsten inert gas (TIG); submerged arc welding (SAW);
electron beam welding (EBW); laser welding (laser is an acronym: light
amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) and others. United States
codes and standards use different terminology and abbreviations for these

MMA – shielded metal arc welding (SMAW)

MIG/MAG – gas metal arc welding (GMAW)
TIG – gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW)
Laser – laser beam welding (LBW)

Solid state processes do not involve melting because some materials can be
permanently welded together by pressure if in a suitably malleable state. This
may require the application of some heat, eg forge welding as carried out by
blacksmiths and friction welding in its many forms. Explosive welding; cold
pressure welding and ultrasonic welding are examples of welding processes
in which heat is not deliberately generated.

The most common of the above mentioned welding processes are described in
these notes and some further ones are given in the Advanced Welding
Processes notes, but neither attempts to give an exhaustive listing of all of the
welding processes that have been demonstrated.

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General Introduction to Welding 1-3 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
1.4 Joint configuration
The table below defines some of the more common configurations:
Type of Sketch Definition
A connection between the ends or
edges of two parts making an angle
Butt joint
to one another of 135-180° inclusive
in the region of the joint.
A connection between the end or
edge of one part and the face of the
other part, the parts making an
T joint
angle to one another of more than 5
up to and including 90° in the region
of the joint.
A connection between the ends or
edges of two parts making an angle
Corner to one another of more than 30 but
joint less than 135° in the region of the

A connection between the edges of

two parts making an angle to one
Edge joint another of 0 to 30° inclusive in the
region of the joint.

A connection in which two flat plates

or two bars are welded to another
flat plate at right angles and on the
same axis.

A connection between two

overlapping parts making an angle
Lap joint
to one another of 0-5° inclusive in
the region of the weld or welds.

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General Introduction to Welding 1-4 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
1.5 Types of weld
1.5.1 Based on configuration

Butt weld Fillet weld

Slot weld
Joint between two overlapping components made by depositing a fillet weld
round the periphery of a hole in one component so as to join it to the surface of
the other component exposed through the hole.

Plug weld
Weld made by filling a hole in one component of a workpiece with filler metal so
as to join it to the surface of an overlapping component exposed through the
hole (the hole can be circular or oval).

Based on penetration

Full penetration weld

Welded joint where the weld metal fully penetrates the joint with complete root
fusion. In US the preferred term is complete joint penetration weld (CJP, see
AWS D1.1).

Partial penetration weld

Weld in which the fusion penetration is intentionally less than full penetration.
In the US the preferred term is partial joint penetration weld (PJP).

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General Introduction to Welding 1-5 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
1.5.2 Based on accessibility

Single side weld

Double side weld

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General Introduction to Welding 1-6 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
1.6 Features of the completed weld

Butt weld

Fillet weld

Parent metal
Metal to be joined or surfaced by welding, braze welding or brazing.

Filler metal
Metal added during welding; braze welding, brazing or surfacing.

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General Introduction to Welding 1-7 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Weld metal
All metal melted during the making of a weld and retained in the weld.
Heat affected zone (HAZ)
The part of the parent metal metallurgically affected by the heat of welding or
thermal cutting, but not melted.
Fusion line
Boundary between the weld metal and the HAZ in a fusion weld. This is a non-
standard term for weld junction.
Weld zone
Zone containing the weld metal and the HAZ.
Weld face
The surface of a fusion weld exposed on the side from which the weld has been
Weld root
Zone on the side of the first run furthest from the welder.
Weld toe
Boundary between a weld face and the parent metal or between runs. This is a
very important feature of a weld since toes are points of high stress
concentration and often they are initiation points for different types of cracks
(eg fatigue cracks, cold cracks). In order to reduce the stress concentration,
toes must blend smoothly into the parent metal surface.
Excess weld metal
Weld metal lying outside the plane joining the toes. Other non-standard terms
for this feature: reinforcement, overfill. Note: the term reinforcement, although
commonly used, is inappropriate because any excess weld metal over and
above the surface of the parent metal does not make the joint stronger. In fact,
the thickness considered when designing a welded component is the design
throat thickness, which does not include the excess weld metal.

Run (pass)
The metal melted or deposited during one passage of an electrode, torch or

Single run weld Multi run weld

Stratum of weld metal consisting of one or more runs.
1.7 Weld preparation
Preparation for making a connection where the individual components, suitably
prepared and assembled, are joined by welding or brazing.

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General Introduction to Welding 1-8 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
1.7.1 Features of weld preparation
Angle of bevel
Angle at which the edge of a component is prepared for making a weld.
For an MMA weld on carbon steel plates, the angle is typically:

25-30° for a V preparation.

8-12° for a U preparation.
40-50° for a single bevel preparation.
10-20° for a J preparation
Included angle
Angle between the planes of the fusion faces of parts to be welded. In the case
of single V or U and double V or U this angle is twice the bevel angle. In the
case of single or double bevel, single or double J bevel, the included angle is
equal to the bevel angle.

Root face
The portion of a fusion face at the root that is not bevelled or grooved. Its value
depends on the welding process used, parent material to be welded and
application; for a full penetration weld on carbon steel plates, it typically is
around 1-2mm (for the common welding processes).
Minimum distance at any cross-section between edges ends or surfaces to be
joined. Its value depends on the welding process used and application; for a full
penetration weld on carbon steel plates, it is usually 1-4mm.

Root radius
The radius of the curved portion of the fusion face in a component prepared for
a single J or U, double J or U weld. In case of MMA, MIG/MAG and oxy-fuel gas
welding on carbon steel plates, typical root radii are 6mm for single and double
U preparations and 8mm for single and double J preparations.
The straight portion of a fusion face between the root face and the curved part
of a J or U preparation. It is not essential to have a land but it is usually present
in weld preparations for MIG welding of aluminium alloys.

1.8 Types of preparation

1.8.1 Open square butt preparation

This preparation is used for welding thin components, either from one or both
sides. If the root gap is zero (ie if components are in contact), this preparation
becomes a closed square butt preparation (not recommended due to the lack of
penetration problems)! The exception to this is submerged arc welding, where
this preparation is used.

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General Introduction to Welding 1-9 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
1.8.2 Single V preparation

The V preparation is one of the most common preparations used in welding; it

can be produced using flame or plasma cutting (cheap and fast).

1.8.3 Double V preparation

For thicker plates a double V preparation is preferred since it requires less filler
material to complete the joint and the residual stresses can be balanced on
both sides of the joint resulting in lower angular distortion.

The depth of preparation can be the same on both sides (symmetric double V
preparation) or can be deeper on one side compared with the opposite side
(asymmetric double V preparation). Usually, in this situation the depth of
preparation is distributed as 2/3 of the thickness of the plate on the first side
with the remaining 1/3 on the backside. This asymmetric preparation allows for
a balanced welding sequence with root back gouging, giving lower angular
distortions. Whilst single V preparation allows welding from one side, double V
preparation requires access to both sides (the same applies for all double side

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1.8.4 Single U preparation

U preparation can be produced only by machining (slow and expensive).

However, tighter tolerances obtained in this case provide for a better fit-up than
in the case of V preparations. Usually it is applied to thicker plates as it requires
less filler material to complete the joint compared with single V preparation and
this leads to lower residual stresses and distortions.

Double U preparation

As with V preparation, in the case of very thick sections a double U preparation

can be used. Usually this type of preparation does not require a land, except for
aluminium alloys.

Single V preparation with backing strip

Backing strips allow the production of full penetration welds with increased
current and hence increased deposition rates/productivity without the danger of
burn-through. Backing strips can be permanent or temporary. Permanent types
are made of the same material as being joined and are tack welded in place.
The main problems related to this type of weld are poor fatigue resistance and
the probability of crevice corrosion between the parent metal and the backing
strip. It is also difficult to examine by NDT due to the built-in crevice at the root
of the joint. Temporary types include copper strips, ceramic tiles and fluxes.

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General Introduction to Welding 1-11 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
For further details regarding weld preparations, refer to Standard BS EN ISO

1.9 Size of butt welds

Full penetration butt weld

Partial penetration butt weld

As a general rule:
Actual throat thickness = design throat thickness + excess weld metal.
Full penetration butt weld ground flush

Actual throat
thickness = design
throat thickness

Butt weld between two plates of different thickness

1.10 Size of fillet welds

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General Introduction to Welding 1-12 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
1.11 Welding position, slope, rotation and weaving
Welding position
The orientation of a weld expressed in terms of working position, weld slope
and weld rotation (for further details, see BS EN ISO 6947).
Welding Definition and symbol according
position to BS EN ISO 6947

A welding position in which the

welding is horizontal, with the
centreline of the weld vertical.

A welding position in which the

welding is horizontal (applicable
in case of fillet welds). PB

A welding position in which the

welding is horizontal, with the
centreline of the weld
horizontal. PC

A welding position in which the

welding is upwards. PF

A welding position in which the

welding is downwards. PG

A welding position in which the

Horizontal- welding is horizontal and
overhead overhead (applicable in case of
fillet welds). PD

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Weld slope
The angle between root line and the positive X axis of the horizontal reference
plane, measured in mathematically positive direction (ie counter-clockwise).

Weld rotation

The angle between the centreline of the weld and the positive Z axis or a line
parallel to the Y axis, measured in the mathematically positive direction (ie
counter-clockwise) in the plane of the transverse cross-section of the weld in

Transverse oscillation of an electrode or blowpipe nozzle during the deposition
of weld metal, generally used in vertical-up welds.

Stringer bead
A run of weld metal made with little or no weaving motion.

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IWS questions on general introduction

1 Sketch a double bevel T butt weld with full penetration and superimposed mitre fillet

2 Sketch a single V butt weld and indicate the features.

3 Sketch a double J butt weld.

4 Indicate the typical excess weld metal dimension on a butt weld in 6mm thick

5 The abbreviation MMA stands for?

6 Sketch actual throat thickness compared with design throat thickness.

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Section 2

Fabrication Standards
2 Fabrication Standards
Application standards and codes of practice ensure that a structure or
component will have an acceptable level of quality and be fit for the intended

The requirements for standards on welding procedure and welder approval are
explained below. It should be noted that the term approval is used in European
standards in the context of both testing and documentation. The equivalent
term in the ASME standard is qualification.

A standard has also been constructed that gives a unique number to a welding
process. This is also described below.

2.1 Application standards and codes

There are essentially three types of standards that are referenced in fabrication:

 Application and design.

 Specification and approval of welding procedures.
 Approval of welders.

There are also specific standards covering material specifications, consumables,

welding equipment and health and safety. British Standards are used to specify
the requirements, for example, in approving a welding procedure, they are not
a legal requirement but may be cited by the Regulatory Authority as a means of
satisfying the law. Health and Safety guidance documents and codes of practice
may also recommend standards.

Codes of practice differ from standards in that they are intended to give
recommendations and guidance, for example, on the validation of power
sources for welding. It is not intended that they should be used as a mandatory
or contractual documents.

Most fabricators will be working to one of the following:

 Company or industry specific standards.

 National British Standard (BS).
 European British Standard European Standard (BS EN).
 US American Welding Society (AWS) and American Society of Mechanical
Engineers (ASME).
 International Standards Organisation (ISO).

In European countries, national standards are being replaced by EN and ISO

standards. However, when there is no equivalent EN standard, the National
standard can be used. For example, the BS EN 287 and BS EN ISO 9606 series
replaced BS 4871, but BS 4871 Part 3 and 4872 Part 1 remain as a valid

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Examples of application codes and standards and related welding procedure and
welder approval standards are listed below:

Application Welding procedure Welder approval

code/standard approval
BS 5276 BS EN ISO 15614 BS EN 287
BS PD 5500 ASME Section IX BS EN ISO 9606
ASME Section VIII ASME Section IX
BS 2633 BS EN ISO 15614 BS EN 287
Process BS 2971 ASME IX BS 4872
pipework BS 4677 BS EN ISO 9606
ASME B31.1/B31.3 ASME IX
BS EN 1090 BS EN ISO 15614 BS EN 287
BS 8118 AWS D1.1/ D1.2/ BS 4872
AWS D1.1/ D1.2/ D1.6 BS EN ISO 9606
D1.6 AWS D1.1/ D1.2/
BS EN 12285 BS EN ISO 15614 BS EN 287
BS EN 14015 ASME IX BS EN ISO 9606
API 620/650 ASME IX

2.2 Approval of welding procedures and welders

An application standard or code of practice will include requirements or
guidelines on material, design of joint, welding process, welding procedure,
welder qualification and inspection or may invoke other standards, for example
for welding procedure and welder approval tests. The requirements for
approvals are determined by the relevant application standard or as a condition
of contract. The manufacturer will normally be required to approve the welding
procedure and welder qualification, or to have it witnessed by an independent
inspection authority.

Welding procedure approval test

Carried out by a competent welder and the quality of the weld is assessed using
non-destructive and mechanical testing techniques. The intention is to
demonstrate that the proposed welding procedure will produce a welded joint
that will satisfy the specified requirements of weld quality and mechanical

As shown in the table above, welding procedure approval is carried out

according to BS EN 15614 series (different parts correspond to different fusion
welding processes), Section IX of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code,
and other codes such as AWS D1.1 for structural welding. DNV-OS-F101
(offshore structures) includes requirements for welding procedure qualification.

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Welder approval test
Examines a welder's skill and ability at producing a satisfactory test weld. The
test may be performed with or without a qualified welding procedure. (Note,
without an approved welding procedure the welding parameters must be

BS EN 287, BS ISO EN 9606 and ASME Section IX would be appropriate for

welders on high quality work such as pressure vessels, pressure vessel piping
and off-shore structures. They are also used for other products where the
consequences of failure, stress levels or complexity mean that a high level of
welded joint integrity is essential. In less demanding situations, such as small
to medium building frames and general light structural and non-structural work,
an approved welding procedure may not be necessary. However, to ensure an
adequate level of skill, welders are often approved to a less stringent standard,
eg BS 4872.

Coded welder is an expression often used to denote an approved welder but the
term is not recognised in any of the standards. However, it is used in the
workplace to describe those welders whose skill and technical competence have
been approved to the requirements of an appropriate standard.

2.3 Process terminology

The European standard, BS EN ISO 4063:2000 Welding and allied
processes - Nomenclature of processes and reference numbers, assigns
a unique number to the main welding processes. These are grouped as follows:

 Arc welding.
 Resistance welding.
 Gas welding.
 Forge welding.
 Other welding processes.
 Brazing, soldering and braze welding.

Each process is identified within the group by a numerical index or reference

number. For example, the MIG welding process has a reference number of 131
which is derived as follows:

1 Arc welding.
2 Gas-shielded metal arc welding.
3 Metal arc inert gas welding.

The main arc welding process reference numbers are:

111 Manual metal arc welding.

114 Self-shielded tubular-cored arc welding.
121 Submerged arc welding with one wire electrode.
125 Submerged arc welding with tubular cored electrode.
131 Metal inert gas welding (MIG welding).
135 Metal active gas welding (MAG welding).
136 Tubular cored metal arc welding with active gas shield.
141 Tungsten inert gas arc welding (TIG welding).
15 Plasma arc welding.

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Prelims 2-3 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Revision questions on standards

1 What is the purpose of a welding procedure approval test?

2 What is the purpose of a welder approval test?

3 What is the difference between a Standard and a Code of Practice?

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Prelims 2-4 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Section 3

Welding Symbols
3 Welding Symbols
Weld symbols are a simple way of communicating design office details to the
variety of shop floor personnel eg welders, supervisors and inspectors, in a
consistent manner. Non-company staff such as sub-contractors and insurers
may also need to interpret the engineering drawings. It is essential therefore
that everyone should have a full understanding of the system of weld symbols
in use to ensure that the design requirement is met.

3.1 Standards
The most common international standards for weld symbols are the ISO
2553/European EN 22553, published in the UK as BS EN 22553 and the
American AWS/ANSI A2.4. Most of the details are the same, but it is essential
that everyone concerned knows the standard to be used.

The UK traditionally used BS 499-2 to define weld symbols which was

superseded by BS EN 22553. Confusingly, the BSI still publishes BS 499-1
containing weld symbols as well as other terminology for welding and a chart,
BS 499-2C that shows the symbols pictorially.

3.2 Basic representation

All the standards use a reference line plus an arrow line and head placed at an
angle to the reference line, viz:

The V-shaped tail is optional as it is used to show the welding process, in

Europe with the reference numbers defined in BS EN ISO 4093. If only one
process is to be used throughout the construction, this can be shown once on
the drawing rather than repeated for each weld.

The reference line has a parallel dotted line to show the other side. This is a
refinement introduced in the European standard that is not present in the
American one. In AWS A2.4, the top of the line is always the near side and
information attached to the underside represents the far side. On these two
lines (or two sides if a single line is used) symbols are placed representing the
weld preparation on the near and, if appropriate, far side of the joint line.

The arrow line can be at any angle (except 180o) and can point up or down. The
arrow head must touch the drawn surfaces of the components to be joined at
the location of the weld.

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Welding Symbols 3-1 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
3.3 Edge preparation symbols
To the basic set-up of the arrow and reference line, the design draughtsperson
can apply the appropriate symbol, or symbols for more complex situations.

The symbols, in particular for arc and gas welding, are shown as simplified
cross sectional representations of either a joint design or a completed weld, as
shown below:

Supplementary symbols are added to the edge preparation to show the shape
of the finished bead profile:

Aspects of welding not immediately apparent from the basic symbols can be
added as complementary symbols:

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Welding Symbols 3-2 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
3.4 Weld sizing
So that the correct size of weld can be applied, it is common to find numbers to
either the left or to the right of the symbol.

For fillet welds, numbers to the left of the symbol indicate the design throat
thickness, leg length, or both design throat thickness and leg length
requirements. Numbers to the right of the symbol show the length of the weld
and where the welding is intermittent, the number of welds to be made in the

As per ISO 2553/EN 22553:

a = Design throat thickness.

z = Leg length.
s = Penetration throat thickness.

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Welding Symbols 3-3 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
The large Z through the reference line shows that intermittent weld beads are
placed in a staggered arrangement on either side of the component.

When there are no specific dimensional requirements specified on the weld

symbol, it would normally be assumed that the requirement is for a full
penetration, full length weld.

Summary of information on symbols.

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Welding Symbols 3-4 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
IWS questions on weld symbols

1 What is the symbol for:

 Weld all round.
 Single bevel butt weld.
 Site weld.

2 Draw an indication for a fillet on the near side.

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Welding Symbols 3-5 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Section 4

Introduction to Fusion Welding

4 Introduction to Fusion Welding
4.1 Creation and protection of weld pool
Fusion welding requires a source of heat sufficient to melt both parent plate and
filler and a means of protecting the molten material from unwanted chemical
reactions with the atmosphere.
Heat may be provided by a flame, electric arc or resistance or a power beam.
Protection from reactions with oxygen and nitrogen in air may be achieved by
placing the pieces in a vacuum or controlled atmosphere or more usually by
providing local cover from a shielding gas or flux. In some processes, such as
flux-cored wire welding a combination of gas and flux may be used.

TIG welding.

MMA welding; Welding flux operates in two ways to protect weld metal. It forms
a gas around the arc that keeps air away from the pool and creates a slag that
freezes (usually at a similar temperature to the metal) and protects the
solidified, but still hot and reactive, metal from oxidation.

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Gas shielding is usually with an inert gas, argon or helium, protecting the pool
and adjacent hot metal from oxidation, but there is no protection for the still
hot solid metal beyond the range of the gas flowing from the nozzle. A thin
layer of oxide therefore often tarnishes MIG and TIG welds. Some metals,
notably titanium, cannot accept exposure to air whilst hot, even if solidified, so
require extra, trailing shields to provide gas coverage until the metal has
dropped temperature considerably.

Carbon and C-Mn steels do not oxidise rapidly so the protective gas can be
active rather than inert, usually carbon dioxide or an Ar-CO2 mixture and the
process is then often referred to metal active gas (MAG).

4.2 Direction of welding

When welding with a manual technique, the torch is very rarely held upright
over the weld pool. It is usually inclined in the line of the welding direction, with
the tip either pointing away from the previously deposited weld metal or
towards it.

For a right handed person, the usual method is to move the torch or electrode
from right to left, with the torch/electrode pointing in the direction of travel.
This is often referred to as the pushing technique and results in a fairly smooth
weld profile. There are occasions where it is advantageous to weld in the
opposite direction using a dragging technique and this gives deeper penetration
but at the expense of a more convex weld profile.

When using the oxy-acetylene process the movement is usually similar and is
referred to as the leftward technique. However for oxy-acetylene pipe welding a
technique known as all positional rightward may sometimes be used, where the
filler wire is fed into the weld behind the weld pool. This allows greater
deposition (compared with leftward) but is again at the expense of weld
appearance, which will be coarser than a leftward weld.

4.3 Bead shape

If welding progresses directly in a straight line with no sideways movement, a
stringer bead is laid.

The weld bead is the same width as the molten weld pool. If travel speed
increases, the weld pool will become elongated in the direction of travel and
narrower in width. The resultant stringer bead will also be narrower. If the
current is insufficient for the travel speed adopted, there may be only limited
melting of the parent plate resulting in a bulbous cross-section bead and, in the
extreme, lack of fusion.

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Introduction to Fusion Welding 4-2 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Conversely, excessive current will lead to the pool being pushed into the surface
of the plate and on freezing grooves will be left at either side of the bead,
termed undercut.

The welder can deliberately move the torch from side-to-side during the laying
of a bead, called weaving.

This has the advantage of dwelling at the edges of the bead giving more time to
melt the parent plate. It can achieve a better blend of the bead shape to the
parent plate surface and can be used by a skilled welder to bridge larger than
expected root gaps. It is particularly used for vertical up welding but care must
be taken to keep the depth of bead to only a few millimetres.

It is possible to use a wide, triangular weave technique when working in the

vertical position, often known as blocking out. This should be exercised with
caution as the very high heat input associated with it can cause deterioration of
the mechanical properties of the parent material. It is often thought that
blocking out is faster than using a stringer bead technique, but this is an
incorrect. The deposition rate is controlled by the welding current or wire feed
speed, not the movement of the torch.

It is important to attempt to achieve a smooth profile change from the weld

bead to the surface of the parent plate as sharp discontinuities create stress
raisers from which defects such as hydrogen or fatigue cracks may initiate.

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Introduction to Fusion Welding 4-3 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
IWS questions on fusion welding Introduction and safety

1 What are the essential requirements to achieve a successful weld?

2 Describe stringer beads, weaving and blocking.

3 What is the effect of excess current?

4 List the general safety aspects required for welding.

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Introduction to Fusion Welding 4-4 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Section 5

Arc Welding Safety

5 Arc Welding Safety
Working in a safe manner, whether in the workshop or on site, is an important
consideration in any welding operation. The responsibility for safety is on all
individuals but especially for welders, not only their own safety but also to avoid
endangering other people. The welding co-ordinator has an important function
in ensuring that safe working legislation is in place and safe working practices
are implemented.

The co-ordinator should ensure compliance with all appropriate documents, for

 Government legislation – The Health & Safety at Work Act.

 Health & Safety Executive – COSHH Regulations, statutory instruments.
 British Standards – OHSAS 18001.
 Company health and safety management systems.
 Work instructions – permits to work, risk assessment documents, etc.
 Local authority requirements.

There are many aspects of arc welding safety that the co-ordinator needs to

 Electric shock.
 Heat and light.
 Fumes and gases.
 Noise.
 Gas cylinder handling and storage.
 Working at height or in restricted access.
 Mechanical hazards: trips, falls, cuts, impact from heavy objects.

To find out if welders and other operatives are at risk the co-ordinator needs to
consider the working conditions. The Management of Health and Safety at Work
Regulations 1999 require employers assess the risks to health of employees
arising from their work. The actions arising from the risk assessment are
dictated by other more detailed regulations, eg the Control of Substances
Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2004.

The following sections give guidance on risk avoidance but continuous effort on
improvements to precautions and working conditions is essential for the
wellbeing of the workforce.

5.1 Electric shock

Contact with metal parts which are electrically live can cause injury or death
because of the effect of the shock upon the body or because of a fall as a result
of the reaction to electric shock. The electric shock hazard associated with arc
welding may be either from the primary 230 or 460V mains supply or from the
output voltage at 60-100V. Primary voltage shock is very hazardous because it
is much greater than the secondary voltage of the welding equipment. Electric
shock from the input voltage can occur by touching a lead inside the welding
equipment with the power to the welder switched on while the body or hand
touches the welding equipment case or other earthed metal. Because of such
hazards, only a qualified electrician should remove the casing of a welding
power source. Residual circuit devices (RCDs) connected to circuit breakers of
sufficient capacity will help to protect personnel from the danger of primary
electric shock.

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Arc Welding Safety 5-1 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
The transformed power is available from terminals on the front of the welding
set. Heavy duty cables are attached to these terminals to carry the welding
current to the torch or electrode holder and to bring a return path from the
work or metal workbench to the other terminal. This return is often referred to
as the earth or ground and there may be secondary earthing arranged so that
the work is at zero volts. Secondary voltage shock occurs when touching a part
of the electrode circuit – perhaps the jaws of an MMA electrode holder or a
damaged area on the electrode cable – while another part of the body touches
the other side of the welding circuit (the work or welding earth) at the same

Whilst most welding equipment is unlikely to exceed an OCV of 100V, electric

shock, even at this level, can be serious. The welding circuit should be fitted
with low voltage safety devices to minimise the potential of secondary electric

It is important that the welding cables can carry the maximum possible output
of the welding set without overheating as this can damage the insulation,
leading to an increased risk of electrical shock.
TWI Job Knowledge No 29, available from the TWI website (www.twi.co.uk)
gives more guidance on avoiding electric shock during welding.

5.2 Heat
As arc welding relies on melting metal to affect a joint, it follows that the metal
will in part be very hot. All metals conduct heat to a greater or lesser degree so
the area heated to a temperature that will cause skin burns is very much larger
than the weld bead itself. It is a wise precaution to assume that all metal on a
welding workbench or adjacent to a site weld is hot. Temperature indicating
sticks should be used to check that material is cool enough to handle. Patting
metal with the bare hand to check its temperature is a way of being burnt!

The welding arc creates sparks with potential to cause flammable materials
near the welding area to ignite and cause fires. The welding area should be
clear of all combustible materials and is good practice for all personnel working
in the vicinity of welding to know where the nearest fire extinguishers are and
the correct type of fire extinguisher to use if a fire does break out.

Welding may also produce spatter, globules of molten metal expelled from the
weld area which can cause serious burns, so protective clothing, such as
welding gloves, flame retardant coveralls and leathers must be worn around
any welding operation to protect against heat and sparks. It is most important
that traps in clothing are avoided. Trousers should not have turn-ups nor be
tucked into boots – very serious injury can occur if spatter drops inside a work

Radiant heat from welding can be quite intense, particularly when welding at
high current and duty cycle. Sufficient air movement is required to keep the
welder at a sensible temperature, especially important when working in
restricted access areas where reflected heat will intensify the effect. Welders
should also take water regularly to avoid potential dehydration.

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5.3 Light
Light radiation is emitted by the welding arc in three principal ranges:

Infra-red (heat) >700
Visible light 400-700
Ultra-violet <400

5.3.1 Ultra-violet radiation (UV)

All arc processes generate UV and excess exposure causes skin inflammation
and possibly even skin cancer or permanent eye damage. However, the main
risk amongst welders and Inspectors is inflammation of the cornea and
conjunctiva, commonly known as arc eye or flash.

Arc eye is caused by UV radiation which damages the outmost protective layer
of cells in the cornea. Gradually the damaged cells die and fall off the cornea
exposing highly sensitive nerves in the underlying cornea to the comparatively
rough inner part of the eyelid. This causes intense pain, usually described as
sand in the eye. The pain becomes even more acute if the eye is then exposed
to bright light.

Arc eye develops some hours after exposure, which may not even have been
noticed. The sand in the eye symptom and pain usually lasts for 12-24 hours,
but can be longer in more severe cases. Fortunately, arc eye is almost always a
temporary condition. In the unlikely event of prolonged and frequently repeated
exposures, permanent damage can occur.

Treatment of arc eye is simple: rest in a dark room. A qualified person or

hospital casualty department can administer various soothing anaesthetic eye
drops which can provide almost instantaneous relief. Prevention is better than
cure and wearing safety glasses with side shields will considerably reduce the
risk of this condition. The welder, of course, should always have a full face
screen with the approved shade of protective lens for the process in hand.

5.3.2 Ultra-violet effects upon the skin

The UV from arc processes does not produce an attractive browning effect of
suntan; but results in acute reddening and irritation caused by changes in the
minute surface blood vessels. In extreme cases, the skin may be severely
burned and blisters form. The reddened skin may die and flake off in a day or
so. Where there has been intense prolonged or frequent exposure, skin cancers
can develop.

5.3.3 Visible light

Intense visible light particularly approaching UV or blue light wavelengths
passes through the cornea and lens and can dazzle and in extreme cases
damage the network of optically sensitive nerves on the retina. Wavelengths of
visible light approaching the infra-red have slightly different effects but can
produce similar symptoms. Effects depend on the duration and intensity of
exposure and to some extent, upon the individual's natural reflex action to close
the eye and exclude the incident light. Normally this dazzling does not produce
a long-term effect.

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Arc Welding Safety 5-3 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
5.3.4 Infra-red radiation (IR)
Infra-red radiation is of longer wavelength than the visible light frequencies and
is perceptible as heat. The main hazard to the eyes is that prolonged exposure
(over a matter of years) causes a gradual but irreversible opacity of the lens.
Fortunately, the IR radiation emitted by normal welding arcs causes damage
only within a comparatively short distance from the arc. There is an immediate
burning sensation in the skin surrounding the eyes should they be exposed to
arc heat. The natural human reaction is to move or cover up to prevent the skin
heating, which also reduces eye exposure.

BS EN169 specifies a range of permanent filter shades of gradually increasing

optical density which limit exposure to radiation emitted by different processes
at different currents. Many welders use helmets with filter glasses that react to
light and darken as soon as the arc is struck with the advantage that the welder
has clear vision through non-shaded glass at all times except when the arc is
struck and the protective filter is induced.

5.4 Fumes and gases

Fume is a mixture of particles generated by vaporisation, condensation and
oxidation of substances transferred through the welding arc. The particles are
very small and remain suspended in the air for long periods, where they may be
breathed. Small particles are respirable which means that they may penetrate
the innermost regions of the lung where they have the most potential to do
harm. If inhaled, welding fume may be hazardous to health and must be
controlled to limits laid down by regulations.

Toxic gases may also be generated during welding and cutting. Gases
encountered in welding may be:

 Fuel gases which on combustion form carbon dioxide and if the flame is
reducing, carbon monoxide.
 Shielding gases such as argon, helium and carbon dioxide, either alone or in
mixtures with oxygen or hydrogen.
 Carbon dioxide and monoxide produced by the action of heat on the welding
flux or slag.
 Nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone produced by the action of heat or
ultra-violet radiation on the atmosphere surrounding the welding arc.
 Gases from the degradation of solvent vapours or surface contaminants on
the metal.

The degree of risk to the welder's health from fume/gases will depend on:

 Composition.
 Concentration.
 Length of exposure.

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Arc Welding Safety 5-4 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
It is essential to know the type of parent plate, together with any coating and
the composition of the fume generated. This is because different fume
components vary in toxicity. The limits to which welding fume and its
component parts must be controlled are provided in Guidance Note EH40
Workplace Exposure Limits available from the Health and Safety Executive
(HSE). This is updated annually.

In 2005, a single type of occupational exposure limit known as the workplace

exposure limit or WEL was introduced. The underlying principle is to have a
single criterion for exposure to airborne hazards. However, welding fume is an
insufficiently precise term to be given a WEL. Individual components must be

5.4.1 What's in the fume?

Exposure to fume may be measured according to the methodology defined in
BS EN ISO 10882-2: 2000. Account must be taken of the exposure limits of the
individual fume constituents. For example, iron oxide, limestone, titanium
dioxide have WEL of 4 or 5mg/m3. They may therefore be taken to be similarly
hazardous to any dust - not specifically causing a medical condition but needing
control to ensure proper lung function.

Some components of fume have lower WEL, manganese, trivalent chromium

and soluble barium are set at 0.5mg/m3, copper at 0.2mg/m3 but hexavalent
chromium compounds and nickel oxide are potential carcinogens and pose
greater health risks at lower concentrations. Nickel and its water-insoluble
compounds have WEL of 0.5mg/m3 and hexavalent chromium compounds only
0.05mg/m3. These exposures are over a time-weighted average reference
period of 8 hours.

Clearly, welding stainless steel, likely to generate both nickel and chromium in
the fume, poses a very different set of conditions than welding mild steel.

5.4.2 What about gases?

For gas shielded welding processes such as TIG, MIG/MAG, FCAW, shielding
gases may be inert gases, such as argon, helium and nitrogen, or argon-based
mixtures containing carbon dioxide, oxygen or both. Helium may be added to
argon/carbon dioxide mixtures to improve productivity. Carbon dioxide (CO2)
may be used, on its own, in MAG and FCAW. With the exception of CO2, these
gases are not defined as hazardous to health under the COSHH Regulations but
they are asphyxiants. None of the gases can be seen or smelt so their presence
in hazardous concentrations is difficult to detect without prior knowledge or
measuring equipment.

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The main hazard arising from exposure to shielding gases is accumulation in
confined spaces. Argon is heavier than air, so tends to collect in low areas such
as pits. Inhaling a gas, such as pure argon, which contains no oxygen, can
cause loss of consciousness in seconds.

Fatalities have occurred where welders have entered vessels or tanks where
argon has accumulated. Workers should not enter an atmosphere that contains
less than 18% oxygen.

Carbon monoxide (CO) and CO2 may be generated in fluxed welding processes
by the action of heat on flux materials such as carbonates and cellulose. In MAG
welding they can both originate from CO2 in the shielding gas, CO2 undergoing
reaction in the vicinity of the arc to form CO. Flame processes also generate CO
and CO2. The relative amounts depend on whether the flame is oxidising or
reducing, with CO present in higher concentrations when the flame is reducing.
Carbon monoxide is by far the more hazardous of the two gases. It can cause a
reduction in the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood that can be fatal. In
lower concentrations it causes headache and dizziness, nausea and weakness.
CO2 acts mainly as an asphyxiant, as indicated above. CO has a WEL of 30ppm
and CO2 is listed at 5000ppm (8 hour time weighted average). However, the
amounts of CO and CO2 generated by welding processes are small and,
generally, they do not present an exposure problem.

Nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are known collectively as nitrous
gases (NOx). NO is a severe eye, skin and mucous membrane irritant. NO2 is a
highly toxic, irritating gas. Welding generates only small amounts of nitrous
gases so exposure to NOx does not present a problem. Exposure problems may
arise during cutting activities, particularly if the cutting is hand-held, as this
places the operator closer to the emissions. Hotter flames generate higher
concentrations of nitrous gases, so using acetylene generates more nitrous
gases than using propane or natural gas. Plasma cutting with air or nitrogen
generates higher levels of nitrous gases than oxy-fuel gas cutting and there is
considerable risk of over-exposure.

Ozone can be generated by reaction between UV light from the arc and oxygen
in the air. It has a low WEL of 0.2ppm for a 15 minute reference period but in a
real situation ozone generation is usually well below the exposure limit. At the
levels of exposure to ozone found in welding the main concern is irritation of
the upper airways, characterised by coughing and tightness in the chest, but
uncontrolled exposure may lead to more severe effects, including lung damage.

5.4.3 Where is the welder's nose?

No, not the obvious answer: we need to consider the relationship of the
person's breathing zone to the concentration of fume and gas generated during
the process. To reduce the risk of hazardous fumes and gases, keep the head
out of the fume plume. As obvious as this sounds, incorrect placement of the
nose within the plume is a common cause of fume and gas over-exposure
because the concentration of fumes and gases is greatest in the plume.
Welding position is an important variable as it affects the proximity of the fume
to the welder's breathing zone and has a major effect on exposure. Welding
vertically-up usually results in the welder's head being away from the path of
the fume plume. Positions that place the welder closer to, or worst of all, above
the plume of fume lead to highest exposures, so leaning over a flat position
weld is more hazardous.

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If the welding operation is in a confined workspace accumulation of fume may
be expected to increase exposure. Similarly if the duty cycle is high the
concentration of fume in the vicinity and the time that the welder is exposed to
it, will increase.

Provision of local extraction to suck away the fume from the welder's breathing
zone is an obvious remedy. It is, indeed, quite efficacious, but only when used
correctly. It is most useful for fixed welding stations where repetitive jobs are
carried out. Here, the extraction nozzles can be placed close to the weld and
need little re-positioning. Even for applications where the welder has
considerable movement, positioning of extraction nozzles will provide adequate
protection if used correctly.

Finally, it may be necessary to wear an approved respiratory device if sufficient

ventilation cannot be provided.

As a rule of thumb, if the air is visibly clear and the welder is comfortable, the
ventilation is probably adequate.

5.4.4 Informing the workforce

Instruction must be given to ensure that employees know:

 What they must do, the precautions that must be taken and when they
must take them.
 What cleaning, storage and disposal procedures are in place, why they are
required and when they are to be carried out.
 Procedures to be followed in an emergency.

Training must be provided for the effective application and use of:

 Methods of control.
 Personal protective equipment.
 Emergency measures.

To keep such records and to inform and train a workforce may seem onerous
but it is the law and it is necessary to plan and implement these things
effectively. Do things correctly and welding is a safe operation. Ignore the
precautions and it can be very costly both for your company and your welders.

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5.5 Noise
Exposure to loud noise can permanently damage hearing, cause stress and
increase blood pressure. Working in a noisy environment for long periods can
contribute to tiredness, nervousness and irritability. If the noise exposure is
greater than 85 decibels averaged over an 8 hour period then hearing
protection must be worn and annual hearing tests carried out. The employer
has the responsibility of ensuring that workers wear the protection.

If noise levels are between 80 and 85dB averaged over 8 hours, hearing
protection must be available.

Normal welding operations are not associated with excessive noise level
problems with two exceptions: plasma arc welding and air carbon arc cutting. If
either of these two operations is to be performed then hearing protectors must
be worn. The noise associated with welding is usually due to ancillary
operations such as chipping, grinding and hammering. Hearing protection must
be worn when carrying out, or when working in the vicinity of, these operations.

5.6 Gas handling and storage

Mostly covered in the section on gas welding as the same precautions apply to
shielding gas storage and handling as for fuel gas and oxygen.

The cylinders contain gas at up to 300 bar and care must be exercised that they
cannot fall and sever the valve from the top. The sudden release of energy
turns the cylinder into a high powered missile capable of passing through block
walls. This has been demonstrated most graphically by the Discovery Channel’s
Mythbusters. A video has been posted on YouTube
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejEJGNLTo84). A more serious
approach to this potentially lethal hazard is given in a training video clip on the
same website (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHDAbM09Y1o).

Shielding gas cylinders must be in purpose-built cradles with secure chaining to

avoid any risk of toppling. A single person should not manipulate them alone as
they weigh up to 100kg and there is a real risk of loss of control. Transportation
around a fabrication shop should be in a trolley designed for the purpose.

Pressure regulators must be fitted to gas cylinders to extract the gas at a

usable pressure and must be appropriate for the job: rated at least as high as
the maximum pressure of the cylinder and designated for the specific gas.

Tubes carrying the gas to the welding torch should be pressure hoses designed
for the job. These should be checked for leaks by using diluted detergent
around all fittings. Leakage of shielding gas is not as safety critical as leakage
of fuel gas, but the weld quality can be compromised if leaks develop. For a
similar reason, hoses should be purged for some minutes prior to starting work
to eliminate any moisture adsorbed onto the inner wall.

5.7 Working at height and in restricted access areas

Welding may be used on large civil engineering sites requiring working at
considerable height. All tall buildings have a steel framework and modern
structures are invariably welded. All expected precautions for working at height
must be observed - correctly erected scaffolding, tied ladders, platforms and
walkway boards, kick boards and handrails etc – but there are specific aspects
for welding that must also be taken into account.

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There is a requirement to carry out a thorough risk assessment of any
operation and this is especially required when working at height. It may be
concluded that the risk of mishap when lifting, transporting and fixing gas
cylinders at height is too great to allow MIG or TIG welding to be used.

It is essential to know that if a welder were to receive an electric shock; his

reflex reaction away from the source would not place him at risk of a fall from
height. Guardrails on scaffolding are mandatory but, furthermore, should take
into account the increased hazard associated with welding.

Welding produces spatter and, where positional welding is required, large drops
of molten metal or slag may occur. The area immediately below welding at
height should be cordoned off to prevent other workers straying into the drop

Similarly, there are standard requirements for health and safety when working
in restricted access areas, not least of which is a risk assessment and permit to
work system. Here again, welding introduces additional hazards that must be
considered when arranging for a person to work in limited space.

Most dangerous of the hazards are those introduced by the use of gas. If gas
cutting has to be used there is a risk of un-burnt fuel gas accumulating and
creating an explosion risk. Increasing the concentration of oxygen in a limited
space is also a risk as it marked increases the flammability of material.

Shielding gases are deliberately flooded over the weld area and will remain in
the vicinity in restricted space. Argon is denser than air and will fill the space
from the floor upwards. Helium is less dense than air and will accumulate in the
roof area. Both are asphyxiants that can easily kill an operator breathing
volumes of the gases. Carbon dioxide will also suffocate a person within a few
breaths. Welders working in very confined spaces should be provided with
externally-fed helmets and should always be accompanied by a buddy who
remains outside the danger area but in close contact with the welder.

5.8 Mechanical hazards

The environment in which a welder works has a number of hazards not specific
to the welding process itself. Manual handling of heavy awkward metal
components is often required. Thinner, lighter metal sheet may have sharp
edges. Slips, trips and falls may be more likely as welding often requires thick
cables to be spread across the floor. Standard workshop safety and protection
practice should be used to counter these problems. Welders need training in
materials handling, both manual and with mechanical lifting assistance;
protective gloves, helmets, overalls and boots must be worn; cabling on the
floor should be minimised and clearly signed or marked as a trip hazard.

There are hazards that are a direct result of the joining process itself. During
welding, sparks and molten metal can be ejected. These are most common in
arc welding but can also occur in resistance processes. In mechanised
processes, guards should be used to contain the flying particles. This is not
possible in manual welding so personal protective equipment (PPE) must be
worn by the operator. All clothing should be fire resistant and use of leather
aprons, jackets, chaps, etc is recommended.

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Grinding is commonly used in preparing metal for welding and during cleaning
and rectification of deposited metal. Wheel and angle grinders are favoured
tools for their speed of removal of material but create a hazard, not only for the
operator but for adjacent and passing personnel, as the ejected material may
be thrown some distance. Obviously the operator needs adequate protection
with clothing, gloves, full-face shields and sometimes a dust mask but the
whole area also needs screening with curtains to protect others.

One of the more serious dangers is from the persistent use of vibrating hand
tools: grinders, scaling hammers, pneumatic burrs, etc which can lead to long-
term illness – hand-arm vibration syndrome, also known as white finger or dead
hand. Studies of the incidence of the condition have shown that action to
prevent physical damage may be required when the operator has as little as 30
minutes per day use of a chipping hammer.

Enter Course Title

Enter Reference

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Section 6

Gas Welding
6 Gas Welding
6.1 Oxy-acetylene welding
This is the most common gas welding process. When mixed together in correct
proportions oxygen and acetylene create a flame with a temperature of about
3,200ºC. Added to this, the chemical action of the oxy-acetylene flame can be
adjusted by changing the ratio of the volume of oxygen to acetylene.

Three distinct flame settings are used, neutral, oxidising and carburising (also
called reducing). Welding generally uses the neutral flame setting with
approximately equal parts of oxygen and acetylene. The oxidising flame is
obtained by increasing the oxygen flow rate while the carburising flame is
achieved by increasing acetylene flow rate.

Neutral flame

The neutral flame has three combustion zones. The innermost at the end of the
nozzle is the cone and has a distinct contoured nucleus with a slightly rounded
shape and glows white. This is surrounded by an almost colourless tongue and
an outer zone which has a slightly blue coloration.

Overall, the flame is mainly colourless and is characterised by a fizzling sound.

Neutral flames are used for welding carbon, alloy and stainless steels and
nonferrous alloys, for brazing steels and for preheating.
Oxidising flame

As the name suggests, this flame requires an increased proportion of oxygen

over the amount of acetylene, resulting in the innermost cone being
substantially reduced in length, most often described as short and pointed.

A second zone may be visible, as shown in the photograph above, but it is the
overall small size and sharp delineation of the flame and the strong blue, almost
violet colour, that are most noticeable.

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The oxidising flame is only used where there is a positive benefit to creating
oxide during welding. It is mostly limited to welding zinc-containing alloys.
Carburising (reducing) flame

The carburising flame requires an increased proportion of acetylene. As there is

insufficient oxygen to burn all the acetylene, the surplus continues to burn at
the outside of the flame where oxygen from the air is present, creating a flame
that is very luminous and usually is yellow-white with a large inner cone and no

The carburising flame is used for hard surfacing as it tends to increase the
carbide content in the surface layer. It is also used for welding aluminium to
avoid oxide layer build-up on the weld pool surface because its reducing action
stops aluminium oxide formation.

6.2 Equipment
Oxy-acetylene equipment is portable, easy to use and comprises oxygen and
acetylene gases stored in steel cylinders. The cylinders are fitted with regulators
and flexible hoses which lead to the blowpipe. The oxygen is stored under
pressure (up to 300bar) in a cylinder usually painted black and has a standard
right-handed thread to the regulator and hose fittings. Acetylene cannot be
stored under pressure as it is liable to explode so it is dissolved in acetone held
in a porous clay/fibre/charcoal mixture within a steel cylinder usually painted
maroon. It is fitted with left-handed threads to avoid any possibility of incorrect
assembly. The cylinders must be held in specially designed stands or carriers to
keep them upright and stable during use and storage.

Pressure reducing regulators are fitted to both the oxygen and acetylene
cylinders so that the pressure and flow of the gases can be regulated to the
torch. The torch itself has a flow valve for each gas so that the operator has
control over flame size and composition readily to hand.

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Safety devices called flashback arrestors are fitted between the hoses and the
cylinder regulators on both the oxygen and acetylene lines and are flame traps
designed to prevent flames generated by a flashback from reaching the
cylinders. Flashbacks can occur if the gas flow is insufficient to prevent the
flame burning back into the torch, if the hoses have not been purged before
ignition or if the blowpipe nozzle is overheated. Non-return valves are also
fitted in the hose run to avoid any possibility of back flow due to a blocked
nozzle or other flow restriction.

A range of nozzles is available for the welding torch allowing choice of flame
size suited to the material thickness to be welded as described below.

When welding the operator must wear protective, flameproof clothing and
coloured goggles. As the flame is less intense than an arc and very little ultra-
violet light is emitted, general purpose tinted goggles provide sufficient
Operating characteristics
The oxy-acetylene flame can produce a soft or harsh action on the surface of
the material to be welded by varying the gas flow, but there are practical limits
to the type of flame that can be used for welding. A harsh forceful flame will
cause the molten weld pool to be blown away; too soft a flame will not be
stable near the point of application. The blowpipe is therefore designed to
accommodate different sizes of swan neck copper nozzle which allows the
correct intensity of flame to be used.

When carrying out fusion welding the addition of filler metal in the form of a rod
can be made when required. The techniques used in oxy-acetylene welding are
described by the direction of travel of a right-handed operator - leftward,
rightward and all-positional rightward.

Leftward welding is most commonly used and is ideally suited for butt, fillet and
lap joints in sheet thicknesses up to approximately 5mm. The rightward
technique finds application on plate thicknesses above 5mm for welding in the
flat and horizontal-vertical position. The all-positional rightward method is a
modification of the rightward technique suited to welding steel plate and
pipework where positional welding, (vertical and overhead) has to be carried
out. The rightward and all-positional rightward techniques enable the welder to
obtain a uniform penetration bead with added control over the molten weld pool
and weld metal. Moreover, the welder has a clear view of the weld pool and can
work in complete freedom of movement. These techniques are very highly
skilled and are less frequently used than the conventional leftward technique.

Equipment safety checks

Before commencing welding it is essential to inspect the condition and operation
of all equipment. As well as normal equipment and workplace safety checks,
there are specific procedures for oxy-acetylene. Operators should verify that:

 Flashback arrestors and non-return valves are present in each gas line.
 Hoses are the correct colour, blue for oxygen and red for acetylene, have no
sign of wear and should be as short as possible and not taped together.
 Regulators are the correct type for the gas.
 A cylinder key is in each cylinder (unless the cylinder has an adjusting

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 All connections are tight and not subject to leaks.
 No oil or grease has been allowed near any part of the oxygen line or
 No copper containing material is in direct contact with acetylene.

The latter two safety checks are necessary because of explosion risk. A
competent inspector should check all oxy-acetylene equipment at least annually
and regulators should be taken out of service after five years. Flashback
arrestors should be checked regularly according to the manufacturer's
instructions and, with specific designs, it may be necessary to replace the
arrestor if a flashback has occurred.

For more detailed information the following legislation and codes of practice
should be consulted:

 UK Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

 Pressure Systems and Transportable Gas Containers Regulations.
 British Compressed Gases Association, Codes of Practice.
 BOC Handbook.

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IWS Questions on Gas Welding
1 State the symptoms of a flashback and the likeliest causes.

2 State the advantages of the rightward technique over the leftward technique.

3 Describe the safety checks you would use when setting up a gas welding operation.
Include the reasons why they are required.

Enter Course Title

Enter Reference

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Section 7

Electricity as Applicable to Welding

7 Electricity as Applicable to Welding
These notes do not attempt to give an in-depth account of electricity and
electrical circuits and you are urged to research fundamental theory to acquaint
yourself with those aspects of which you are unsure. There are websites, eg
http://www.allaboutcircuits.com, that give easily understood information on
fundamentals. Wikipedia is also useful, though the reader has to appreciate that
a wiki is the product of a mass of individuals from all backgrounds and various
materials interests so not all information can be relied on as accurate. A lecture
from University of Manchester, Department of Computer Science is very useful:


We do offer some basics about electricity as applicable to welding in the

sections below.

7.1 Introduction
Electricity occurs naturally in a wide range of phenomena: lightning, the sting of
an electric eel, even the workings of your brain, yet it was only in the late 19th
century that scientists began to understand its nature and how to use it.

Some materials, eg metals, graphite, salt water, allow the passage of electricity
(ie are conductors) and many, eg wood, rock, rubber, do not and are
considered to be insulators. Although all materials are made of atoms, the
difference between conductors and insulators lies in the strength of binding of
the orbiting electrons in the atom.

7.2 Ions and electrons

When chemical compounds dissolve in water or are split in a welding arc they
form positively and negatively charged particles termed ions. An example of
this is when common salt, sodium chloride, is dissolved in water, the sodium ion
becomes positive, Na+ and is balanced by a negative charge on the chlorine
ion, Cl-.

As ions carry a charge they will be attracted to opposite charges and repelled
by like charges. So put a positive and negative charge into a solution of salt and
the Na+ will move towards the negative whilst the Cl- goes to the positive. The
importance of this will become apparent when we consider the welding arc.
Metals and other conductors do not form ions as such, but have charged
particles than can move, electrons which are negatively charged so would be
attracted to a positive, this is the basis of electricity.

7.3 Electricity generation

Magnetism is also a naturally occurring phenomenon and we are familiar with
the North and South Pole concept with opposites attracting and likes repelling.
There is a link between magnetism and electricity as a magnet will provide the
positive/negative differential required for electron movement in a conductor.
The North-seeking pole is positive and will attract electrons and this is used in
the dynamo principle, which was the first practical generation of electricity.

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If a metal wire, or any conductor, is moved through the magnetic field created
between the two poles of a magnet, the electrons will move within the wire to
try to head towards the positive pole. By winding many loops of wire and
mounting the assembly on an axle, a significant amount of electron movement
can be achieved. As the assembly swings through 180º and approaches the
other pole of the magnet, the electron flow will be reversed. By connecting the
loops of wire to individual strips of metal and contacting these only as they pass
one or other of the magnet poles, we can capture electron flow as positive on
one side and negative on the other, thus we have electrical current available at
the contacts.

The modern dynamo has many loops of wire, augmented by a soft iron core,
with each loop connected to a copper strip further along the axle. Carbon
brushes are held against the revolving copper strips, the commutator and leads
attached to the brushes deliver a direct current.

Electricity is no longer generated commercially with dynamos due to the

difficulty of maintaining brushes and commutators on very large machines, but
the principle of inducing a current in a moving conductor is still used in

7.4 Current, voltage, watts and resistance

The amount of electrons on the move defines the amount of electricity that
flows, termed the current, i, measured in amps, A. Electron flow and therefore
electricity, moves at the speed of light as, rather than being the movement of
small solid particles, it is a form of electromagnetic wave, but as this takes us
to relativity to explain, we will not offer proof here, for all practical purposes,
electricity is instantaneously available throughout a circuit.

The differential of the positive and negative used to attract the electrons from
one to the other can be regarded as the driving force and is called the potential
difference or voltage. Because of this potential there is a tendency for the
electrons to move, ie there is a force, electromotive force, EMF, measured in
volts, V, attempting to move them from the negative to the positive.

Electricity flow has energy and is capable of doing work as passes through a
conductor. Consider a light bulb, the passage of current through the conducting
filament generates heat, a form of energy created by the fact that work has
been done. This heat is sufficiently intense to raise the tungsten filament to well
over 1000ºC at which temperature light is evolved.

The amount of work depends on both voltage and current. If a light bulb
intended for the UK 240V system is instead used on the American 110V mains,
it will glow only dimly. Furthermore, if the current flow to a UK bulb operating
on its normal 240V circuit is restricted by a dimmer switch, less light is seen.
Thus it is a combination of current and voltage that gives the power
consumption, measured in watts, W. Watts are the product of amps and
volts, ie:


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Different materials allow the passage of current to differing degrees. The wiring
in your house between sockets is pure copper around 2mm in diameter. All of
your appliances – washing machine, refrigerator, television run from this and
you give no thought to the passage around your ring main. However, you may
have an electric fire with a wire winding not very different in diameter and this
will heat up and glow red, not what you’d want to be happening to your ring
main! But the nickel-chromium alloy of the fire element passes current much
less easily than copper and this causes it to heat whilst the copper does not.
This reluctance to pass current is termed resistance, R and is measured in
Ohms, Ω. The greater the driving force (EMF), the more current passed
through the resisting material. This is Ohm’s Law, which may be expressed:




In electrical circuitry, resistance is often required to protect components and

small devices are supplied with known resistance. These are called resistors
and are illustrated in circuit diagrams by a rectangular box. American and some
older UK publications may show a resistor as a zig-zag line:

Preferred symbol (BS EN 81714-2):

American, Japanese and superseded European symbol:

The heating effect in the electric fire is important in welding as it plays a part in
raising the temperature of a current-carrying consumable wire towards melting.
By experiment and measurement of the effect of changing variables, we can
show that this heating is proportional to the resistance of the wire and to the
square of the current it carries, often known as the i2R effect.

7.5 Direct and alternating current (DC and AC)

The electricity from a dynamo always flows in the same direction in the wires
attached to the brushes. This is DC. The electricity circulating in the National
Grid is AC, which means that it regularly switches direction of flow. The switch
is not instantaneous but builds and decays in sine wave form. A positive flow
followed by a negative one constitutes one cycle.

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The number of times this happens in one second is called the frequency and
this is measured in Hertz, Hz. One change of direction per second is 1Hz; 50
per second is 50Hz. The National Grids of European countries operate at 50Hz,
but the US has a 60Hz supply.

To pass large amounts of electricity along the distribution wires of a Grid, a high
voltage (driving force) is required, usually around 400,000V. But to offer very
high voltage supply to households would be dangerous. The capacity for work is
a product of both voltage and current so drawing a very small current from
such a high voltage supply would still amount to high energy. The voltage must
therefore be changed to a lower value before the supply is connected to a

7.6 Transforming electricity

We can change voltage using a transformer, a device that uses corollaries to
the principle of the dynamo, viz: if a wire moving through a magnetic field
creates electricity, the converse is also true, that a magnetic field moving past a
wire will create electricity. Furthermore, moving electricity through a wire will
create magnetism.

So, if a soft iron (a good magnetic medium) in the shape of a square has a
winding of wire on one side through which current is flowing, this will induce
magnetism, termed magnetic flux, flowing around the iron square. Thus, if a
second winding of wire is made on the opposite side of the iron square, the flow
of magnetism will induce electricity in this wire even though it is not electrically
connected to the first.

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The voltage generated in the second coil of wire depends on the input voltage
and the ratio of turns in each of the coils. Thus if V1 and n1 are the voltage and
number of turns of the input coil and V2 and n2 are for the output coil:

V1 n1

V2 n2

V2  2 x V1

To reduce the voltage from the high level of the grid to a lower level requires a
high number of turns on the input side and low number on the output:

Energy must be conserved in any system so, if we ignore losses through heat,
any reduction in voltage must be accompanied by an increase in current. This
may be expressed:

V1 A 2

V2 A 1

So if an input of 1000V and 2A has 100 turns on the input coil and there are 10
turns on the output coil, the output would be 100V and 20A.

This simple device can transform both DC and AC supplies. Transformers are
sited in the electricity supplier buildings in residential neighbourhoods with
warning signs about danger of electrocution and in rural areas they may be
mounted on telegraph poles. A large factory will almost certainly have a high
voltage supply to its vicinity and a local transformer to supply its power needs.

Welding requires relatively low voltage – arc welding may run with only 20-30V
maintaining the arc - but needs high current, maybe 100-300A, to give the
power to melt metal. Transformers within the power source itself generate this
from the input voltage and current. Input from domestic supply (240V and
typically 15A from sockets) will limit welding possibilities. Transformation of
domestic mains supply to the 80V typically used for arc starting gives only 45A
maximum current.

Industrial supply is typically 415V with either 63 or 125A maximum, which can
supply around 320A and up to 650A respectively, hence most welding
workshops and power sources run on this supply.

7.7 Rectification
AC power may be used in some welding processes, but most require DC. To
generate DC from the AC supply requires filtering off, rectification, of one half
cycle, eg the negative part, leaving all current in the one direction. The simplest
form of rectification uses diodes, devices that transmit current in only one
direction. The semi-conductor, silicon, is especially useful as sandwiches can be
built that have this property of one-way transmission (see transistors below).
Rectifiers are sometimes referred to as silicon diode rectifiers.

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The symbol for a diode is:

This shows the direction of permitted current flow – left to right, from the base
of the triangle – and the blocked path – right to left, encountering the straight

Passing a simple single-phase supply (upper graph below) through a diode will
cut out the negative part of the cycle leaving the half wave in the positive
direction (middle graph below). This is half-wave rectification and is a rather
inefficient method of creating DC as it uses only half the energy of the input.

It is possible to capture both halves of the cycle as positive output by a process

called full-wave rectification and the input and output curves take the shape
shown on the lower graph below.

Full-wave rectification is achieved by arranging four diodes in a square as

shown below. When the input current in line A is positive, the diode in the top
right allows passage of current to the positive terminal. When the input current
is negative in line A, it follows that it is positive in line B and then the lower
right diode allows this through to the positive terminal.

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The frequency of the pulses is now twice that of the input so, if 50Hz mains is
input, full-wave rectification gives a pulsating DC at 100Hz. Three-phase
rectification achieves smoother output as the cycles overlap in time, but there is
still a pronounced ripple effect, as shown in the following image on next page.

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7.8 Series and parallel
When an electrical circuit is built, wires or strip connectors connect components
in a way to produce the appropriate electrical interaction, linked together one
after another in a daisy-chain array, series connection:

The components can be connected piggy-back fashion, parallel connection.

The effect of linking components in different ways creates different overall

results as seen by considering resistors and the overall resistance of the circuit:

In series, resistance is additive, so the overall resistance is high, being the sum
of all the individual resistors’ values:

Rt R1 R2 R3 ….

In parallel, the current has multiple paths to use to travel from one side of the
resistor array to the other, so the overall resistance of the circuit is lower than
any individual resistor, according to the formula:

7.9 Inductance
Another feature of the interaction of electricity and magnetism is inductance.
Current passing through a wire generates a magnetic field and the amount of
magnetic flux is proportional to the current so, if the current is changing, it
follows that the magnetic field intensity will also vary.

Faraday found and defined in his Law that changing the field of magnetic flux
induces an EMF in the wire which opposes the increase in current. Known as
inductance, it is particularly useful in welding as there are instances where a
very rapid rise in current can cause instability so adding inductance to the
circuit can control this tendency to instability.

Although inductance is generated in a straight wire, purpose-built inductors are

usually wound as coils to maximise the magnetic effect. An inductor may have a
ferromagnetic core that amplifies the effect and some of these cores may be
moved to vary the inductive effect.

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The symbol for an inductor is:


7.10 Transistors and thyristors

Solid state electronics was born from an observation in 1947 that when
electrical contacts were placed on a crystal of germanium, the output current
was greater than the input. Following this, workers at Texas Instruments
developed the germanium-doped silicon transistor which can be used to
increase the current through it, ie as an amplifier or as a semi-conductor,
allowing it to be used as a switching device.

In the early 1970s, Watkins and Needham at TWI built a welding power source
based on transistors. Whilst a research tool rather than a commercial entity, it
proved that sufficient current could be developed in a solid-state amplification
circuit to give the high currents necessary for fusion welding. Development of
commercial offerings rapidly followed and today all power sources include
transistors, even if only on the control circuit. However, few simple transistors
are used in a modern circuit, most use integrated circuits that contain
millions, sometimes billions, of transistor functions.

The thyristor is a development of the transistor principle that acts as a self-

latching switch and are used in welding power sources as they are capable of
handling high current switching reliably. They are not the source of power but
are key components in the control system.

7.11 Inverters
Inverters are fast becoming the power source of choice for welding and it is not
difficult to see why, this MMA one is very small.

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Compare this with a conventional power source.

Conventional power sources are large and heavy because of the size of the
transformer required to convert 415V 63 or 125A mains to an output suitable
for welding. High current requires thick wires and large iron cores to avoid
overheating. An inverter creates very high frequency AC (maybe 100kHz) and
the transformer is much smaller than the conventional one.

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IWS questions on electricity

1 What is Ohms law?

2 How is mains AC converted to DC at current and voltage suitable for welding?

3 How is high mains voltage reduced to a safe AC welding voltage?

4 What is half wave rectification and how can full-wave rectification be achieved?

5 Explain the difference between connecting resistors in series and in parallel.

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Section 8
Power Sources
8 Power Sources
8.1 Types of power source
Welding takes place at relatively low voltage compared with the input mains
electricity and much higher current. The delivery of the appropriate ranges of
voltage and current is the function of the power source. Welding can be
achieved with DC electrode negative (DCEN), DC electrode positive (DCEP) or
AC power and there are a number of ways of generating these.

DC power can be generated directly from a dynamo or more likely a brushless

generator as described in the section Electricity as Applicable to Welding. The
motor to drive the coil through the magnetic field is an internal combustion
engine so the machines are usually known as diesel or petrol generators
depending on the fuel of the engine. The advantage of an engine-driven
generator is that it is self-contained with no requirement of input from the
electricity network so is particularly suited to site work and may be mounted on
the back of a truck, or on wheels to give portability to remote sites.

A small generator welding set.

Engine-driven machines are not popular for shop fabrication as there is

significant noise from the engine and rotating components and they become
large and heavy when scaled to give high current capability.

AC power sources are, at their simplest, transformers taking the AC input and
converting it to higher current, lower voltage. The welding current available can
be adjusted by adding inductance to the system, usually by placing an inductor
in line. Inductance opposes the flow of current so slows the rate of growth of
the current during each half cycle. With sufficient inductance the current does
not reach its maximum beginning to decay towards the other half cycle. This is
also known as choking and the control device may also be called a choke. The
inductor - often containing capacitors as well and known as a reactor - has a
means of adjustment giving current control to the operator.

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This may be by tapping the reactor at various points, giving differing numbers
of turns of wire so different levels of inductance or by moving an iron core
allowing a variable amount of leakage of the inductance. There is another
method whereby a small DC current controls the amount of magnetism in an
iron core which in turn determines the amount of inductance. This is a saturable
reactor which gives fine control but is more expensive and usually only used for
TIG machines. AC transformer welding sets.

For DC welding in shop fabrication conditions, the AC transformer is coupled

with a rectifier, producing a heavy duty, sturdy machine noted for reliability and
use in adverse conditions.

A traditional rectifier power source.

The principle of inversion gives advantages with regard to the size of

transformer and as the components have become more commonplace and
therefore cheaper inverter power sources are becoming very common in

The AC mains input is first rectified to DC, which is fed to the inverter which
converts it to high frequency AC, maybe 50kHz, which means that the
subsequent transformer can be very much smaller than in a conventional
machine. This can be used for welding or passed through another rectifier to
give a DC supply. Inverter power sources can be used for AC or DC welding and
even sources with high current output are very small size.

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8.2 Power source characteristics
If the input to the power source is 415V and 20A, the power consumption is
415 x 20 = 8300 watts. As energy can neither be gained nor lost, this should
also be the output power, but some energy is lost due to heating components
and loss of this heat to the surroundings. Effectively this machine will output
7500 watts so in theory, we could extract 300A at 25V or 3A at 250V or any
other combination amounting to 7.5kW.

A TIG welding power source may give around 100V maximum and operate
down to maybe 10V. Over this range our 7.5kW would provide 75A up to 750A
with a straight-line relationship between the current and voltage.

This is not how welding power sources work as they are designed to have
specific volt/amp relationships. Generally higher voltage means lower current
and vice versa, but the rate of change differ according to the circuitry. The
reason for different relationships lies in the processes.

8.2.1 Drooping characteristic

For manual processes such as TIG and MMA welding, the arc length is
dependent on how consistently the welder can hold the torch above the
workpiece. Arc length is directly proportional to arc voltage, so a longer arc has
a higher voltage and if the arc is shortened the voltage will decrease. Variation
of arc length by 3 or 4mm can easily vary the voltage by 5V. This would vary
the current between 300 and 375A in our theoretical machine.
Such variation would result in significant changes in weld pool size and
penetration and would make the process very difficult to control.

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By design, the TIG or MMA power source has a limited range of current and a
reduced variation on changing voltage. Plotted as voltage against current this
appears as:

This is termed drooping characteristic or constant current. With such a

power source the variation of current over a change of 5V may be as little as
10A, giving almost imperceptible changes to the weld pool, making control
much easier for the welder.

With no load on the power source, ie when it is switched on but not delivering
output, there is a relatively high voltage across its output terminals, the open
circuit voltage (OCV). For a drooping characteristic power source, it may be
80-100V and is useful for to help initiate the arc on MMA electrodes. However,
once running an arc the voltage is normally 20-35V, shown above as the normal
operating range. It is the minimal variation of current over this range that gives
the power source its characteristic relevant to MMA or TIG welding.

8.2.2 Flat characteristic and the self-adjusting arc

MIG welding requires different characteristics from the power source. The
consumable is continuously fed through the torch where it picks up current from
the contact tip, at its end an arc is struck that melts the wires and transfers
droplets to the workpiece. As the wire is much smaller diameter than an
electrode for MMA, the current density is much higher, as is the burn-off rate.
The wire feeder is set at a speed that delivers the wire at the same rate as it is
melted away so a fixed arc length operating at particular values of voltage and
current is established. Any variation in arc length will cause a small change of
voltage as noted above for the MMA process. If the same drooping
characteristic power source were to be used, the increased voltage on
lengthening the arc would be accompanied by only a small lowering of the burn-
off rate. With the small wire diameter of MIG, the higher voltage arc would
create a much larger plasma column that would widen the weld pool. Similarly,
shortening the arc would produce a much smaller weld pool. As the burns off
rates are maybe twenty times as rapid as for MMA, there is insufficient time for
the welder to react to these changes. If the power source is designed to give a
large change of current for only a small change of voltage it is more

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The MIG power source has an operating characteristic that produces only small
changes in potential (a few volts) as a result of bigger (at least one order of
magnitude) changes in current.

Any small increase in arc length and thus voltage results in a large reduction in
current and burn-off rate. Thus feed speed is momentarily in excess of the
burn-off so the wire advances from the end of the contact tip, reducing the arc
length, lowering the voltage and increasing the current, until the feed speed
and burn-off are in balance and equilibrium is restored.

The opposite is also true if the torch moves towards the workpiece. The voltage
drops causing a large increase in current and burn-off rate. This exceeds the
feed speed so the wire burns back, automatically increasing voltage and
dropping current until the equilibrium position of feed speed equalling burn-off
is achieved.

The OCV of a flat characteristic power source is only a few volts above the
operating range. In operation, both MIG and SAW arcs are initiated by
advancing the wire until it makes contact with the base plate, creating a short
circuit giving rapid heating and melting of the wire. As the molten filler drops
away an arc is established. No higher voltage is needed for this to happen.

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8.3 Pulsed power
There are instances where having the ability to switch off full power
momentarily is advantageous. In TIG welding by pulsing between a high and a
low background current, a weld pool with the penetration of full power is
achieved without the overall heat normally associated with it, giving better
control over side and root fusion with less danger of overheating the whole area
leading to over-penetration. Pulsing the power also causes the solidification
front intermittently to advance rapidly then recede which can avoid crystal
growth along the weld line and in certain instances improves resistance to
solidification cracking.

Pulsing may be achieved in a number of ways. The earliest sets operated at

mains frequency and the current was determined by chopping the full-wave
rectified power:

With the advent of electronic control, rapid switching of DC became possible
allowing the generation of a square wave from two base current levels: a low
background and a higher peak current. In a switching circuit, the frequency is
no longer dictated by the AC mains, so frequency of pulsing becomes a
variable; a higher frequency of the same pulse resulting in a higher average
current and therefore heat input:

8.3.1 Pulsed MIG and synergic control

Flexible pulsing introduces a significant number of extra variables, but
electronics can make the job of the welder much easier. For pulsed MIG welding
the parameters that give stable and useful conditions for each material, wire
size and shielding gas combination can be stored in software and reproduced at
the touch of a button (or turn of a selector knob). Such control is known as
synergic (ie working together to give a better than expected result) and is
sometimes referred to as a one knob set.

The power source designers realised that it was particularly useful to choose
pulse MIG conditions that melted and transferred a single drop of metal from
the wire and synergic power sources became synonymous with single drop
transfer. Pulsed transfer is sometimes confused with single droplet transfer but
a simple pulse of high current takes the process into a condition where normal
spray conditions occur; it takes careful selection of pulse size, shape and
frequency - different for each combination of material, wire size and gas - to
achieve single drop transfer.

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8.4 Slope control and gas purging
The stops and starts of weld runs can contain defects associated with
establishing and extinguishing the arc. For example the start area of a TIG weld
may be more prone to the formation of porosity than the stable part of the run.
In most processes the final weld pool is the most susceptible to solidification
cracks. For processes that involve metal transfer through the arc, there is little
possibility of altering the arcing conditions to compensate as the need for
transfer dictate the conditions permissible, but for TIG welding the parameters
can be varied for a time at the start and end of a run to help address the
problem of potential defects.

At the start of a weld run, the sudden establishment of a molten pool in

surrounding cold plate can make the likelihood of porosity high. If welding is
started at low current, the pool is correspondingly small and insufficient gas
evolution occurs to create porosity. In the middle of a run, conduction has
produced a heating effect that slows the freezing of the pool and gives time for
the gas to escape. TIG sets are therefore usually designed to be able to start at
very low current and build over a number of seconds to the full current required
for the weld run. This is called slope up and there is usually a control to adjust
the time over which the build-up of current will occur.

Start porosity is further aggravated by the conditions of shielding gas flow. The
torch and gas delivery line will be filled with air before welding commences so
the first delivery of shielding to the arc area will be inert gas diluted with air
and maybe water vapour. To purge this from the system welding equipment is
usually designed to allow a pre-flow of shielding gas prior to striking of the

When the arc is extinguished, the molten pool is subjected to rapid freezing
from its perimeter inwards. This can lead to insufficient liquid being available
and the final pool may have a concave top surface – often called the crater. In
some instances the lack of liquid results in cracks forming in a star shape in this
crater, crater cracking. TIG power sources are usually able to step down the
current over time resulting in a much smaller pool for final freezing where the
problem of insufficient liquid feed may be eliminated, slope out or crater fill.

Gas shielding is important during this final solidification after arc extinction so
shielding gas flow should not cease when the arc is extinguished. A flow is
usually maintained until the pool has cooled sufficiently that severe oxidation
will not place. This constitutes a post-flow of gas that may also be controlled
by a timer on the welding set.

8.5 Duty cycle

Section 2 stated that some energy is lost as heat and heat is generated by
passing current through a conductor according to the i2R effect. Pure copper
has a lower resistance than most other conductors but it will still be heated by
the effect. The amount of heat generated and lost partly depends on the design
of the machine and many have in-built fans to give forced air cooling. There are
temperature limits on most electrical components and, in the extreme,
insulation can breakdown causing shorting and even catching fire, so usage of
welding equipment is kept within the heat generation that can be adequately
dealt with by loss to the environment.

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The balance between heating from the passage of power and cooling by loss to
the surroundings is dependent on the power passing through the circuit and the
length of time for which it passes – the higher the power, the less time for
critical temperatures to be reached. This presents an issue in rating a power
source. A machine may be capable of delivering 400A but suffer unacceptable
heating levels after only a few minutes so does this have a 400A capability? The
welding equipment manufacturing industry has standardised the rating of
welding machines by use of duty cycle.

The duty cycle is the number of minutes, out of ten, that a machine can be
continuously operated at the power output claimed. The rest of the ten minutes
is for the machine to be cooling under no load. This definition is used both in
USA and European standard BS EN 60974-1. The common ratings are at 35%
(ie 3½ minutes running, 6½ minutes cooling); 60% (6 minutes on, 4 minutes
off) and 100% (continuous running). A plate must be fixed to the machine
showing its rating for it to comply with BS EN 60974:

Most manufacturers comply with the European Standard and it is compulsory

that the electrical safety of a power source complies with the requirements for
CE marking of electrical equipment for it to be sold in Europe.

Whilst now looking rather dated, more can be learnt of the principles of power
source design by reference to:

L M Gourd: Principles of Welding Technology, Edward Arnold. ISBN 0340 61399


A C Davies: The Science and Practice of Welding Vol 1 & 2, Cambridge

University Press. ISBN 0521 43403 3 and 0521 43404 1

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IWS questions on power sources

1 Describe the operation of drooping and flat characteristic power sources.

2 Why is the MIG arc referred to as self-adjusting?

3 Explain slope-up and slope-out and their use in TIG welding.

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Section 9

TIG Welding
9 TIG Welding
9.1 Process characteristics
A number of manufacturers publish very good guides covering theoretical and
practical aspects of TIG welding; one is available on-line from Miller at

TIG welding is a process where melting is achieved by heating with an arc

struck between a non-consumable tungsten electrode and the workpiece. An
inert gas shields the electrode and weld zone to prevent oxidation of the
tungsten electrode and atmospheric contamination of the weld and hot filler
wire (as shown below).

TIG welding.

Tungsten is used because it has a melting point of 3370°C, well above any
other common metal. In the US the TIG process is also known as gas tungsten
arc welding (GTAW).

9.2 Arc initiation

There are three ways of striking the arc in TIG welding. Simple sets, eg
hobbyist attachments to MMA equipment, rely on scratch starting, essentially
the same as for MMA: the electrode is stroked on the workpiece and slightly
lifted clear. A short circuit current passes whilst the electrode is touching the
workpiece and as the electrode is lifted the arc is established. This method is
not favoured for intricate or quality work as the tip of the tungsten is liable to
be melted and transferred to the initial weld pool. These defects, whilst not the
most problematic, appear vividly on radiographic inspection films as white spots
(on the negative) as tungsten is very much more opaque to X- or gamma-rays
than the normal engineering metals being welded.

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A variant of this which has appeared since the advent of electronically
controlled power sources is the lift-arc method, which also relies on touching
the electrode to the metal but the electronics are set to reduce the short circuit
current to only a few amps. Thus little i2R heating occurs and the tungsten tip
is not melted. As the electrode is withdrawn from the workpiece and the arc
length lengthens, the current is raised by the control mechanism to the working

The most common method of arc initiation is by using a high frequency (HF)
spark. Superimposition of high voltage, but very low current, HF creates a spark
between the electrode and the workpiece that will initiate the welding arc and
plasma formation. For DC welding the HF only acts during initial start-up but for
AC welding with a sine wave output (traditional transformed mains) the HF is
run continuously to allow re-ignition as the current and voltage pass through
zero each half cycle. With electronically generated square wave AC, this is not
necessary as the voltage is switched instantaneously to peak value. HF is only
required for the initial start in square wave AC.

9.3 Current and polarity

Current determines the degree of penetration and size of the weld pool and has
to be within a range suitable for the size of tungsten electrode in use. If the
welding current is too high, the electrode tip can overheat and melt, leading to
tungsten inclusions, if too low, the electrode tip will not be properly heated and
an unstable arc may result.

TIG welding is normally carried out with the electrode connected to the negative
output of the power source (DCEN). Heat is generated at the anode by the
impingement of electrons as we saw in the section on Arcs and Plasmas.
Stripping of electrons from the cathode cools the tip of the tungsten prolonging
its life.

Refractory oxides formed on the surface of metals such as aluminium or

magnesium can hinder fusion and require removal during welding, achieved by
having the workpiece as the cathode; the emission of electrons from the
surface breaks up the oxide layer, effectively cleaning the weld pool. With a DC
positively connected electrode (DCEP), heat is concentrated at the electrode tip
and therefore the electrode needs to be of greater diameter than when using
DC negative if overheating of the tungsten is to be avoided. A water-cooled
torch is recommended if DC positive is used. With the distribution of heat being
only 30% at the workpiece, penetration is shallow and the process is really only
useful for thin sheet material. Helium shielding gas does improve the
penetration but, if thick aluminium or magnesium is to be welded, the usual
choice is AC.

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Clearly, AC will combine both DCEN and DCEP operation as the current flow
switches direction at each half cycle.

70% at work 50% at work 30% at work
Heat balance
30% at electrode 50% at electrode 70% at electrode
Weld profile Deep, narrow Medium Shallow, wide
Yes – every half
Cleaning action No Yes
Electrode Excellent Good Poor
capacity (3.2mm/400A) (3.2mm/225A) (6.4mm/120A)

The recommended safe working conditions for thoriated electrodes are

summarised in a TWI FAQ (available to TWI Industrial Members) and in the HSE
Information Document 564/6 (see below). If not practical to ensure such
conditions, the use of ceriated electrodes is recommended as a health and
safety improvement.

 HSE Information document: storage and use of thoriated tungsten 564/6.

 TWI FAQ The use of thoriated tungsten electrodes

Further information on health and safety is available by searching the HSE


9.4 Preparing the tungsten electrode

9.4.1 Tungsten types
TIG electrodes may be 100% tungsten but more commonly have refractory or
rare earth oxides incorporated. These different types of electrodes are used to
suit different applications:

Pure tungsten (W)

Electrodes have by a green band, are cheaper than oxide-dosed ones but
generally have a shorter life. Used when welding light metals with AC because
of their ability to maintain a clean, balled end, but possess poor arc initiation
and arc stability in AC mode compared with other types.

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Thoriated electrodes
Have a yellow or red band and contain 1 or 2% respectively of thorium oxide
(thoria) to improve arc initiation. Higher current carrying capacity than pure
tungsten electrodes and maintain a sharp tip for longer. Unfortunately thoria is
slightly radioactive (emitting  radiation) and the dust generated during tip
grinding should not be inhaled. Electrode grinding machines used for thoriated
tungsten grinding should be fitted with a dust extraction system.

Ceriated electrodes
Have a grey band in Europe but an orange one in the US, contain nominally 2%
cerium oxide and have excellent arc starting on DC even at low current, often
the choice for mechanised orbital TIG welding of thin pipework and other
delicate operations.

Lanthanated electrodes
Have a black band, 1% lanthanum oxide, perform similarly to thoriated
electrodes and since lanthanum is not radioactive, are often used as direct
replacements for thoriated electrodes.

Zirconiated electrodes
Have a white band in Europe and a brown one in the US, are alloyed with 1%
zirconium oxide. Operating characteristics of these electrodes fall between the
thoriated types and pure tungsten. However, since they are able to retain a
balled end during welding, they are recommended for AC welding. Also, they
have a high resistance to contamination and so are used for high integrity welds
where tungsten inclusions must be avoided.

Tungsten electrode manufacturers offer recommended current ranges for the

various diameters available. A rough guide for thoriated, ceriated or
lanthanated electrodes on DCEN is:

Current range, A Electrode dia, mm

50-150 1.6
130-250 2.4
240- 400 3.2

9.4.2 Grinding tungsten electrodes

The end of the tungsten is ground to a point to give a concentrated area for the
creation of the cathode spot. As a general rule, the length of the ground portion
of the tip of the electrode should have a length equal to approximately 2-2.5
times the electrode diameter. The vertex angle is not critical but does have an
effect on the bead width and penetration.

A sharper, narrower electrode angle gives a wider weld bead, easier arc starting
and improved arc stability. A narrower electrode is for less amperage and gives
less weld penetration and shorter electrode life.

A blunter, wider tungsten electrode gives a narrower weld bead that is harder
to start but can handle more amperage and will provide better weld
penetration. There is increased potential for arc wander, but the electrode will
last longer.

The sharp tip of the electrode is usually removed by grinding a small flat, shown
in the centre figure below, which lowers the likelihood of melting or spitting the
tip into the pool.

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For AC welding use zirconiated tungsten electrodes with a hemispherical
(balled) end (see below). The ball will form naturally during AC welding as the
electrode is heated on the DCEP cycle, but it is usual to pre-form it to avoid loss
of molten tungsten into the weld pool. To produce a balled end grind the
electrode then initiate an arc on a cold copper block and increase the current
until it melts the tip of the electrode.

Electrode tip Electrode tip Electrode tip with

vertex angle with flat end a balled end
Tips on grinding tungsten electrodes:

 Use a dedicated grinder reserved for tungsten to avoid contamination of the

 Grinding wheels should be made of diamond or boron nitride.
 Grind longitudinally and concentrically so that the lines on the ground
surface are in the same direction as the electrode and the electrode has no
flat spots.
 Never grind tungsten electrodes on belt sanders or the sides of standard
grinding wheels.
 Do not breath grinding dust; use an exhaust system when grinding
radioactive thoriated tungsten electrodes.
 Wear approved safety gloves and glasses. Tungsten splinters easily and can
penetrate the operator’s hands and eyes.
 Electrodes get hot when grinding so use an electrode grinding wand to
minimise burns.

9.4.3 Cutting tungsten electrodes

Tungsten alloys are dense, very brittle and can splinter or shatter, causing
fractures in tungsten electrodes which can present a laceration hazard to the
operator during cutting. Even if a poorly cut electrode is apparently correctly
prepared, undetected fractures can lead to arc instability or break off during
welding, creating gross weld defects.

When you need to cut an electrode to a specific length or remove contamination

from the tip, be sure to cut electrodes correctly. For a clean, smooth cut, use a
diamond wheel with the electrode secured on both sides of the cut.

Incorrect cutting methods damage the integrity of the tungsten alloys, shorten
arc time and increase the potential for tungsten contamination in the weld.

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Do not:
 Bend electrodes until they fracture.
 Cut tungsten electrodes with wire cutters or pliers.
 Notch the electrode on the grinding wheel then snap it off.

9.4.4 Fixing the electrode in the torch

The tungsten electrode is held in a copper contact tube or collet that tightens
and holds the electrode as a screw thread attached to back cap of the torch is
turned. The collet also makes an electrical contact so that welding current is
passed to the electrode.

The electrode extends beyond the bottom of the collet and this extension is an
important variable. Because the contact tube is recessed inside the gas nozzle,
this parameter can be checked indirectly by measuring the stickout length
(length from the end of the nozzle to the electrode tip) as below:


9.5 Shielding gas

In TIG welding it is important to avoid oxidation of the tungsten electrode as
well as the weld pool. Gases are therefore usually inert, with argon, helium or
mixtures of the two being the most widely used. Nitrogen can be used when
welding copper, but is too reactive on most engineering alloys. For austenitic
stainless steels, nickel alloys and cupro-nickels, argon with up to 5% hydrogen
may be used to improve penetration.

Argon is denser than air, whereas helium is very much less dense which means
a higher flow rate of helium is needed to give good shielding except when
welding in the overhead position.

9.5.1 Flow rate

Whatever the gas, it is important that sufficient flow is used to give adequate
shielding to the pool and adjacent hot metal. A flow meter, such as a floating
ball type should be used after the pressure regulator but the flow should also be
checked at the torch. Simple floating ball gauges are available which can be
pressed to the upturned gas nozzle to read the flow at the torch. This can be
used in conjunction with a flow meter at the cylinder to ensure that there are
no significant leaks in the hose system.

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The actual flow required depends on the welding configuration and position,
current, polarity and gas composition. Too low and the shielding gas cannot
remove the air from the weld area and this may result in porosity and
contamination - excessive tarnishing of the weld bead, disturbance of the arc or
oxidation of the tungsten are indicators that the flow is too low.

If the gas flow rate is too high turbulence occurs at the base of the shielding
gas column, air tends to be sucked in from the surrounding atmosphere and
this may also lead to porosity and contamination. This is usually rather difficult
to achieve but welding outside corners do present difficulties and it is
recommended that lower flow rates are used for these joints.

Shielding gas flow rates are typically in the range ~10 to ~12 l/min

Flow rate too low Flow rate too


9.5.2 Pre- and post-flow

The purpose of both pre- and post-flow is to prevent contamination of both the
weld pool and tungsten electrode by the surrounding atmosphere.

When the torch is not in use, air will enter the system through the nozzle,
moisture in the air can condense inside the nozzle and gas hose and then cause
hydrogen and oxygen contamination during initial stages of the weld. The
shielding gas pre-flow will clear air and moisture from the hose and torch thus
preventing this contamination.

Post-flow works a little differently: immediately after the welding arc is

extinguished, the weld bead, filler rod and the tungsten electrode remain hot
enough to cause a chemical reaction with oxygen in the atmosphere. The result
of this oxidation is obvious because it causes the weld bead, filler rod and
tungsten to turn black. Proper post-flow will prevent oxidation by shielding the
hot electrode and weld area and by speeding up the cooling process. If a
tungsten electrode has discoloured because of oxidation it must be removed
and re-prepared to eliminate all trace of oxide.

9.6 Filler wires

For many applications, it is possible to use the TIG process without filler,
autogenous welding. Some applications, such as the mechanised welding of
Calrod for electrical heating elements, achieve high speed by using multiple in-
line welding heads. For most applications, however, the parent plate
composition does not produce satisfactory autogenous welds. Many
compositions are crack sensitive when melted and refrozen, some like
aluminium alloys, absorb hydrogen when liquid and expel it as porosity on
freezing and many require additional deoxidation from elements like titanium
that has been added to filler wire composition to give defect-free welds.

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Filler wire is usually added manually but it is possible to set up mechanised
welding with motor-fed cold wire addition from a spool.

Manual TIG filler is usually sold in 1m lengths, supplied in 5kg tubes. Suppliers
mark each rod at either end to minimise confusion of material at a welding
station. It is good practice to store filler away from the actual welding station
releasing it specifically for the job in hand as it may be difficult to distinguish
between individual rods of stainless steel and nickel alloy. When working with
alloys sensitive to contamination (eg by grease, machining dust, etc), it is
recommended to solvent clean all working surfaces and TIG rods before

BS EN ISO 636 is the international standard covering TIG filler wire


Potential defects
As well as the defects normally associated with a manual process, such as lack
of sidewall fusion, poor penetration control, etc, the TIG process presents a few
particular potential problems.

Tungsten inclusions
Any fragments of tungsten that enter a weld will show up on radiographs, white
on the negative image, because of the relatively high density of this metal.
There appears little demonstrated effect of even quite large amounts of
tungsten in either steel or aluminium TIG welds yet most inspections standards
state that they are not acceptable so measures need to be taken to avoid the
incorporation of tungsten particles in the weld pool.

One of the principal reasons for small particles to break from the electrode is
thermal shock which can occur as full current is applied to the cold tungsten at
the initiation of arcing. Modern power sources have a current slope-up device to
minimise this risk which allows the current to rise to the set value over a short
period so the tungsten is heated more slowly and gently.

Another significant reason for tungsten loss from the electrode is oxidation from
imperfect gas cover - a further reason for the need of pre-flow purging of the
gas lines and torch before starting the arc.

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9.6.1 Solidification cracking
Some compositions are sensitive to solidification cracking. In ferritic and
stainless steels and nickel alloys, it is usually impurities such as sulphur and
phosphorus that cause the problem so filler wires are designed with manganese
additions as this reacts with the impurities and forms higher melting compounds
less likely to give solidification cracking. Stainless steels need the presence of a
small percentage (~5%) of ferrite in the austenitic matrix to avoid solidification
cracking, provided by careful selection of the filler composition. The amount of
dilution and composition of the parent plate have to be taken into account and
then the filler composition balanced to give the required ferrite level.
Fortunately diagrams exist, after Schaeffler and De Long that assist in this
estimation of composition.

Aluminium alloys may be sensitive merely from the percentage of alloying

element present and do not require the presence of impurities to create
conditions for cracking. Fillers are therefore chosen for their ability to withstand
freezing without cracking, eg the eutectic composition Al 12%Si is often used,
but care must be exercised to ensure that dilution will not introduce
incompatible elements such as Mg together with Si.

If weld metal compositions are sensitive to solidification cracking, they are likely
to show it when there is insufficient liquid to back-fill incipient cracks and when
the strain from shrinkage during cooling is high. These conditions apply in the
final crater as the arc is extinguished and a particular type of cracking, crater
cracking, is a common form of solidification cracking. As the final crater
solidifies, a star-shaped crack may be formed in its centre. Modern power
sources have a current slope-out device so that at the end of a weld when the
welder switches off the current it reduces gradually and the weld pool gets
smaller and shallower, resulting in the final crater being sufficiently small that
cracking does not occur.

9.7 Advantages of the TIG process

 Does not give weld spatter which makes it particularly suitable for
applications that require a high degree of cleanliness (eg pipework for the
food and drinks industry, semi-conductors manufacturing, etc).
 A good welder can avoid inclusions and achieve fusion easily producing
superior quality welds.
 Enables welding variables to be accurately controlled and is particularly
good for controlling weld root penetration in all positions of welding.
 Can be used with filler metal so can weld almost all weldable metals,
including dissimilar joints and is especially useful in welding reactive metals
with stable oxides such as aluminium, magnesium, titanium and zirconium.
 The heat source and filler metal additions are controlled independently so is
very good for joining thin materials.
 On thin sections without filler, it can produce welds at relatively high speed.
 Very low levels of diffusible hydrogen so there is less danger of cold cracking
in ferritic steels.

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9.8 Disadvantages of the TIG process
 Gives low deposition rates compared with other arc welding processes.
 Need for higher dexterity and welder co-ordination than with MIG/MAG or
MMA welding.
 Less economical than MMA or MIG/MAG for sections thicker than ~10mm.
 Difficult to shield the weld zone fully in draughty conditions so may not be
suitable for site/field welding.
 Tungsten inclusions can occur if the electrode contacts the weld pool.
 Does not have any cleaning action so has low tolerance of contaminants on
filler or parent metals.

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IWS questions on TIG

1 Describe the methods of arc initiation used in TIG welding.

2 Why is AC power selected for welding aluminium?

3 What problems exist to the use of thoriated tungsten? What alternatives might you

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Section 10

MIG MAG Welding

10 MIG/MAG Welding
10.1 Process characteristics
The MIG/MAG welding process is versatile and suitable for thin sheet and thick
section components in most metallic materials. An arc is struck between the
end of a wire electrode and the workpiece, melting both to form a weld pool.
The wire serves as both the source of heat (via the arc at the wire tip) and filler
metal for the joint and is fed through a copper contact tube (also called a
contact tip) which conducts welding current into the wire. The weld pool is
protected from the surrounding atmosphere by a shielding gas fed through a
nozzle surrounding the wire. Shielding gas selection depends on the material
being welded and the application. The wire is fed from a reel by a motor drive
and the welder or machine moves the welding torch along the joint line. Wires
may be solid, (simple drawn wires of appropriate composition) or cored,
(composites formed from a metal sheath with a powdered flux or metal filling).
Consumables are generally competitively priced compared with those for other
processes and the process offers high duty cycle and therefore productivity,
because the wire is continuously fed. It is known in the USA as gas metal arc
welding (GMAW). The process is shown below.

Manual MIG/MAG welding is often referred to as a semi-automatic process as

the wire feed rate and arc length are controlled by the power source, but the
travel speed and wire position are under manual control. The process can also
be mechanised, (all parameters under control so the power source and ancillary
machinery) but may still require manual adjustment during welding, eg steering
of the welding head and adjustment of wire feed speed and arc voltage. Some
set-ups are described as automatic when there is no manual intervention during

The process usually operates with the wire positively charged (DCEP) and
connected to a flat characteristic (constant voltage) power source. Selection of
wire diameter (0.6-1.6mm) and wire feed speed determine the welding current
as the burn-off rate of the wire will be in equilibrium with the feed speed as
described in the section on power sources. The self-adjusting arc is a key
feature of the process.

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The feed unit for the wire may be separate or incorporated into the body of the
welding set.

The wire is pulled from the reel or drum and pushed through a liner along the
cable assembly connecting the feed unit to the welding torch by a set of driven
rolls. For solid wires, there is usually one grooved roll and a second flat roll on
top. Cored wires, having less stiffness than solid wires, may require two
grooved or even grooved and knurled rolls. There are also four roll systems and
for fine soft wires, such as 0.8mm aluminium, a secondary drive motor may be
mounted on the torch. This is termed a push-pull system.

The umbilical connection from the welding set to the torch carries three main
supplies - the wire in a liner, shielding gas in a separate hose and a welding
power lead. In the torch, the liner abuts a copper contact tip that is screwed
into a gas diffuser. The contact tip receives welding power when a latching
trigger switch is activated, which also operates the wire drive motor. As the
wire passes through the tip it picks up the welding current supply. Shielding gas
passes through the diffuser and into the space inside the welding nozzle from
where it flows over the weld pool, see below.

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Contact tip

Gas diffuser

Torch body


Gas nozzle

A number of manufacturers offer guides covering practical and theoretical

aspects of the process, one such from Lincoln Electric may be found at:
Such guides are strongly recommended to the engineer requiring more detail of
the process and its variants.

Advantages of the MIG/MAG process:

 Continuous wire feed.
 Automatic self-regulation of the arc length.
 High deposition rate and minimal number of stop/start locations.
 High consumable efficiency.
 Heat inputs in the range 0.1-2.0kJ/mm.
 Low hydrogen potential process.
 Welder has good visibility of weld pool and joint line.
 Little or no post-weld cleaning.
 Can be used in all positions (dip transfer).
 Good process control possibilities.
 Wide range of application.

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 No independent control of filler addition.
 Difficult to set up optimum parameters to minimise spatter levels.
 Risk of lack of fusion when using dip transfer on thicker weldments.
 High level of equipment maintenance.
 Lower heat input can lead to high hardness values.
 Higher equipment cost than MMA welding.
 Site welding requires special precautions to exclude draughts which may
disturb the gas shield.
 Joint and part access is not as good as MMA or TIG welding.
 Solid wire consumable not tolerant to base material surface contaminants.
Flux cored wires may be employed as they can tolerate greater

10.2 Transfer modes

Figure 13.1 Arc character

Spray transfer
Key characteristics
 Free-flight metal transfer.
 High heat input.
 High deposition rate.
 Smooth, stable arc.
 Used on steels above 6mm thickness and aluminium alloys above 3mm

In argon when the voltage is sufficiently high, >25V for a 1mm diameter wire
and the wire feed speed is adjusted to give more than 250A, the welding arc
burns continuously, metal melts from the wire and passes across the arc in a
series of small droplets, called spray transfer. The droplet size is typically
around 0.5-1 times the wire diameter and the arc burns in a stable manner
while metal transfer, becomes almost continuous.

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The wire is the anode of the electrical circuit and electron impingement heats
the wire rapidly to melting. As the current is raised, the anode spot increases in
size, reaches the same diameter as the wire and starts to climb up its outside.
The higher the current, the larger the cylinder of wire defining the anode spot.
This leads to tapering of the wire tip as the melting occurs beneath the
cylindrical area of anode spot so the effective wire diameter is much reduced as
current is increased and the droplets formed are correspondingly smaller.
Electromagnetic forces induced by the high current density pinch the molten
droplets and project them across the arc.

2% oxygen is sometimes added to the argon shielding gas for spray transfer.
This diatomic gas dissociates then recombines at the anode creating more heat
and giving arc stability at lower currents. 5% CO2 also has a similar effect but if
CO2 greater than 20% CO2 is used spray conditions cannot be established.

Spray transfer gives a large weld pool that does not lend itself to positional
welding or large runs with poor toughness if not properly controlled. For this
reason, some company specifications will not allow the use of solid wire MAG for
critical applications. The process is considered applicable for PA and PB

Globular transfer
Key characteristics
 Irregular metal transfer.
 Medium heat input.
 Medium deposition rate.
 Risk of spatter.
 Not widely used in the UK; can be used for mechanised welding of medium
thickness steels (typically 3-6mm) in the flat (PA) position.

When helium, CO2, or argon mixtures of these gases (CO2 levels higher than
20%) are used as shielding gases, spray transfer does not occur. The anode
spot does not grow so remains a small area on the wire end. Melting of the wire
commences but, with the small anode spot remaining beneath the droplet,
there is no direct impingement of electrons on the outside of the wire. The
droplet therefore grows by conduction until its size dictates that it detaches and
drops to the weld pool primarily under the action of gravity.

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The severe disturbance to the arc during this process and fall of a large globule
into the weld pool causes very considerable spatter. Techniques have evolved
using lower voltage settings (<20V) and pushing the arc into the weld pool. The
arc force depresses the pool so that the arc is burning in a hollow (buried arc
technique), cutting down the amount of spatter emitted and also minimising the
UV radiation. It is cited, mostly in American literature as a means of achieving
high deposition with CO2 shielded MAG but is not widely used in Europe.

Globular transfer is not suitable for positional welding and is typically used on
larger diameter wires and high currents.

Dip transfer
Key characteristics:
 Metal transfer by wire dipping or short-circuiting into the weld pool.
 Relatively low heat input process.
 Low weld pool fluidity.
 Used for thin sheet metal above 0.8mm and typically less than 3.2mm,
positional welding of thicker section and root runs in open butt joints.
 Process stability and spatter can be a problem if poorly tuned.
 Lack of fusion risk if poorly set up and applied.
 Not used for non-ferrous metals and alloys.

With voltage of 16-24V, shielding gas with less than 80% argon and current
below 200A, the wire feed can be set so that the end of the wire touches the
weld pool and short-circuits the system, dip transfer. These short-circuits can
take place 20-200 times per second.

During the short, the wire heats rapidly and fuses so that molten metal is
transferred to the pool after which the arc is re-established. This re-ignition is
accompanied by spatter but adjusting the inductance of the system can give a
degree of control over this.

When MIG/MAG welding in the dip transfer mode, the welding electrode touches
the weld pool, causing a short-circuit. During the short-circuit, the arc voltage is
nearly zero. If the constant voltage power supply responded instantly, very high
current would immediately begin to flow through the welding circuit. The rapid
rise in current to a high value would melt the short-circuited electrode free with
explosive force, dispelling the weld metal and causing considerable spatter.

Inductance is the property in an electrical circuit that slows down the rate of
current rise. Current travelling through an inductance coil creates a magnetic
field. This magnetic field generates a current in the welding circuit that is in
opposition to the welding current. Increasing the inductance will also increase
the arc time and decrease the frequency of short-circuiting.

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For each electrode feed rate, there is an optimum value of inductance. Too little
results in excessive spatter, too much and the current will not rise fast enough
and the molten tip of the electrode is not heated sufficiently causing the
electrode to stub into the base metal. Modern electronic power sources
automatically set the inductance to give a smooth arc and metal transfer.

Pulsed transfer
Key characteristics:
 Free-flight droplet transfer without short-circuiting over the entire working
 Very low spatter.
 Lower heat input than spray transfer.
 Reduced risk of lack of fusion compared with dip transfer.
 Control of weld bead profile for dynamically loaded parts.
 Process control/flexibility.
 Enables use of larger diameter, less expensive wires with thinner plates,
more easily fed (a particular advantage for aluminium welding).

As described in the section on power sources, pulsed power can be applied to

MIG welding. In its simplest form, this consists of a period at a background
current that maintains the arc but does not achieve metal transfer, followed by
a period of high current during which spray transfer occurs. The average
current is midway between background and peak and can be well below the
threshold normally associated with spray transfer. This means that the pool size
is relatively small and positional welding is possible, even though the transfer
mechanism is spray.

Pulsing the welding current extends the range of spray transfer operation well
below the natural transition from dip to spray transfer. This allows smooth,
spatter-free spray transfer to be obtained at mean currents below the transition
level, eg 50-150A and at lower heat inputs. Pulsing was introduced originally for
control of metal transfer by imposing artificial cyclic operation on the arc
system by applying alternately high and low currents.

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A typical pulse waveform and the main pulse welding variables are shown in
Figure 13.2. A low background current (typically 20-80A) is supplied to
maintain the arc, keep the wire tip molten, give stable anode and cathode roots
and maintain average current during the cycle. Droplet detachment occurs
during a high current pulse at current levels above the transition current level.
The pulse of current generates very high electromagnetic forces, which cause a
strong pinch effect on the metal filament supporting the droplet; the droplet is
detached and is projected across the arc gap. Pulse current and current density
must be sufficiently high to ensure that spray transfer (not globular) always
occurs so that positional welding can be used.

Pulse transfer uses pulses of current to fire a single globule of metal across the
arc gap at a frequency of 50-300 pulses. Pulse transfer is a development of
spray transfer that gives positional welding capability for steels, combined with
controlled heat input, good fusion and high productivity. It may be used for all
sheet steel thickness >1mm, but is mainly used for positional welding of steels

Figure 13.2 Pulsed welding waveform and parameters.

A normal MIG/MAG set requires a welder to set the wire feed speed (which
dictates the current) and select an appropriate voltage to suit. The two
variables are dependent on the wire diameter and gas used. This requires the
welder/operator to have knowledge on the relationship between current and

A synergic (non-pulse) set has a one knob dial that defines the wire feed
speed. The microprocessor within the equipment will select the optimum
voltage from a look up table (a synergic curve) to match the given current. The
synergic curve has been developed to give the best possible settings for a
particular current/wire feed speed. Now the welder is not responsible to select
the right voltage. A trim button can be used, which allows the user to decrease
or increase the voltage by a small percentage. The trim action allows the welder
to make small correction in voltage to suit the variables at the work piece.

Pulse Synergic equipment will make adjustments to the pulse parameters ie

pulse height, width, frequency and background current based on the wire feed

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10.3 Welding parameters
The primary variables in MIG/MAG welding are:

 Welding current/wire feed speed.

 Voltage.
 Gases.
 Travel speed and electrode orientation.
 Inductance.
 Contact tip to work distance.
 Nozzle to work distance.
 Shielding gas nozzle.
 Type of metal transfer.

Wire feed speed

Increasing the wire feed speed automatically increases the current in the wire.
Too high current/WFS, without a subsequent rise in voltage, may lead to lack of
fusion and cause stubbing; essentially this is where the WFS exceeds the
voltageset. Wires are generally produced in 0.6, 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, 1.4 and 1.6mm

Voltage is the most important setting in spray transfer as it controls the arc
length. In dip transfer it also affects the rise of current and the overall heat
input into the weld. An increase of both wire feed speed/current and voltage will
increase heat input. The welding connections need to be checked for soundness,
as any loose connections will result in resistance and will cause the voltage to
drop in the circuit and will affect the characteristic of the welding arc. The
voltage will affect the type of transfer achievable, but this is also highly
dependent on the type of gas being used.

 Increasing arc voltage

 Reduced penetration, increased width
 Excessive voltage can cause porosity, spatter
and undercut

Figure 13.3 The effect of arc voltage.

We refer to the voltage in relation to setting the desired transfer mode and it is
one of the significant parameters for the welder to adjust his welding condition.
For precision work, it is common to use a portable arc monitoring system
(PAMS) that will record the parameters used but these are not very helpful for
the welder when setting up.

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A number of manufacturers give advice on practical solutions to correct
parameter selection. The actual value of voltage will depend on the shielding
gas used but one of the simplest recommendations is to be found in the Miller
Welding series of articles:


It suggests that the welder reduces voltage setting until the arc stubs into the
plate and then increases it until the arc is unstable. The correct setting is
midway between these!

Another key parameter when welding steel is the transition current between
transfer modes for those gases that support both dip and spray. The following
table gives approximate values for C-steel and stainless steel.

Wire dia, Transition

Material Shielding gas
mm current, A
0.8 155-165
0.9 175-185
Ar ≥ 10%CO2
1.2 215-225
C-steel 1.6 280-290
0.9 130-140
Ar +2%O2 1.2 205-215
1.6 265-275
0.8 120-130
Stainless 0.9 140-150
Ar +2%O2
steel 1.2 185-195
1.6 250-260

The welder does not directly set the welding current in MIG/MAG welding. His
control is over the wire feed speed and this is proportional to the current. The
relationship is not entirely linear but is sufficiently close that, over the normal
welding range, the chart below gives a good approximation.


Welding Current

0.8 1.2

Wire Feed Speed, m/min

Selecting a wire feed speed that is in excess of optimum gives a wide bead with
undercut at the edges. Too low current gives an uneven, lumpy bead with poor
side fusion.

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Once the welder has established a good arc condition for the application, he
then has travel speed and weave to give control over the bead shape and
fusion. If travel speed is too rapid the weld bead will be narrow and convex with
poor fusion at the sides, too slow overheats the material, giving a wide HAZ and
high distortion combined with a flat wide bead.

Travel speed
The faster the travel speed the less penetration, narrower bead width and the
higher risk of undercut

 Increasing travel speed.

 Reduced penetration and width, undercut.

Figure 13.4 The effect of travel speed.

10.4 Contact tip and nozzle set-up

The contact tip to workpiece distance (CTWD) has an influence on the welding
current because of resistive heating in the electrode extension. In the section
on Power Sources, we saw that a constant voltage power source attempts to
maintain the same arc length on altering the torch to workpiece distance (the
self-adjusting arc). Thus, moving the torch away from the workpiece, results in
an increased extension of the wire from tip to arc. As the wire extension
increases, so does the overall resistance of that length of wire. This leads to
more heating of the wire by the i2R effect. So less welding current is necessary
to achieve the equilibrium rate of burn-off. Long electrode extensions can
therefore cause lack of penetration as the current is lower than anticipated.

Conversely, welding current increases when CTWD is reduced. This provides the
experienced welder with a means of controlling the current during welding, but
can result in variable penetration in the hands of an inexperienced welder.

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Contact tip

Gas nozzle

Contact tip
Electrode tip-to-
Nozzle-to- extension work
work distance
Arc length


As the electrode extension is increased, the burn-off rate increases for a given
welding current due to increased resistive heating. Increasing the electrode
extension, eg in mechanised applications, is therefore one method of increasing
deposition rates, as the wire feed speed is increased to maintain the required
welding current.

Resistive (i2R) heating depends on the resistivity of the electrode, length of the
electrode extension and wire diameter. The effect is therefore more pronounced
for welding materials which have high resistivity, such as steels. The electrode
extension should be kept small when small diameter wires are used to prevent
excessive heating in the wire and avoiding the resulting
poor bead shape.

At short CTWDs, radiated heat from the weld pool can cause overheating of the
contact tube and welding torch, leading to spatter adherence and increased
wear of the contact tube.

The electrode extension should be checked when setting-up welding conditions

or fitting a new contact tube. Suggested CTWDs for the principal metal transfer
modes are:

Metal transfer CWTD, mm

Dip 10-15
Spray 20-25
Pulse 15-20

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The contact tip may be positioned in-line with the nozzle end, protruding
beyond it or recessed inside the torch. This has an effect on gas shielding
efficiency and on visibility and accessibility; so, a compromise is necessary. The
following gives suggested settings for the mode of metal transfer being used.

Metal transfer Contact tip position relative to

mode nozzle
Dip 2mm inside to 2mm protruding
Spray 4-8mm inside
Spray (aluminium) 6-10mm inside

The purpose of the shielding gas nozzle is to produce a laminar gas flow to
protect the weld pool from atmospheric contamination. Nozzle sizes range from
13-22mm diameter. The nozzle diameter should be increased in relation to the

Contact Electrod
Contact tip e
tip Electrod
recessed extensio
extension e

Set up for Dip transfer Set up for Spray transfer

size of the weld pool, larger diameter nozzles are used for high current, spray
transfer application and smaller diameter nozzles for dip transfer. The flow rate
must also be tuned to the nozzle diameter and shielding gas type to give
sufficient weld pool coverage. Gas nozzles for dip transfer welding tend to be
tapered at the outlet of the nozzle.

Joint access and type should also be considered when selecting the required gas
nozzle and flow rate. Too small a nozzle may cause it to become obstructed by
spatter more quickly and, if the wire bends on leaving the contact tube, the
shielding envelope and arc location may not coincide.

Penetration Deep Moderate

Excess weld metal Maximum Moderate

Figure 13.5 The effect of torch angle.

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10.5 Shielding gases and nozzles
The purpose of the shielding gas nozzle is to produce a laminar gas flow in
order to protect the weld pool from atmospheric contamination. Nozzle sizes
range from 13-22mm diameter. The nozzle diameter should be increased in
relation to the size of the weld pool. Therefore, larger diameter nozzles are
used for high current, spray transfer application and smaller diameter nozzles
for dip transfer. The flow rate must also be tuned to the nozzle diameter and
shielding gas type to give sufficient weld pool coverage. Gas nozzles for dip
transfer welding tend to be tapered at the outlet of the nozzle.

Joint access and type should also be considered when selecting the required gas
nozzle and flow rate. Use of too small a nozzle may cause it to become
obstructed by spatter more quickly and, if the wire bends on leaving the contact
tube, the shielding envelope and arc location may not coincide.

Shielding gas composition plays an active role in the formation and properties
of the arc and plasma and also affects the metal transfer characteristics in
MIG/MAG and helps determine weld pool shape. A number of physical
properties of gases create these welding differences.

Ionisation energy and arc voltage

Ionisation energy or ionisation potential, measured in electron volts (eV) or
kJ/mol, determines how easily the shielding gas can form electrically conducting
plasma. Helium has a high ionisation energy (~25eV) as does CO2, but argon is
significantly lower at 14.7eV. So the voltage required to maintain an arc in Ar is
significantly lower than for He or CO2 and this is reflected in the welding

Higher arc voltage tends to give a wider plasma at the workpiece and so a wider
weld. Argon shielded MIG typically gives a fairly narrow weld bead with a deep
finger penetration. Helium gives a much wider, rounder bead shape.

Carbon dioxide, being a multiple atom molecule, dissociates in the arc as well
as ionising. On re-combination heat is released that increases the effective
melting of the weld pool giving a deep and wide bead.

Ar Ar-He He CO2

The addition of some helium to argon gives a more uniform heat concentration
within the arc plasma and this affects the shape of the weld bead profile.
Argon-helium mixtures effectively give a hotter arc and so are beneficial for
welding thicker base materials and those with higher, thermal conductivity, eg
copper or aluminium.

For welding steels, all grades, including stainless steels, a controlled addition of
oxygen or CO2 helps to generate a stable arc and give good droplet wetting.
Because these additions react with the molten metal they are referred to as
active gases hence the name (metal active gas) MAG welding is the technical
term that is used when referring to the welding of steels.

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CO2 is a relatively low cost gas so is an attractive consumable. In practice it is
oxidising and can also transfer carbon to the weld metal so is only applicable to
welding ferritic steels. It cannot sustain spray transfer as the ionisation
potential of the gas is too high so is normally restricted to dip transfer welding.
As noted above, it is possible to use higher current with a globular transfer but
this is not popular.

100% Ar
Argon is inert but as noted above has sufficiently low ionisation energy to
maintain a stable arc. This is, however, relative. MIG welding of non-ferrous
alloys, eg aluminium, copper or nickel alloys, is acceptable under Ar shielding
but the characteristics can be improved by using gas mixtures. Pure Ar
shielding of aluminium benefits from the presence of oxide which helps to give a
strong, deeply penetrating arc. Nickel alloys are notoriously sluggish and,
together with copper alloys benefit from the addition of helium to the shielding

Ar/He mixtures
Helium is more expensive than argon, making mixtures higher priced. The
advantage of adding He to the shielding is the increased arc stiffness and
greater heat transfer leading to a deeper, more rounded bead cross-section.
Helium addition also increases the operating voltage giving a wider bead.
Although pure He will not support spray transfer, addition of over 20% Ar
produces stable spray conditions. The mixtures are fully inert so can be used on
reactive metals such as titanium. Mixtures containing 70%Ar and 30%He are
often selected for welding non-ferrous alloys but up to 75%He with 25%Ar is
recommended for welding heavy sections as the high helium content gives
much greater depth of penetration.

Ar + 5 to 20%CO2
An Ar/CO2 mixture is a common shielding gas for spray transfer welding of
ferritic steels. Oxygen may be present at around 2%. The percentage of CO2
depends on the type of steel being welded and the mode of metal transfer
required. Ar + 5%CO2 is better for spray but 18-20%CO2 offers the prospect of
operating both in spray and dip conditions. The welding arc and pool gain the
benefit of both gases, ie good penetration with a stable arc and very little
spatter in spray. In dip transfer with mixed gas the spatter is much reduced
compared with 100%CO2. Industrial gas suppliers offer a range of gas mixtures
that they claim are designed for particular steels and thickness ranges, but all
are essentially argon rich with or without a small amount of oxygen and 5-

Increased extension

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Ar + 1 to 5% O2
The addition of oxygen acts in a similar way to CO2 in that it helps to give a
strong stable spray arc. Carbon steels are often welded with 5%O2 as this gives
a fluid pool that wets the sidewalls easily. This mixture is significantly oxidising
and only suitable for carbon and C-Mn steels. Stainless steels may be welded
with 1 or 2%O2 mixtures, preferred to CO2 containing mixtures to avoid carbon
pick-up by the stainless steel. The 2% mix gives better wetting but does tend to
produce oxide that appears as a black powder alongside the weld bead.

A summary table of shielding gases and mixtures used for different base
materials is given in below.

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Summary of shielding gas mixtures for MIG/MAG welding.
Shielding behaviou
Metal gas r Characteristics
Carbon Argon-CO2 Slightly Increasing CO2 content gives hotter arc,
steel oxidising improved arc stability, deeper
penetration, transition from finger-type to
bowl-shaped penetration profile, more
fluid weld pool giving flatter weld bead
with good wetting, increased spatter
levels, better toughness than CO2.
Minimum 80% argon for axial spray
transfer. General-purpose mixture:
Argon-O2 Slightly Stiffer arc than Ar-CO2 mixtures
oxidising minimises undercutting, suited to spray
transfer mode, lower penetration than Ar-
CO2 mixtures, finger-type weld bead
penetration at high current levels.
General-purpose mixture: Argon-3% CO2.
Ar-He-CO2 Slightly Substitution of helium for argon gives
oxidising hotter arc, higher arc voltage, more fluid
weld pool, flatter bead profile, more bowl-
shaped and deeper penetration profile
and higher welding speeds, compared
with Ar-CO2 mixtures. High cost.
CO2 Oxidising Arc voltages 2-3V higher than Ar-CO2
mixtures, best penetration, higher
welding speeds, dip transfer or buried arc
technique only, narrow working range,
high spatter levels, low cost.
Stainless He-Ar-CO2 Slightly Good arc stability with minimum effect on
steels oxidising corrosion resistance (carbon pick-up),
higher helium contents designed for dip
transfer, lower helium contents designed
for pulse and spray transfer. General-
purpose gas: He-Ar-2%CO2.
Argon-O2 Slightly Spray transfer only, minimises
oxidising undercutting on heavier sections, good
bead profile.
Aluminium, Argon Inert Good arc stability, low spatter and
copper, general-purpose gas. Titanium alloys
nickel, require inert gas backing and trailing
titanium shields to prevent air contamination.
alloys Argon- Inert Higher heat input offsets high heat
helium dissipation on thick sections, lower risk of
lack of fusion defects, higher spatter,
higher cost than argon.

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10.6 Solid wire consumables
The wire is usually supplied layer-wound on a wire basket. Occasionally plastic
spools are used.

Both methods feed well, though personal preference may be the cause of
considerable debate amongst welders on the merits and shortcomings of wire
winding! For heavy wire usage, especially for automated stations, drums of wire
up to 350kg may be used.

To feed wire from these large packs without it twisting on exiting the welding
torch, loading into the drum has to be done with a preset opposite twist.

Smooth feeding is an essential part of MIG/MAG welding, especially mechanised

or automated. Wire appearance is the most obvious differentiator to the welder
but is not a good indicator of feeding characteristics. Solid C-Mn wires are
traditionally copper-coated, variously thought to help feeding, improve current
pick-up, slow contact tip wear and slow rusting of the wire in storage. It is
difficult to prove any of these attributes. Bare wires became available in the
1980s and proved just as able to run on automated equipment.
It seems that the important characteristics when considering feeding are:

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Most easily demonstrated by pulling a metre of wire from the reel or drum and
tossing it onto the floor. The diameter of the loop formed is the cast. If too
small the wire has a tendency to rub the walls of the liner with some pressure
and can give juddering during feeding.

The loop used to demonstrate cast also shows helix. If the loop is clipped to be
a single circle and is hung over a horizontal bar, the offset between the ends is
the helix. Excessive helix can give feeding issues, mostly with wear of the
contact tip and wander of the wire tip and therefore arc across the bead.

Welding wires need a thin layer of lubricant to give efficient feeding through the
liner. Fortuitously, drawn wire has a persistent film of oil left from the drawing
process. Some manufacturers deliberately control the lubrication of the final
stages of drawing and winding with a view to improving feeding.

This is more an issue between alloy types. All C-Mn steel wires are likely to be
in a cold-drawn state. Some alloys are very difficult to draw to welding wire
sizes and may be annealed just prior to final drawing. Aluminium alloys, even in
a cold-drawn condition, will not rival steel for stiffness. These are notoriously
difficult to feed through a welding torch and may need a plastic liner and even a
two motor, push-pull feeding system.

10.7 Important Inspection Points/Checks When MIG/MAG Welding

Welding equipment
A visual check should be made to ensure the welding equipment is in good

Electrode wire
The diameter, specification and quality of wire are the main inspection
headings. The level of de-oxidation of the wire is an important factor with
single, double and triple de-oxidised wires being available.

The higher the level of de-oxidants in the wire, the lower the chance of
occurrence of porosity in the weld. The quality of the wire winding, copper
coating and temper are also important factors in minimising wire feed

Quality of wire windings and increasing costs

(a) Random wound. (b) Layer wound. (c) Precision layer wound.

Drive rolls and liner

Check the drive rolls are the correct size for the wire and that the pressure is
only hand tight, or just sufficient to drive the wire. Any excess pressure will
deform the wire to an ovular shape, making the wire very difficult to drive
through the liner, resulting in arcing in the contact tip and excessive wear of
the contact tip and liner.

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Check that the liner is the correct type and size for the wire. A size of liner will
generally fit 2 sizes of wire ie 0.6 and 0.8, 1.0 and 1.2, 1.4 and 1.6mm
diameter. Steel liners are used for steel wires and Teflon liners for aluminium

Contact tip
Check that the contact tip is the correct size for the wire being driven and check
the amount of wear frequently. Any loss of contact between the wire and
contact tip will reduce the efficiency of current pick. Most steel wires are copper
coated to maximise the transfer of current by contact between two copper
surfaces at the contact tip but this also inhibits corrosion. The contact tip should
be replaced regularly.

The length of the electric arc in MIG/MAG welding is controlled by the voltage
settings, achieved by using a constant voltage volt/amp characteristic inside the
equipment. Any poor connection in the welding circuit will affect the nature and
stability of the electric arc and is thus a major inspection point.

Gas and gas flow rate

The type of gas used is extremely important to MIG/MAG welding, as is the flow
rate from the cylinder, which must be adequate to give good coverage over the
solidifying and molten metal to avoid oxidation and porosity.

Other variable welding parameters

Checks should be made for correct wire feed speed, voltage, speed of travel
and all other essential variables of the process given on the approved welding

Safety checks
Checks should be made on the current carrying capacity or duty cycle of
equipment and electrical insulation. Correct extraction systems should be in use
to avoid exposure to ozone and fumes.

A check should always be made to ensure that the welder is qualified to

weld the procedure being employed.
Typical welding imperfections:
 Silica inclusions (on ferritic steels only) caused by poor inter-run cleaning.
 Lack of sidewall fusion during dip transfer welding thick section vertically
 Porosity caused by loss of gas shield and low tolerance to contaminants.
 Burn through from using the incorrect metal transfer mode on sheet metal.

10.8 Summary of solid wire MIG/MAG GMAW

Equipment requirements
 Transformer/rectifier (constant voltage type).
 Power and power return cable.
 Inert, active or mixed shielding gas (argon or CO2).
 Gas hose, flow meter and gas regulator.
 MIG torch with hose, liner, diffuser, contact tip and nozzle.
 Wire feed unit with correct drive rolls.
 Electrode wire to correct specification and diameter.
 Correct visor/glass, all safety clothing and good extraction.

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Parameters and inspection points
 Wire feed speed/amperage.
 Open circuit and welding voltage.
 Wire type and diameter.
 Gas type and flow rate.
 Contact tip size and condition.
 Roller type, size and pressure.
 Liner size.
 Inductance settings.
 Insulation/extraction.
 Connections (voltage drops).
 Travel speed, direction and angles.

Typical welding imperfections

 Silica inclusions.
 Lack of fusion (dip transfer).
 Surface porosity.

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages Disadvantages
High productivity Lack of fusion (dip transfer)
Easily automated Small range of consumables
All positional (dip, pulse and FCAW) Protection for site working
Material thickness range Complex equipment
Continuous electrode High ozone levels

10.9 Flux-cored arc welding

In the mid-1980s the development of self- and gas-shielded FCAW was a major
step in the successful application of on-site semi-automatic welding and has
also enabled a much wider range of materials to be welded.

The cored wire consists of a metal sheath containing a granular flux. This can
contain elements which normally used in MMA electrodes so the process has a
very wide range of applications.

Gas producing elements and compounds can be added to the flux so the
process can be independent of a separate gas shield which restricts the use of
conventional MIG/MAG welding in many field applications.

A further advantage is the increased deposition rate compared with solid wires.
The core tends to be non-conducting and with metal cored wires the resistivity
of the powder is much higher than solid metal, so, in essence, the current is
carried by the sheath. This has a smaller cross-sectional area than solid so, at
the same amperage, the current density is higher.

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Higher current density creates faster burn-off, so more material is transferred in
unit time.

There are two main methods of producing cored wire. The main method starts
with a strip of metal rolled to a U shape, filled with powdered flux or metal,
closed to a tube then drawn to size. Wires are usually supplied in sizes 0.8-
2.4mm diameter.

Manufacturers have worked with several forms of closure - overlaps,

interlocking edges, etc, but insufficient advantage was found for these forms to
become common. The usual closure simply butts the edges together. There is
some concern that the seam can present access for moisture to enter the flux
but in practice this is very unlikely.

What is a potential problem is the use of drawing compounds (soaps) as the

tube is reduced to final size. These can easily be squeezed into the tube during
the drawing process and, being hydrogen containing, can be a source of
potential hydrogen during welding. Techniques involving baking the wires part-
way through manufacture and finishing with lightly lubricated diamond dies
have been developed to counter this. Modern cored wires can easily reach <5ml

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The second filling method overcomes this issue as the wire is seamless. A long
coil of seamless tube is mounted on a vibrating pad and powdered flux is
poured into one end whilst the coil is vibrated to encourage the filling to move
through the coil and form a central core with no voids. Once filled, the coil is
drawn to size, but, as there is no seam, die lubrication can be similar to that for
solid wire. These wires can reach very low hydrogen levels. The method
requires very careful control on particle size and shape to avoid segregation
during filling.

Cored wires are available in all the packages used for solid wire - layer or near-
layer wound reels are most common, but loose coils, drums and Marathon Pac
style bulk supplies are all used.

Types of wire
Wires are described by the type of core with the two main categories being gas
and self-shielded. Gas-shielded flux compositions are formulated for weld
composition, arc characteristics, positional welding ability and mechanical
properties. Self-shielded wires have the additional attribute of creating gas-
shielding in a similar fashion to MMA electrodes. There is a finite space within
the core of a wire and if self-shielding is a feature the possibilities for
compositional and mechanical property control are more limited than for gas-
shielded wires.

Nonetheless, self-shielded wires may be as diverse as 55%Ni-45%Fe for cast

iron welding and all-positional, high toughness C-Mn-Ni steel for offshore jacket

Gas-shielded wires are common in three alloy groups – ferritic steels for general
and high mechanical property applications, stainless steels and hardfacing
alloys. All may be formulated in one of three fluxing systems:

Give good bead shape and wide ranging positional capabilities.

Excellent positional capability and mechanical properties, but less smooth bead
shape and poorer slag release than rutile types.

Metal cored
Very little fluxing, designed for higher productivity, some having excellent root
run capabilities.

Note: Unlike MMA electrodes, the potential hydrogen levels and mechanical
properties of welds with rutile wires can equal those of the basic types.

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10.10 Process variants
A vertical butt welding process for Carbon steel that resembles electroslag
welding (see Submerged Arc Welding) but uses MIG/MAG welding principles.

It is appropriate for thick plate and completes the joint in a single pass. The
parent plates have no edge preparation, are aligned with a gap of around 25-
40mm. They are clamped into position resting on a small steel start pad.
Water-cooled copper shoes are clamped either side of the gap to make a
rectangular shaped well at the bottom of the plates. Any small areas with
imperfect fit are packed with ceramic putty to give a receptacle that will hold
molten metal.


Start pad Water-cooled


A modified MIG torch is used to blow inert gas into the well and feed wire to the
bottom of the well where the arc is initiated. As the weld pool grows and fills
the gap between the parent plates, the torch is mechanically slowly withdrawn
allowing the bottom of the pool to solidify and the weld to progress slowly up
the gap. As the molten pool approaches the top of the water-cooled shoes, a
second pair is attached above the originals. Once the weld has solidified above
the top of the first pair, they are removed and placed above the working set.

Electrogas welding is an efficient method of making large vertical welds in thick

plate but the mechanical properties are limited. The weld bead is hot for a very
long time so microstructures are near equilibrium – ferrite and pearlite in
hypoeutectoid steels – giving little flexibility to optimise toughness etc.

Tandem wire
A method of increasing deposition by using two wires, each with its own power
supply, running into a single weld pool. Some manufacturers offer a special
torch with two electrically isolated contact tips within a single gas nozzle. The
arrangement seeks to provide faster travel speed and therefore improved

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The wires are arranged one behind the other creating a very elongated weld
pool. As there are separate controls, it is possible to run both arcs in the spray
condition, one spray and one pulsed, or both in pulsed mode. In pulsed mode
the two wires are alternately pulsed to avoid magnetic interaction between the
two arcs. The twin spray technique may be used for welding thick material
requiring deep penetration. The twin pulsed condition allows very high speed
welding of sheet material.

Due to the two arcs operating simultaneously the level of UV radiation emitted
is very high, combined with being heavy and difficult to manoeuvre and the
process requiring high travel speeds means that it is almost exclusively used as
a mechanised process.

Controlled short circuit transfer

With modern power sources it is possible to detect small changes to condition
instantly and apply a correction to the current waveform. Several
manufacturers make use of this for low current applications. Examples are
Lincoln Electric’s Surface Tension TransferTM (STT) system and the Fronius cold
metal transfer (CMT) system, which also uses a synchronised pulsed wire feed
to aid droplet detachment. This attempts to control dip transfer to achieve
consistent controlled metal transfer without spatter.

A background current produces a molten end to the wire which grows until it
touches the surface of the pool as is normal in dip transfer. Immediately the
short circuit is recognised by the software a high current is applied to create the
pinch effect normally associated with spray transfer. This necks the droplet at
the solid wire interface. This is detected by the system and at this point, near
detachment of the droplet, the current is lowered to below background level so
that the droplet collapses into the pool with no violent recreation of the arc as is
in dip transfer.

The system immediately applies a high peak current to re-establish the arc and
commence wire melting once more. After a short time the current is slowly
decayed back to the background level and the cycle commences once more.

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IWS Questions MIG/MAG

1 Explain the options available for shielding gas and how you would choose the right
gas for a particular application.

2 Why can’t you weld vertically with a spray condition? What would you choose

3 What is a push-pull gun and when is it used?

IWT Questions MIG/MAG

1 Explain why there are different transfer modes in MIG/MAG. Give some examples of
when you would choose one over another.

2 What factors influence the ease of feeding wire? Comment on both equipment and
consumable factors.

3 Why might you use cored wire consumables for MIG/MAG welding?

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Section 11

Manual Metal Arc (MMA) Welding

11 Manual Metal Arc (MMA) Welding
11.1 History
Manual metal arc welding (MMA) had its origins in the last decade of the 19th
century as experimenters tried using metal rods to replace the hand-held
electrode in the recently invented Bernados carbon arc process. Originally the
metal rod was bare, with no flux coating to give a protective gas shield so welds
were poor quality with gross porosity and oxide inclusions. Improvements were
made by dipping the rods into a lime wash but it was not until the early 1900s,
when the Kjellberg process was patented in Sweden that coated electrodes
appeared and almost simultaneously, the Quasi-Arc method was introduced in
the UK.

MMA welding is the most versatile of the welding processes and is suitable for
welding most non-ferrous metals as well as steels, over a wide range of
thicknesses, can be used in all positions, with reasonable ease of use and
relatively economically. The final weld quality is primarily dependent on the skill
of the welder.

The process was for many years the most common but has been overtaken in
the last twenty years by MIG/MAG, especially as power source control and
pulsed power have developed. Some materials, like aluminium, magnesium and
titanium, are rarely welded by MMA now and the usage of stainless steel MMA is
declining in favour of MIG with solid or cored wires.

11.2 Process characteristics

The electrodes are produced in lengths, usually 300-450mm long and the core
wire diameter is typically 2-6mm with a flux covering that might double the
overall diameter. However, variants of the process over the years have used
electrodes well outside these ranges.

When an arc is struck between the coated electrode and workpiece, both melt
to form a weld pool. The temperature of the arc is reported to be a minimum of
6000°C, sufficient to melt the parent metal, consumable core wire and flux
coating simultaneously. The flux forms gas and slag which protect the weld pool
from oxygen and nitrogen in the surrounding atmosphere. The molten slag
solidifies and cools and must be chipped off the weld bead once the weld run is
complete (or before the next weld pass is deposited where multi-run welding is
necessary). The process allows only short lengths of weld to be produced before
a new electrode needs to be inserted in the holder.

The presence of the slag changes the simple principles of anode heating and
cathode cooling explained in the section on Arcs and Plasmas. In general, DCEP
results in deeper penetration and DCEN has a higher burn-off for a given
current resulting in better deposition rate.

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Electrode angle 75-80o to
the horizontal

Consumable electrode
Filler metal core

Flux coating
Direction of electrode

Solidified slag Arc

Gaseous shield

Molten weld pool

Weld metal
The manual metal arc welding process.

A wide range of alloying can be achieved by additions to the flux coating. Many
steel electrodes have the same low C, low Mn steel core wire and flux additions
produce the high toughness, higher Mn weld metal.

For more information on MMA see


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11.3 MMA basic equipment requirements

10 1

9 2



1 Power source transformer/rectifier (constant current type).

2 Holding quiver (holds at temperatures up to 150°C).
3 Inverter power source (more compact and portable).
4 Electrode holder (of a suitable amperage rating).
5 Power cable (of a suitable amperage rating).
6 Welding visor (with correct rating for the amperage/process).
7 Power return cable (of a suitable amperage rating).
8 Electrodes (of a suitable type and amperage rating).
9 Electrode oven (bakes electrodes at up to 450°C).
10 Control panel (on/off/amperage/polarity/OCV).

In the chapter on power sources it said that MMA requires a constant current
power source so that the unsteadiness of the welder’s hand has only a limited
effect on the current and thus the fusion characteristics.

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As the process can be used DCEN, DCEP or AC, all types of power source are
used for MMA. Inverter sets are very popular as they give a wide range of
current from lightweight, portable units.

MMA is still used extensively for site work as it can operate successfully from
engine-driven generators.

When used in manufacturing, large transformer or transformer rectifier sets are

used, often running several operators from the same machine.

11.4 Electrode types

As described in Section 1 History, there are many types of electrode coating
and manufacturers are prone to claiming particular attributes for their formulae,
but they can be grouped into types.

11.4.1 Cellulosic
A strong arc action and give deep penetration, AWS E6010 types are DC
operating and E6011 run on AC. The gas shield generated is principally
hydrogen which gives good protection but high diffusible hydrogen in the weld
metal and HAZ.

Cellulosic coatings are only used on carbon and C-Mn steels and are noted for
their ability to weld in the vertically down position known as stovepiping. In
fact E6010 electrodes are often known as stovepipe rods.

11.4.2 Rutile
The coating of rutile electrodes has a high proportion of titanium dioxide.

AWS type E6012 electrodes are DC operating and E6013 run on AC. Early rutile
electrodes for steel were for welding in the flat position. They have fluid slag
that solidifies just after the metal giving a smooth bead surface and easy slag
E6013 electrodes may be for welding in the flat position, but many followed the
lead of Murex Welding’s Vodex (vertical, overhead, downhand plus – ex from
Murex) in offering all-positional capability. E6013 electrodes remain the
welders’ choice for general purpose welding having a smooth arc action and
good slag release.

11.4.3 Rutile high recovery

The addition of significant proportions of iron powder to a rutile coating has
advantages. The recovery is much greater so more weld metal is laid at the
same current. The coating is much thicker so forms a deeper cup in which the
arc burns, this is sufficiently recessed to allow the end of the coating to be
rested on the workpiece without risk of extinguishing the arc, making guiding
the rod easier, even novices can handle this touch welding technique. The
slag is also readily released, sometimes self-releasing behind the welder as he
progresses along the joint.

The downside is that these rods can only be used in the flat position, but for flat
butt or fillet work, these AWS E7024 electrodes are a good choice.
Manufacturers offer rods with 150-180% recovery, though some have tried up
to 240%. Recovery is calculated as:

weight of weld metal

Recovery %  x 100
weight of core wire used

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11.4.4 Basic
The original coatings applied to electrodes by Kjellberg were basic coatings,
little more than ground limestone and clay bound by silicate, but these
ingredients are still used today.

Electrodes classified as E7015 in the AWS system were the first modern basic
rods, are for DC operation and have generally been superseded by E7016 or
E7018 types that can operate on AC and DC.

The main difference between E7016 and E7018 electrodes is the iron powder
content in the latter. Both give good mechanical properties, especially
toughness and low hydrogen weld metal.

11.5 Setting up for welding

As MMA electrodes produce a slag, it is often assumed this will take care of any
oxide on the surface or inclusions in the material. This may be true to an extent
but there is no substitute for correct preparation prior to welding. All materials,
including mild steel, should be ground, brushed or otherwise cleaned of oxide
from the joint area.

Edge preparations must be cut for all but the thinnest butt welds. Straight sided
V preparations are set up with an included angle of 60-70° for ferritic steels,
70-80° for stainless and copper alloys and 90° for nickel alloys.

Good connection between the workpiece and the earth return to the power
source is essential for MMA welding. If the current route is changing across the
workpiece, a DC arc may be deflected; residual magnetism in the material may
give similar deflection. This arc blow is at its worst when depositing root runs
in magnetic material where each plate forms a magnetic pole along its edge so
the preparation has a highly confused magnetic field that deflects the arc very
significantly. As the root run is laid, a metallic bridge is formed that removes
the effect of the poles but the quality of the run may have been compromised
before this happens.

11.6 Welding parameters

11.6.1 Current (amperage)
The current range required depends on the diameter and type of electrode.
Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation as variation can occur as
shown in the table below which cites a few specific electrodes.

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If the current selected is higher than recommended, the electrode will overheat
and towards the end of the run may begin to glow red.

Weld quality is affected by incorrect current settings:

 Current too low

Poor fusion or penetration, irregular weld bead shape, slag inclusions,
unstable arc, porosity.
 Current too high
Excessive penetration, burn through, undercut, spatter, porosity, deep
craters, electrode damage due to overheating, high deposition making
positional welding difficult.

11.6.2 Voltage
For current to flow through the circuit there needs to be a potential difference
or voltage (V). For MMA welding the voltage required to initiate the arc is called
the open circuit voltage (OCV), which is the voltage measured between the
output terminals of the power source when no current is flowing through the
welding circuit. For safety reasons the OCV should not exceed 100V and is
usually between 50-90V.
Immediately the arc is established a working (arc) voltage of 20-30V is
adopted. Arc voltage is a function of arc length which with MMA is controlled by
the welder. Arc voltage controls weld pool fluidity.

The effects of the wrong arc length and therefore arc voltage can be:

 Arc voltage too low

Poor penetration, electrode stubbing, lack of fusion defects, slag inclusions,

unstable arc condition, irregular weld bead shape.
 Arc voltage too high

Excessive spatter, porosity, arc wander, irregular weld bead shape, slag
inclusions, fluid weld pool making positional welding difficult.

11.6.3 Travel speed

Travel speed (S) is the rate of weld progression, the third factor that affects
heat input and therefore metallurgical and mechanical conditions.

Potential defects associated with incorrect welding speeds when using the MMA
welding process are:

 Travel speed too fast

Narrow thin weld bead, fast cooling, slag inclusions, undercut, poor
fusion/penetration, insufficient heat input giving high hardness structures.
 Travel speed too slow
Cold laps, excess weld deposition, irregular bead shape, undercut, excess
heat input making the development of high toughness impossible.

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11.6.4 Heat input
Heat input is a calculation of the total energy passed into the weld bead in unit
time. It is calculated as:

 kJ  i.V.k
Heat input   
 mm  S.1000


I = current in Amps.
V = voltage in Volts.
S = travel speed in mm/sec.
K = thermal efficiency factor.

The thermal efficiency factor is taken as 0.8 for MMA, MIG/MAG and FCAW, 0.6
for TIG and plasma and 1 for submerged arc.

11.6.5 Polarity (type of current)

Polarity affects the distribution of heat differently in MMA than in MIG or TIG,
presumed to be because of the effects of the compounds in the flux. There is
evidence that DCEN can result in higher melting rates in MMA, completely
different from MIG or TIG. The preferred polarity of the MMA system depends
upon the electrode being used and the desired properties of the weld.
Manufacturers have developed coating systems that stabilise the arc in AC,
DCEP or DCEN. Many electrodes work on more than one polarity and some work
successfully on all three.

11.7 Practical aspects of MMA

These paragraphs are not attempting to give tuition in the practice of MMA
welding but to look at the techniques available and their effect on weld quality.

11.7.1 Stringer or weave

As well as controlling the run-out length by moving his hand faster or slower,
the welder can make a slight lateral, side-to-side motion. This weaving can be
useful as the welder briefly points the electrode tip at the sidewall thus assisting
fusion but it means that the run-out is shorter so heat input is higher.

Heat input dictates the cooling rate of the weld bead and for ferritic steels, the
transformation products. To develop the best toughness requires low heat
input. Weaving slows the cooling rate and tends to lead to larger grained
microstructure with poorer toughness and yield strength.

Running the weld bead in a straight line along the preparation is called stringer
bead technique and can achieve lower heat input per unit length. It is possible
to lay stringer beads at heat input that is too low resulting in the formation of
martensite in ferritic steel with a consequent loss of toughness.

11.7.2 Multi-pass or block welding

In a butt weld in thick material a weld bead laid with typical parameters is not
going to fill the groove. The welder can attempt to move more slowly allowing
the metal to build but in the flat position there is a limit to how much fill can be
achieved in a single pass.

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If the butt weld is in the vertical position the welder can work a triangular
weave into the root along one edge of the preparation, out along the other,
then across the face. In this block welding manner fewer runs are needed to fill
a thicker section joint. As the deposition rate of an electrode is controlled by
welding current (amps) the volume of metal deposited over a given time hence
the joint completion time, will be virtually the same regardless of whether a
weave or stringer technique is used. Some reduction in time may be achieved
by weaving as fewer runs means that less time spent in inter run cleaning.

Block welding creates very high heat input with correspondingly poor
mechanical properties and is not recommended for quality work and is often
banned as a technique. Some specifications place a limit on weave width to
avoid overly thick, near block welding.

The usual technique for filling deep and wide grooves is multiple layers - multi-
pass welding requiring full removal of slag from underlying beads. If the lower
bead has been laid with a convex profile, it is possible for slag to be trapped in
the toes which needs removal by grinding and brushing before another layer is
laid otherwise there is a strong possibility of leaving a string of slag inclusions.

Multi-pass welding can result in excellent mechanical properties as each bead

gives an amount of heat treatment to the one below which can give areas of
very fine-grained recrystallised material with high toughness.

11.7.3 Skip welding or back stepping

A technique used to minimise distortion, particularly when welding thin material
with long lengths to be completed. A very short, 30-50mm weld is made then
the welder moves maybe 150mm along the seam and lays another short run.
This continues until the end of the seam is reached. He then returns to the start
and makes further 30-50mm welds in the gaps and repeats the procedure until
the seam is complete.

The disadvantage is that it requires a large number of starts and stops, the
areas most prone to defect formation like porosity or solidification cracking.

11.7.4 Preheat
When welding ferritic steels you have to guard against hydrogen diffusing
through the weldment and inducing cracking, one method is to apply preheat to
slow the cooling rate of the weld bead, giving the hydrogen time to be released.

11.7.5 Interpass
When multi-pass welding it may be necessary to avoid heat build-up as
excessive heating of the weld metal can lower its strength and reduce
toughness, so a maximum interpass may be specified. If preheat is applicable
to the situation, this still applies in a multi-pass weld, there may be a minimum
interpass temperature (equivalent to the original preheat) and a maximum.

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11.7.6 Operating factor
Because the electrodes are lengths of coated wire the welder cannot keep the
arc burning indefinitely – he needs to change rods, deslag the weld bead, grind
any imperfections, may be required to check and observe interpass
temperatures and/or call an inspector to check his work and on long runs will
need to reposition himself for ease of operating. All of which reduce the amount
of time weld metal is being deposited. The percentage of arc time to total time
is called the operating factor and for MMA this is rarely above 30% and for site
work of heavy fabrications it is often about 15%. MIG/MAG can achieve 60%
and fully automated welding may reach 90% on jigs with simple loading and

Operating factor is sometimes referred to as duty cycle but this is confusing as

that term is used for power source capability as described in the section on
power sources.

11.8 Storage and handling

MMA electrodes are packed in a variety of forms, most common is packaging of
around 5kg of electrodes in thin card packs wrapped in polyethylene film,
adequate protection in storeroom conditions but permeable to moisture so
deterioration can take place in wet environments. Electrodes in packs should
always be stored in warm dry stores and manufacturers give specific
recommendations on their packages and data sheets.

Electrodes that have become damp can be returned to expected performance as

noted in 11.9 Baking electrodes, but if the flux has become discoloured or
pieces have broken away, the rods should be discarded.

For pipeline welding, packaging in tins is a favourite as the hermetic seal gives
long-term protection. Cellulosic electrodes are often packed in up to 25kg
amounts in tins and may be used directly from such packaging and do not need
further drying.

Basic electrodes are available from many manufacturers in vacuum packs,

packed under careful control directly from the baking oven as they are
manufactured and hermetically sealed under vacuum so there is no possibility
of moisture pick-up. Manufacturers offer a guarantee of low hydrogen
performance straight from the package and may give an exposure that is
permissible after opening the package whilst still maintaining adequate
hydrogen control but once this exposure is exceeded, the rods should be

11.9 Baking electrodes

The oven and quiver shown in the photograph of welding equipment are
required for electrodes where moisture is a problem, usually basic electrodes for
use on ferritic steels liable to hydrogen cracking. When aluminium was welded
with MMA, it was necessary to dry such rods but Al alloys are now exclusively
welded by MIG or TIG. Copper alloys are usually no problem but stainless steel
and nickel alloys need dry electrodes to avoid porosity formation.

Should not be dried as they rely on a hydrogen atmosphere to create the
shielding and should be used directly from the manufacturer’s packaging. If
electrodes have been left exposed and become soaked they should be

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Also require an amount of moisture in them to run correctly as dried rutile rods
have a very poor arc action and shielding. If rutile rods become inadvertently
wet they can be returned to condition by holding for an hour at around 80°C.
Some texts have suggested 120°C but excessive time at such a temperature
can easily over-dry the flux.

These coatings produce CO and CO2 as the limestone in their formulation
breaks down under heating. These gases generate good shielding and arc force
and do not require hydrogen or moisture. These can be baked totally dry and in
manufacture they may be produced at 450°C, so temperatures up to this may
be used to restore them. To keep them in good condition after baking in an
oven, they may be held in a heated quiver beside the welder and used directly
from this.

Vacuum-packed basic
Basic electrodes can now be put into hermetically sealed vacuum packs by
directly after baking by the manufacturer. With help from the formulation, using
silicates with a low tendency to absorb moisture, these electrodes do not need
baking to achieve low hydrogen levels. Manufacturers now offer guarantees
that, at known humidity and temperature, vacuum-packs may be opened at the
start of a shift and the electrodes used throughout that shift without the need
to bake.

11.10 Electrode classification

Many national and international specifications cover MMA electrodes and the
detail in them is too much to be covered here so the student is advised to seek
the relevant specifications directly from the national standards office. TWI
published a series of Job Knowledge articles that make excellent additional
reading to these notes and the article on BS EN and AWS systems
(www.twi.co.uk/content/jk84.html ) is well worth studying.

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IWS Revision questions

1 Describe the basics of the MMA process.

2 Why are inverter power source finding increasing favour for MMA?

3 What types of MMA consumable are available for all-positional welding and which
gives the lowest weld metal hydrogen level?

4 What is arc blow and how do you deal with it?

5 How should you control multi-pass weave welding?

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Section 12

Welding Consumables
12 Welding Consumables
Welding consumables are defined as all that is used up during the production of
a weld.

This list could include all things used up in the production of a weld, however,
we normally refer to welding consumables as those items used up by a
particular welding process.

These are:

Electrodes Wires Fluxes Gases

E 8018


When inspecting welding consumables arriving at site it is important that they

are inspected for the following:

 Size.
 Type or specification.
 Condition.
 Storage.

The checking of suitable storage conditions for all consumables is a critical

part of the welding inspector’s duties.

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12.1 Consumables for MMA welding
Welding consumables for MMA consist of a core wire typically between 350 and
450mm length and 2.5-6mm diameter. Other lengths and diameters are
available. The wire is covered with an extruded flux coating. The core wire is
generally of low quality rimming steel as the weld can be considered as a
casting and therefore the weld can be refined by the addition of cleaning or
refining agents in the flux coating. The flux coating contains many elements and
compounds that all have a variety of jobs during welding. Silicon is mainly
added as a de-oxidising agent (in the form of ferro-silicate), which removes
oxygen from the weld metal by forming the oxide silica. Manganese additions of
up to 1.6% will improve the strength and toughness of steel. Other metallic and
non-metallic compounds are added that have many functions, some of which

 Aid arc ignition.

 Improve arc stabilisation.
 Produce a shielding gas to protect the arc column.
 Refine and clean the solidifying weld metal.
 Form a slag which protects the solidifying weld metal.
 Add alloying elements.
 Control hydrogen content of the weld metal.
 Form a cone at the end of the electrode, which directs the arc.

Electrodes for MMA/SMAW are grouped depending on the main constituent in

their flux coating, which in turn has a major effect on the weld properties and
ease of use. The common groups are:

Group Constituent Shield gas Uses AWS A 5.1

Rutile Titania Mainly CO2 General E 6013
Basic Calcium Mainly CO2 High quality E 7018
Cellulosic Cellulose Hydrogen + CO2 Pipe root runs E 6010

Some basic electrodes may be tipped with a carbon compound, which eases arc

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The electrode classification system of EN 499.

EN ISO 2560 2005 (supersedes BS EN 499 1994)

Classification of Welding Consumables for Covered Electrodes for

Manual Metal Arc (111) Welding of Non-alloy and Fine Grain Steels.

This standard applies a dual approach to classification of electrodes using

methods A and B as is indicated below:

Classification of electrode mechanical properties of an all weld metal specimen:

Method A: Yield strength and average impact energy at 47J

Example ISO 2560 – A – E XX X XXX X X X


Classified for impacts

at 47J + yield strength

Covered electrode

yield strength

Charpy V notch
minimum test
temperature °C

Chemical composition

Electrode covering

Optional designation:

Weld metal recovery

and current type

Positional designation

Diffusible hydrogen
ml/100g weld metal

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Typical example: ISO 2560 – A – E 43 2 1Ni RR 6 3 H15

Method B: Tensile strength and average impact energy at 27J

Example 560 – B –E XX XX XXX X X HX


Classified for impacts

at 27J + tensile strength

Covered electrode

tensile strength

Electrode covering

Chemical composition

Heat treatment

Optional designation:

Optional supplemental
impact test at 47J
at same test
temperature given
for 27J test

Diffusible hydrogen
ml/100g weld metal

Typical example: ISO 2560 – B – E 55 16 –N7 A U H5

Classification of tensile characteristics

Method A

Symbol Minimum yield a, Tensile strength, Minimum E% b,

N/mm2 N/mm2 N/mm2
35 355 440-570 22
38 380 470-600 20
42 420 500-640 20
46 460 530-680 20
50 500 560-720 18
a Lower yield Rel shall be used. b Gauge length = 5 x 

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Method B
Symbol Minimum tensile strength,
43 430
49 490
55 550
57 570

Other tensile characteristics ie yield strength and elongation % are

contained within a tabular form in this standard (Table 8B) and are determined
by classification of tensile strength, electrode covering and alloying elements, ie
E 55 16-N7.

Classification of impact properties

Method A
Symbol Temperature for the minimum average
impact energy of 47J
Z No requirement
A +20
0 0
2 -20
3 -30
4 -40
5 -50
6 -60

Method B
Impact or Charpy V notch testing temperature at 27J temperature in method
B is again determined through the classification of tensile strength, electrode
covering and alloying elements (Table 8B) ie a E 55 16-N7 which must reach
27J at -75°C.
Classification of electrode characteristics and electrical requirements varies
between classification methods A and B as follows:

Method A
This method uses an alpha/numerical designation from the tables as
listed below:
Symbol Electrode covering type Symbol Efficiency, % Type of current
A Acid 1 < 105 AC or DC
C Cellulosic 2 <105 DC
R Rutile 3 >105-<125 AC or DC
RR Rutile thick covering 4 >105-<125 DC
RC Rutile/cellulosic 5 >125-<160 AC or DC
RA Rutile/acid 6 >125-<160 DC
RB Rutile/basic 7 >160 AC or DC
B Basic 8 >160 DC

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Method B
This method uses a numerical designation from the table as listed
Symbol Covering type Positions Type of current
03 Rutile/basic Allb AC and DC +/-
10 Cellulosic All DC +
11 Cellulosic All AC and DC +
12 Rutile Allb AC and DC -
13 Rutile Allb AC and DC +/-
14 Rutile + Fe powder Allb AC and DC +/-
15 Basic Allb DC +
16 Basic Allb AC and DC +
18 Basic + Fe powder Allb AC and DC +
19 Rutile + Fe oxide Allb AC and DC +/-
20 Fe oxide PA/PB AC and DC -
24 Rutile + Fe powder PA/PB AC and DC +/-
27 Fe oxide + Fe powder PA/PB only AC and DC -
28 Basic + Fe powder PA/PB/PC AC and DC +
40 Not specified As per manufacturer’s
48 Basic All AC and DC +
bAll positions may or may not include vertical-down welding

Further guidance on flux type and applications is given in the standard in Annex
B and C.

Hydrogen scales
Diffusible hydrogen is indicated in the same way in both methods, where after
baking the amount of hydrogen is given as ml/100g weld metal ie H 5 =
5ml/100g weld metal.

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12.2 AWS A 5.1- and AWS 5.5-
A typical AWS A5.1 and A5.5 Specification E 80 1 8 G
Reference given in box letter: A) B) C) (D For A5.5 only)

A) Tensile + yield strength and E% B) Welding position

Code Min yield Min tensile Min E % 1 All positional
PSI x 1000 PSI x 1000 In 2” min 2 Flat butt & H/V fillet welds
General 3 Flat only
E60xx 48,000 60,000 17-22
E 70xx 57,000 70,000 17-22 Note: Not all Category 1 electrodes
E 80xx 68-80,000 80,000 19-22 can weld in the vertical down
E 100xx 87,000 100,000 13-16 position.
V notch impact Radiographic
Specific electrode information for E 60xx and 70xx Izod test (ft.lbs) standard
E 6010 48,000 60,000 22 20 ft.lbs at –20F Grade 2
E 6011 48,000 60,000 22 20 ft.lbs at –20F Grade 2
E 6012 48,000 60,000 17 Not required Not required
E 6013 48,000 60,000 17 Not required Grade 2
E 6020 48,000 60,000 22 Not required Grade 1
E 6022 Not required 60,000 Not required Not required Not required
E 6027 48,000 60,000 22 20 ft.lbs at –20F Grade 2
E 7014 58,000 70,000 17 Not required Grade 2
E 7015 58,000 70,000 22 20 ft.lbs at –20F Grade 1
E 7016 58,000 70,000 22 20 ft.lbs at –20F Grade 1
E 7018 58,000 70,000 22 20 ft.lbs at –20F Grade 1
E 7024 58,000 70,000 17 Not required Grade 2
E 7028 58,000 70,000 20 20 ft.lbs at 0F Grade 2

D) AWS A5.5 low alloy steels

Code Coating Current type Symbol Approximate alloy deposit
A1 0.5%Mo
Exx10 Cellulosic/organic DC + only
B1 0.5%Cr + 0.5%Mo
Exx11 Cellulosic/organic AC or DC+ B2 1.25%Cr + 0.5%Mo
Exx12 Rutile AC or DC- B3 2.25%Cr + 1.0%Mo
Exx13 Rutile + 30% Fe powder AC or DC+/- B4 2.0%Cr+ 0.5%Mo
E xx14 Rutile AC or DC+/- B5 0.5%Cr + 1.0%Mo
E xx15 Basic DC + only C1 2.5%Ni
E xx16 Basic AC or DC+ C2 3.25%Ni
E xx18 Basic + 25% Fe powder AC or DC+ C3 1%Ni + 0.35%Mo +
E xx20 High Fe oxide content AC or DC+/- 0.15%Cr
E xx24 Rutile + 50% Fe powder AC or DC+/- D1/2 0.25-0.45%Mo + 0.15%Cr
E xx27 Mineral + 50% Fe powder AC or DC+/- G 0.5%Ni or/and 0.3%Cr
E xx28 Basic + 50% Fe powder AC or DC+ or/and 0.2%Mo or/and
For G only 1 element is required

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12.3 Inspection points for MMA consumables
Size Wire diameter and length


Cracks, chips and concentricity

All electrodes showing signs of the effects of corrosion should be discarded.

Type (specification)

Correct specification/code

1.1.1 E 46

Storage Suitably dry and warm

(Preferably 0% humidity)

Checks should also be made to ensure that basic electrodes have been
through the correct pre-use procedure. Having been baked to the correct
temperature (typically 300-350C) for 1 hour and then held in a holding oven
(150C max) basic electrodes are issued to the welders in heated quivers.
Most electrode flux coatings will deteriorate rapidly when damp and care should
be taken to inspect storage facilities to ensure that they are adequately dry and
that all electrodes are stored in conditions of controlled humidity.

Vacuum packed electrodes may be used directly from the carton only if the
vacuum has been maintained. Directions for hydrogen control are always given
on the carton and should be strictly adhered to. The cost of each electrode is
insignificant compared with the cost of any repair, thus basic electrodes that
are left in the heated quiver after the day’s shift may potentially be re-baked
but would normally be discarded to avoid the risk of H2 induced problems.

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Section 13

Submerged Arc Welding

13 Submerged Arc Welding
13.1 History
Union Carbide (Linde Division) described a fully submerged (invisible) arc
process in 1935 patents and the process was licensed to users as the Union
melt process.

The original Union melt process used a pre-fused flux, based on manganese
oxide and silicon dioxide which gave a manganese silicate glass that could be
crushed and ground to a coarse powder. The flux was sieved to give different
particle size distribution as operators found that different current ranges
favoured selection of different density flux. Union melt 20, the original formula,
was designed to operate at up to 2000A. It continues to be sold as OK Flux 20
in US by ESAB.

Lincoln Electric tried to introduce their version but were sued by Union Carbide.
Several of their offerings were found to infringe the patents but they were able
to replace the flux with two new formulae, Lincoln 770 and 780, which were
novel. Lincoln 780, still sold today, is a bonded or agglomerated, flux. The
ingredients are not fused together but mixed as dry powders then bonded
together with small amounts of silicate, similar in principle to an electrode
coating. Thus they were able to incorporate deoxidants and alloying; something
impossible with fused fluxes. Lincoln became the best known manufacturer of
high quality fluxes from the 1950s onward and popularised the process name as
submerged arc welding (SAW).

Many other manufacturers then became consumable suppliers. Consumables

were developed for hardfacing applications and SAW of stainless steel and
nickel alloys became possible. Developers devised ways of using multiple wires
and iron powder addition for high productivity welding and SAW quickly became
the process with more variants than any other.

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13.2 Process characteristics
Submerged arc welding is where an arc is struck between a continuous bare
wire and the parent plate. The arc, electrode end and molten pool are
submerged in an agglomerated or fused powdered flux which turns into a gas
and slag in its lower layers when subjected to the heat of the arc, protecting the
weld from contamination. The wire electrode is continuously fed by a feed unit
of motor driven rollers, usually voltage-controlled to ensure an arc of constant
length. The flux is fed from a hopper fixed to the welding head and a tube from
the hopper spreads the flux in a continuous elongated mound in front of the arc
along the line of the intended weld and of sufficient depth to submerge the arc
completely so there is no spatter, the weld is shielded from the atmosphere and
there are no UV or infra-red radiation effects. Unmelted flux is reclaimed for
use. The use of powdered flux restricts the process to the flat and horizontal-
vertical welding positions.

Submerged arc welding is noted for its ability to use high weld currents giving
deep penetration and high deposition rates. Generally DCEP is used up to about
1000A because it produces a deep penetration. On some applications (eg
cladding operations) DCEN is chosen to reduce penetration and dilution. At
higher currents or in case of multiple electrode systems, AC is often preferred
to avoid the problem of arc blow. On multiple electrode systems, DCEP is
generally used for the lead arc and AC for any trailing arcs.

Difficulties sometimes arise in ensuring conformity of the weld with a

predetermined line owing to the obscuring effect of the flux. Where possible, a
guide wheel to run in the joint preparation is positioned in front of the welding
head and flux hoppers.

Submerged arc welding is widely used in the fabrication of ships, pressure

vessels, line pipe and railway carriages - anywhere that long welds are
required. It can be used to weld thicknesses from 3mm upwards, although its
main use is for section thicknesses greater than this.

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13.3 Power source
DC SAW can be carried out with either constant potential/voltage (CP) or
constant current (CC) power sources. CP power sources are the accepted norm
as the control to maintain arc length on a CV set traditionally required rapidly
acting, low speed, low inertia motors that were expensive and difficult to build
with sufficient accuracy. With microprocessor control, fine adjustment is easy
and cost-effective so there is less reason to specify CP.

AC power is also usable for SAW. As noted above it is necessary to use AC when
there is more than one wire being used. Wires carrying several hundred amps
DC produce substantial magnetic fields that will deflect any subsidiary arc in the
vicinity. The normal method is to run the first wire on DCEP to give deep
penetration, followed by up to four AC wires to give extra weld metal into a
single elongated weld pool. Each wire has its own power source and control,
making set-up of optimum conditions particularly difficult. For repetitive
production where high speed is crucial, such multi-wire arrays are common. The
production of welded pipe, either spirally welded or longitudinal seamed, is a
typical application.

13.4 Equipment
The size and layout of a submerged arc installation can vary, but Lincoln
Electric has for many years marketed a hand held gun for SAW.

It is more usual to see a mechanised or automated machine. Small, mobile

tractor units are available and particularly useful for working inside pipes. Column
and boom system are also popular alternatives allowing the positioning of the
welding head above or within the component to be welded, the component is then
manipulated beneath the head as welding progresses. Large-scale production of
repetitive shapes, eg ships plate or longitudinally welded pipe, can justify the
installation of major gantry systems with several welding heads held on a cross
beam that travels over the workpiece.

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13.5 Consumables
13.5.1 Wires
Wires are usually available in 2-5mm diameter, though for special applications
diameters both below and above this range have been used. Traditionally they
are solid wires cold-drawn to size, cleaned and copper plated prior to spooling.
Spooling is most frequently as 25-30kg coils.

The wire is relatively stiff and requires a substantial feed motor and set of rolls
to give smooth delivery to the contact tip at the welding head so is wound on a
larger diameter reel than for MIG.

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Tubular, mainly flux cored, wires are also produced for the SAW process and
can result in an increase in deposition rate and can be used to produce small
quantities of low alloy compositions using a carbon steel sheath and are often
used for surfacing and hardfacing applications, as well as welding of high
strength low alloy (HSLA) steels.

13.5.2 Fluxes
Flux may be categorised in two ways: by method of manufacture (fused or
agglomerated) or by its activity (neutral, active or alloying). Within these broad
groupings fluxes may be classified further by constituents, silica, manganese
oxide, calcium fluoride, etc.

Fused fluxes are produced by mixing the ingredients then melting them in an
electric furnace to form a chemically homogeneous product, cooled and ground
to the required particle size. Fused fluxes are limited in composition, primarily
manganese silicates so are relatively neutral in their reaction with weld metal
although pick-up of Mn and Si may be detected. The main benefits are that they
are entirely homogeneous so recycled flux is of the same composition as the
original. They also are non-hygroscopic so do not pick up moisture in storage
and need baking before use. Because of the temperature of their manufacture
they have compositional stability up to melting and can accept very high
current arcs. Smooth stable arcs, with welding currents up to 2000A and
consistent weld metal properties, are the main attraction of these fluxes.

Agglomerated fluxes have more flexibility of composition, may be classified as

acidic, neutral, basic and alloyed and can be formulated to give deliberate
addition to the weld metal composition or to deoxidise and nucleate fine grained
structures for high toughness.

Acidic or active fluxes (though in truth all fluxes are active), transfer Mn and Si
to the weld composition which helps with weld metal strength but must be kept
within limits to avoid cracking. Some of these fluxes are recommended for
single pass, or maximum two-layer, work.

Neutral fluxes have been balanced to minimise the Mn and Si pick-up and is
required. They will achieve reasonable toughness weld metal but for maximum
properties basic fluxes should be used.

Basic fluxes, like MMA electrode flux compositions, use fluorspar, to create the
molten slag and may also contain limestone, alumina and manganese oxide.
During manufacture, they are baked at maybe 500°C but it is still possible to
add and retain deoxidants such as titanium, aluminium or magnesium powder.

The principle of adding metals and alloying through the flux is used to great
advantage for welding stainless steel and hardfacing. When welding stainless
steel, the high reactivity of chromium results in it oxidising and being absorbed
into the flux, quite significant reductions in Cr content may ensue, but this is
compensated for by adding Cr, usually as ferro-chrome, to the flux. Welding
engineers should be aware of this deliberate addition and not attempt to use
flux formulated for welding stainless steel on C-Mn steel.

A disadvantage of agglomerated fluxes is they are prone to picking up moisture

so should therefore not be left in the dispensing hopper overnight and storage
should be in a dry, warm store room. The flux can be baked prior to use but it
needs to be spread thinly on trays in the baking oven or agitated repeatedly in
order for moisture to be released from within its bulk.

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The individual particles of an agglomerated flux, particularly one with loading of
ferro-alloys, do not break down to consistent composition fines so recycling
agglomerated fluxes needs more care than for fused fluxes. The most practical
arrangement is to sieve all reclaimed flux, ie the material sucked from the bead
surface after the passing of the weld pool and to reject the fines before
returning the undamaged flux to the hopper for re-use.

13.6 Welding parameters

13.6.1 Flux depth

The flux depth is often poorly controlled in practice and the powder simply
heaped around the wire until the arc is completely covered. For optimum
results, the flux depth should be just sufficient to cover the arc although, at the
point where the electrode enters the flux cover, light reflected from the arc
should be just visible. Too shallow and the arc may flash through and can cause
porosity and a rough surface because of inadequate protection of the molten
metal. Too deep can give poor bead appearance and lead to spillage on
circumferential welds. On deep preparations in thick plate it is particularly
important to avoid excessive flux cover as weld bead shape and slag removal
can be unsatisfactory.

13.6.2 Arc voltage

Arc voltage has an important effect on the weld bead shape and penetration
depth; the precise effect being dependent on the joint preparation. Bead-on-
plate and square edge close butt welds have increased bead width and dilution
as the arc voltage increases, although the depth of penetration is relatively

13.6.3 Wire diameter and welding current

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The preferred wire diameter is governed by the welding current required for a
particular application. Commonly used SA wire diameters are 2-6mm. For a
given wire diameter, the deposition rate and depth of penetration increase with
increasing welding current. Excessive current causes the electrode wire to
overheat causing arc instability, a deterioration in weld profile and, sometimes,
undercutting. Below a minimum current level, arc instability will also occur,
giving arc wander and poor penetration.

For single pass (and one pass either side) procedures the current should be
sufficient to achieve the required depth of penetration without burn-through.
For multi-pass welding, the current should be selected to give the required weld
bead size whilst ensuring adequate fusion to the underlying material. In the
case of circumferential joints, the selection of welding current will also be
affected by the diameter of the workpiece.

13.6.4 Travel speed

Bead size is inversely proportional to welding speed at the same current. Higher
speeds reduce bead width, increase the likelihood of porosity and if taken to the
extreme, produce undercutting and irregular beads. At high welding speeds the
arc voltage should be kept low to minimise the risk of arc blow. If the welding
speed is too low, burn-through can occur. A combination of high arc voltage and
low welding speed can produce a mushroom-shaped weld bead with
solidification cracks at the bead sides. Excessive travel speed can also produce
centreline solidification cracking.

For a given arrangement of wires and wire diameters, welding speed is limited
by the welding current tolerated by the flux: Some fluxes are specially
formulated to allow high speed operation and higher speeds are possible with
multiple wire operation or by holding a more acute electrode angle.

13.6.5 Electrode positioning

As the angle between the electrode and the plate determines the point of
impingement and direction of the arc force, it has a critical effect on the weld
bead profile and depth of penetration. Welding can be carried out with the
electrode wire leading, trailing or normal to the plate surface and the effects on
weld shape, penetration and undercut are shown below:

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Submerged Arc Welding 13-7 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
For most applications weld with the electrode wire pointing forwards, ie leading
by 10° to obtain the best combination of bead shape, penetration and
resistance to undercut.

13.7 Potential defects

13.7.1 Porosity
Porosity is a fairly common defect which can be influenced by many factors.
Sometimes clearly visible as pinholes or larger voids at the weld surface, other
times it is below the surface and revealed only by X-ray examination or
ultrasonic testing. Unless it is gross or preferentially aligned, porosity is unlikely
to be harmful.

Common causes of porosity are:

 Contamination of joint surfaces with oil, paint, grease, hydrated oxides, etc
which decompose in the arc giving gaseous products which can cause
elongated wormhole porosity often located along the centreline of the weld.

 Damp flux: flux should be kept dry. It is good practice to dry all fluxes
before use and store them in a heated hopper. The manufacturer's
recommendations regarding drying temperatures should be observed. If a
flux recovery unit driven by compressed air is used the compressed air
should be dried thoroughly.

 Insufficient flux burden can expose the arc and molten weld pool to
atmospheric contamination.

 When welding stainless or duplex steels by SAW, the voltage needs very
careful setting up, as incorrect voltage can cause porosity in these

 The surface of a weld may sometimes contain small depressions known as

surface pocking or gas flats. These are harmless and while the exact cause
is not fully understood it is linked to conditions which cause generation of
gas or make it difficult for gas to escape; for example, moisture or lack of
deoxidants and too many fines in the flux to allow gas to pass readily.

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13.7.2 Solidification cracking
Because of the large weld pools and high welding speeds often associated with
submerged arc welds, solidification or hot cracking may be encountered and is
usually found along the centreline of the weld.

Solidification cracking is controlled by the composition of the weld, its

solidification pattern and the strain on the solidifying weld metal. The problem
is aggravated by the presence of phosphorus, sulphur and carbon and if these
elements are known to be in the parent material in higher amounts than usual,
a change should be made to a wire with higher manganese content and steps
taken to minimise dilution and ensure good weld bead profiles. The most
dangerous element is carbon which, if other considerations allow, can be kept
low in the weld by use of high silica fluxes, ie manganese and calcium silicate
types. If the carbon level is not too high, a basic flux would be more preferable
as this can help to reduce weld metal sulphur levels. Sometimes improvement
to the weld metal composition can be obtained by selecting a wire particularly
low in carbon, sulphur and phosphorus, so as to reduce the risk of cracking.

The weld bead shape also has a critical effect. Deep narrow welds, with high
depth to width ratios, are prone to centreline cracking,

W > d tendency for surface cracks

W < d tendency for centreline cracking

W/d 3/2 giving sound welds

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Submerged Arc Welding 13-9 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Cracking can be a problem in root runs where dilution of parent plate into the
weld is high giving excessive carbon content. Long and deep weld pools, welds
made at high welding speeds or with high restraint and large gaps, accentuate
the problem. Conversely, a combination of high arc voltage and slow welding
speed can produce a mushroom-shaped weld bead with solidification cracks at
the weld bead sides.

In the root beads of a multi-run weld

Caused by high speed giving a long deep weld pool in first pass.

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Submerged Arc Welding 13-10 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Mushroom shaped weld penetration resulting from high voltage combined with
low speed

Occasionally a groove may be found on the surface running along the centre of
the weld. This may be caused by shrinkage and although it is sometimes
mistaken for incipient solidification cracking it is actually only superficial.

13.8 Classification of consumables

As with MMA welding, Gene Mathers has written a series of articles on
submerged arc welding (www.twi.co.uk/content/jk87.html;
www.twi.co.uk/content/jk89.html). We recommend these articles for those
wishing to understand the classification schemes without the need for detailed
study of the specifications themselves.

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Submerged Arc Welding 13-11 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
IWS Revision Questions

1 Describe the basics of the SAW process, including the use of different polarity power.

2 Describe the various types of flux and the typical use.

3 Why is travel speed an important variable? What problems may occur if it is not

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Submerged Arc Welding 13-12 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Section 14

Electroslag Welding
14 Electroslag Welding
14.1 History
Electroslag welding (ESW) is a very efficient, single pass process carried out in
the vertical or near vertical position for joining steel plates/sections of 25mm
and above and was developed into a viable welding process by the Paton
Institute in the Ukraine in the early 1950s.

The process was used extensively in the US for welding thick structural steel
members in the 1960s and 70s but the Federal Highways Agency decided on
the basis of laboratory tests that the very high heat input of ESW gave
dangerously low toughness which led to a ban in US of the use of ESW for many

The Northridge earthquake in 1994 tested the welds in highway bridges and
structural steel work and revealed that repairs to self-shielded welds in
structural steel cost over £1bn, but that not one ESW weld had required a
repair so the FHA ban was rescinded in 2000.

14.2 Process characteristics

Unlike other high current fusion processes, ESW is not an arc process. Heat
required for melting both the welding wire and plate edges is generated through
the molten slag's resistance to the passage of an electric current.

In its original form plates are held vertically, approximately 30mm apart, with
the edges of the plate cut normal to the surface and a bridging run-on piece of
the same thickness is attached to the bottom of the plates. Water cooled copper
shoes are placed each side of the joint, forming a rectangular cavity open at the
top. Filler wire, which is also the current carrier, is fed into this cavity, initially
striking an arc through a small amount of flux. Additional flux is added which
melts forming a flux bath which rises and extinguishes the arc. The added wire
melts into this bath sinking to the bottom before solidifying to form the weld.
For thick sections, additional wires may be added and an even distribution of
weld metal is achieved by slowly oscillating the wires across the joint. As
welding progresses, both the wire feed mechanism and the copper shoes are
moved progressively upwards until the top of the weld is reached.

Figure 14.1 Electroslag welding.

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Electroslag Welding 14-1 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
The consumable guide variant uses a simpler set-up and equipment
arrangement which does not require the wire feed mechanism to climb. The
wire is delivered to the weld pool down a consumable, thick walled tube which
extends from the top of the joint to the weld pool. The original consumable
guides were flux-covered which helped avoid any shorting on to the preparation
sides and topped up the flux bath as material was lost by sticking to the copper
shoes. This process was patented by the Linde Division of Union Carbide so is
subject to royalty payment so alternatives were tried.

At TWI in the mid 1960s experiments with bare guide tubes were successful
provided the guide did not touch the wall during any part of its oscillation. One
simple and cheap guide tested consisted of four straight lengths of rod tacked
together in a square format with sufficient space in the centre for the wire to be
pass down it which worked well if the gap was sufficiently wide but was prone
to arcing on to the side. Consumable guide ESW is often carried out without
oscillation. The tubular guides can be further supplemented by additional
consumable plates attached to the tube. Generally, as the thickness of plate
increases, the number of wires/guides increases, approximately in the ratio of
one wire per 50-75mm of thickness.

Support for the molten bath is provided by two pairs of copper shoes which are
moved upwards, leapfrogging as welding progresses. An operator is required to
observe the flux bath and add more flux as the bath thins. The flux is very
similar to submerged arc flux and is usually agglomerated. Slight changes in
composition give the flux more fluidity so that it floods the initial start-up arc
and extinguishes it. After that heating and melting continue due to the resistive
heating of the current flow through the molten flux bath.

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14.3 ESW materials other than steel
14.3.1 Aluminium
Uttrachi (www.netwelding.com/serv04.htm#Aluminum Electroslag) describes
work at Union Carbide, Linde Division and latterly at WA Technology that
demonstrated the possibility of ESW being used on aluminium alloys. His
narrative from the website is reproduced below.

The Consumable Guide Aluminum Electroslag Welding process was developed in

the Laboratory and produced welds in 2 inch thick (50mm) and 4 inch thick
(100mm) busbar material. Welds were made at a very rapid rate of vertical
travel speed not possible with steel welding. A sample of a weld made with the
process is shown on the left. Unfortunately the main application for the process
was for joining heavy aluminum busbars. These are mostly employed in
aluminum production facilities and the market for aluminum had significantly
deteriorated. The development work was therefore terminated and the process
was not commercialized.

The demand for aluminum is now high and new plants are under construction. A
company who works in the area asked if it were possible to weld over 10 inch
thick by 4 foot high busbars by completing the early development work and
extending it to these much thicker sections. After considerable additional
development work and cost, refining the flux, welding parameters and
equipment; the objective was achieved. The process was used on a production
application over 10 inches thick with welds made at very high vertical travel

The photo left shows the equipment system welding a >10 inch thick section.
The centre photo is the finished weld. Welding speeds were very high, much
higher than in steel welding. Weld surface is excellent. The photo right is a
cross section showing good fusion and defect free weld.’

14.3.2 Titanium
A team working with Prof Eager of MIT demonstrated ESW thick Ti -6Al -4V
alloy using a consumable guide technique described in a research paper
published online at http://eagar.mit.edu/EagarPapers/Eagar089.pdf. In
this paper they refer to early work in USSR that developed the principle. Eager’s
team showed that pure calcium fluoride was needed as flux and must be kept
free from moisture. They found AC power was necessary but reported the
successful completion of welds in both 25 and 50mm plate.

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14.4 Stainless steel and nickel alloys
The Paton Institute in Kiev welded many materials by ESW during the early
development of the process. Reference can be found to the possibility of
welding both austenitic stainless steel and nickel alloys but there are no
examples of its commercial use to cite other than as a surfacing technique.

14.5 Current status

Electroslag welding is not one of the major welding processes because the high
heat input generates large, coarse grains in the weld metal and HAZ that lead
to poor fracture toughness properties in these areas. Toughness improvements
can only be achieved by post-weld normalising treatment. Additionally, the near
parallel-sided geometry of the weld, combined with the coarse grains, can make
it difficult to identify defects at the fusion boundary by standard ultrasonic NDT
Considerable interest was shown in ESW during the 1970s when ideas for
increasing welding speed, such as narrow gap welding, were investigated. This
was seen as an important parameter for increasing productivity and to reducing
heat input to improve HAZ and weld metal impact properties.

However since then little development has taken place, limited to the tuning of
parameters and tailoring techniques for specific applications.
ESW has considerable potential for increasing productivity but its use has been
limited because of relatively poor understanding of the process and, for specific
applications, the significance of the fracture toughness values. As a result, use
has been restricted to a few niche applications.

In the fabrication industry, the process continues to be used for thick walled
pressure vessels which are post-weld normalised and for structures such as
blast furnace shells and steel ladles used at above ambient temperatures. The
process is also extensively used for the welding railway points.

It is most commonly used now with strip electrode as a surfacing technique and
is described in more detail in the section on surfacing.

14.6 Benefits and disadvantages

The principal benefits are:

 Speed of joint completion; typically 1hr/m of seam irrespective of thickness.

 Lack of angular distortion.
 Lateral angular distortion limited to 3mm/m of weld.
 High quality welds produced.
 Simple joint preparation, ie flame-cut square edge.
 Major repairs can be made by cutting out total weld and re-welding.
 Can be modified for use as a cladding technique.

The main disadvantages are:

 Grain growth giving very large grains due to very high heat input and slow
cooling - poor toughness.
 Limited to vertical or near vertical position.
 Difficult to examine with NDT.

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Section 15

Thermal Cutting IWS

15 Thermal Cutting and Gouging
15.1 Introduction
Thermal cutting normally refers to the severing of metal, creating two pieces or
a specific shaped single piece. Gouging is a particular form of cutting where the
aim is to remove metal in a controlled manner to leave a groove that will act as
the basis of weld preparation. In terms of the process and fundamental
principles, they are the same; only the details of the torch and the parameters

Thermal cutting and gouging are essential parts of welding fabrication. Used for
rapid removal of unwanted metal, the material is locally heated and molten
metal ejected, usually by blowing it away. Flame, laser or arc processes can be
used to produce rapid melting and metal removal.

Thermal processes, operations and metals which may be gouged or otherwise


Thermal Process operations Metals

Primary Secondary

Oxyfuel Cutting Grooving Ferritic steels, cast iron

gas Gouging washing
flame chamfering
Manual Gouging Grooving Ferritic steels, stainless steels, cast iron,
metal chamfering nickel-based alloys
Air Gouging Grooving Ferritic steels, cast iron, nickel-based
carbon Chamfering alloys, copper and copper alloys,
arc copper/nickel alloys, aluminium
Plasma Cutting Chamfering Aluminium, stainless steels
arc Gouging grooving
Laser Cutting Chamfering Ferritic steels, stainless steels, C-Mn
drilling steels, aluminium, other non-ferrous
metals, thermoplastic materials
Note: All processes capable of cutting/severing operations. Preheat may be
required on some metals prior to gouging.

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15.2 General safety

Because cutting and gouging rely on molten metal being forcibly ejected, often
over large distances, the operator must take appropriate precautions to protect
himself, other workers and his equipment. Sensible precautions include
protective clothing for the operator, shielding inside a special enclosed booth or
screens, adequate fume extraction and removal of all combustible material from
the immediate area.

15.2.1 Gouging applications

Thermal gouging was developed primarily for removal of metal from the reverse
side of welded joints, tack and temporary welds and weld imperfections.

Typical back-gouging applications carried

out on arc welded joints.

Imperfection removal in preparation for weld


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Thermal Cutting IWS 15-2 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Applications include:
 Repair and maintenance of structures (bridges, earthmoving equipment,
mining machinery, railway rolling stock, ships, offshore rigs, piping and
storage tanks).
 Removal of cracks and imperfections (blow holes and sand traps in ferrous
and non-ferrous forgings and castings).
 Preparation of plate edges for welding.
 Removal of surplus metal (riser pads and fins on castings, excess weld bead
profiles, temporary backing strips, rivet washing and shaping operations,
demolition of welded and unwelded structures) site work.
 Removal of temporary welded attachments (brackets, strongbacks, lifting
lugs and redundant tack welds) during various stages of fabrication and
construction work.

15.3 Oxy-fuel cutting

The oxyfuel process is the most widely applied industrial thermal cutting
process because it can cut 0.5-250mm thicknesses, the equipment is low cost
and can be used manually or mechanised. There are several fuel gas and nozzle
design options that can significantly enhance performance in terms of cut
quality and cutting speed.

15.3.1 Process fundamentals

Basically, a mixture of oxygen and the fuel gas preheats the metal to its ignition
temperature which, for steel, is 700-900°C (bright red heat) but well below its
melting point. A jet of pure oxygen is directed into the preheated area
instigating a vigorous exothermic chemical reaction between the oxygen and
the metal to form iron oxide or slag. The oxygen jet blows the slag away
enabling the jet to pierce through the material and continue to cut through the

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Thermal Cutting IWS 15-3 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
There are four basic requirements for oxy-fuel cutting:

 Ignition temperature of the material must be lower than its melting point
otherwise the material will melt and flow away before cutting could happen.
 Oxide melting point must be lower than of the surrounding material so it can
be mechanically blown away by the oxygen jet.
 Oxidation reaction between the oxygen jet and metal must be sufficient to
maintain the ignition temperature.
 Minimal gaseous reaction products should be produced to avoid diluting the
cutting oxygen.

As stainless steel, cast iron and non-ferrous metals form refractory oxides, ie
the oxide melting point is higher than the material and powder must be injected
into the flame to form a low melting point, fluid slag.

15.3.2 Preheating
The preheating flame has the following functions in the cutting operation:

 Raises the temperature of the steel to the ignition point.

 Adds heat energy to the work to maintain the cutting reaction.
 Provides a protective shield between the cutting oxygen stream and the
 Dislodges from the upper surface of the steel any rust, scale, paint or other
foreign substance that would stop or retard the normal forward progress of
the cutting action.

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15.3.3 Selection of fuel gas
Factors to be considered when selecting a fuel gas include:

 Time required for preheating when starting cuts.

 Effect on cutting speed and productivity.
 Cost and availability.
 Volume of oxygen required to obtain a neutral flame.
 Safety in transporting and handling.

Fuel gas characteristics and their applications.

Fuel gas Main characteristics Applications

Acetylene Highly focused, Rapid cutting of thin

high temperature flame plates
Rapid preheating and piercing Bevel cuts
Low oxygen requirement Short, multi-pierce cuts
Propane Low temperature flame, Cutting of thicker sections
high heat content (100-300mm), long cuts
Slow preheating and piercing
High oxygen requirement
MAPP Medium temperature flame Cutting underwater
Propylene Medium temperature flame Cutting of thicker sections

Natural gas Low temperature flame Cutting of thicker sections

15.3.4 Cutting quality

Generally oxy-fuel cuts are characterised by:
 Large kerf (<2mm).
 Low roughness values (Ra<50µm).
 Poor edge squareness (>0.7mm).
 Wide HAZ (>1mm).

The face of a satisfactory cut has a sharp top edge, fine and even drag lines,
little oxide and a sharp bottom edge with an underside free of slag.

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Thermal Cutting IWS 15-5 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
A satisfactory cut is shown in the centre. If the cut is too slow (left) the top
edge is melted and there are deep grooves in the lower portion of the face.
Scaling is heavy and the bottom edge may be rough, with adherent dross. If
the cut is too fast (right) the appearance is similar, with an irregular cut edge.
Plate thickness 12mm.

With a very fast travel speed the drag lines are coarse and at an angle to the
surface with an excessive amount of slag sticking to the bottom edge of the
plate, due to the oxygen jet trailing with insufficient oxygen reaching the
bottom of the cut.

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Thermal Cutting IWS 15-6 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
A satisfactory cut is shown in the centre. If the preheating flame is too low (left)
the most noticeable effect on the cut edge is deep gouges in the lower part of
the cut face. If the flame is too high (right) the top edge is melted, cut irregular
and there is excess adherent dross. Plate thickness 12mm.

A satisfactory cut is shown in the centre. If the blowpipe nozzle is too high
above the work (left) excessive melting of the top edge occurs with a lot of
oxide. If the torch travel speed is irregular (right) uneven spacing of the drag
lines can be observed and an irregular bottom surface and adherent oxide. Plate
thickness 12mm.

15.3.5 Advantages of oxy-fuel cutting

 Steels can generally be cut faster than by most machining methods.
 Section shapes and thicknesses difficult to produce by mechanical means
can be cut economically.
 Basic equipment costs are low compared with machine tools.
 Manual equipment is very portable and can be used on site.
 Cutting direction can be changed rapidly on a small radius.
 Large plates can be cut rapidly in place by moving the torch rather than the
 An economical method of plate edge preparation.

15.3.6 Disadvantages of oxy-fuel cutting

 Dimensional tolerances significantly poorer than for machine tools.
 Process is essentially limited to cutting carbon and low alloy steels.
 Preheat flame and expelled red hot slag present fire and burn hazards to
plant and personnel.
 Fuel combustion and oxidation of the metal require proper fume control and
adequate ventilation.
 Hardenable steels may require pre- and/or post-heat adjacent to the cut
edges to control their metallurgical structures and mechanical properties.
 Special process modifications are needed for cutting high alloy steels and
cast irons (ie iron powder or flux addition).
 Being a thermal process, expansion and shrinkage of the components during
and after cutting must be taken into consideration.

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15.4 Powder cutting
Powder cutting is oxygen cutting in which a suitable powder is injected into the
cutting oxygen stream to assist the cutting action (from BS 499: Part 1:1991
Section 7 No.72 008).

Mild steels readily ignite in a stream of oxygen when they are heated to 700-
900°C, but for stainless steels, the ignition temperature is over 1500°C.
Furthermore, the oxides formed when cutting mild steel have lower melting
points than the parent metal and this facilitates a clean cut. With stainless steel
the oxide has a higher melting point than the parent metal and hampers
cutting. This can be overcome by adding materials to the cutting gas stream
which either remove the oxide film or raise the reaction temperature:

Flux injection into the cutting gas stream which chemically removes the oxides
of chromium.

Finely divided iron-rich powder fed separately into the cutting zone in a gaseous
medium. Combustion of the iron powder increases the reaction temperature
and the fluidity of oxidation products.

The iron-rich powder injection technique has also been used for cutting copper,
nickel, aluminium and their alloys and cast irons.

The quality of the cut surface is, at best, equivalent to flame cut carbon steel;
but with many materials, the cut quality is very poor.

15.5 Oxy-fuel gouging

Oxy-fuel or flame gouging offers a quick and efficient method of removing

metal, principally ferritic steel. It can be at least four times quicker than cold
chipping operations and is particularly attractive because of its low noise, ease
of handling and ability to be used in all positions.

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15.5.1 Process description
Flame gouging is a variant of conventional oxy-fuel gas cutting. Oxygen and a
fuel gas are used to produce a high temperature flame for melting the steel.
When gouging, the steel is locally heated to above the ignition temperature
(typically 700-900°C) and a jet of oxygen used to melt the metal - a chemical
reaction between pure oxygen and hot iron. The jet is also used to blow away
molten metal and slag. Compared with oxy-fuel cutting, slag is not blown
through the material but remains on the top surface of the work.

The gouging nozzle is designed to supply a relatively large volume of oxygen

through the gouging jet, as much as 300 l/min through a 6mm orifice. In oxy-
acetylene gouging, equal quantities of oxygen and acetylene are used to set a
near-neutral preheating flame with the oxygen jet flow rate determining the
depth and width of the gouge. Typical operating parameters for achieving a
range of gouge sizes are:

Nozzle Gouge Gas pressure, bar Gas consumption, l/min Travel

orifice dimensions, speed,
diamete mm mm/mi
r, mm Widt Dept Acetylen Oxyge Acetylen O2 O2 n
h h e n e prehe goug
at e
3 6-8 3-9 0.48 4.2 15 22 62 600

5 8-10 6-12 0.48 5.2 29 31 158 1000

6.5 10- 10- 0.55 5.5 36 43 276 1200

13 13

When the preheating flame and oxygen jet are correctly set, the gouge has a
uniform profile and its surfaces are smooth and a dull blue.

15.5.2 Operating techniques

The depth of the gouge is determined principally by the speed and angle of the
torch. To cut a deep groove the angle of the torch is stepped up (increases the
impingement angle of the oxygen jet) and gouging speed reduced. To produce
a shallow groove, the torch is less steeply angled and speed increased. Wide
grooves can be produced by weaving the torch. The contour of the groove is
dependent upon the size of the nozzle and the operating parameters. If the
cutting oxygen pressure is too low, gouging progresses with a washing action,
leaving smooth ripples in the bottom of the groove. If the cutting oxygen
pressure is too high, the cut advances ahead of the molten pool which will
disrupt the gouging operation especially when making shallow grooves.

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15.6 MMA gouging
MMA gouging operates in the same way as the welding process – an arc is
formed between the tip of the electrode and the workpiece. As only the arc
force ejects metal, it requires special electrodes with thick flux coatings to
generate sufficiently strong arc force and gas stream. Unlike MMA welding
where a stable weld pool must be maintained, this process forces the molten
metal away from the arc zone to leave a clean cut surface.

Cutting of thin material can be achieved with these electrodes but it is not very
satisfactory, leaving a very ragged edge.

The gouging process is characterised by the large amount of gas generated to

eject the molten metal. Because the arc/gas stream is not as powerful as a gas
or separate air jet, the surface of the gouge is not as smooth as an oxy-fuel or
air carbon arc gouge.

DCEN is preferred but an AC constant current power source can be used.

MMA gouging is used for localised gouging operations, removal of defects for
example and where it is more convenient to switch from a welding electrode to
a gouging electrode rather than use specialised equipment. Compared with
alternative gouging processes, metal removal rates are low and the quality of
the gouged surface inferior.

When correctly applied MMA gouging can produce relatively clean gouged
surfaces. For general applications welding can be carried out with only light
grinding. When gouging stainless steel a thin layer of higher carbon content
material will be produced, which should be removed by grinding.

The main advantage of MMA gouging is that the same power source can be
used for welding, gouging or cutting by changing the type of electrode.

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Grooving electrodes, though based on mild steel core wires, are not just
restricted to steels: the same electrode composition may be used for gouging
stainless steel and non-ferrous alloys, in which case the cut surface must be
ground after the gouging operation has been completed.

15.7 Air carbon arc gouging

15.7.1 Process description
An electric arc is generated between the tip of a carbon electrode and the
workpiece. The metal becomes molten and a high velocity air jet streams down
the electrode to blow it away, leaving a clean groove. The process is simple to
apply (the same equipment as MMA welding), has a high metal removal rate
and gouge profile can be closely controlled.

As it does not rely on oxidation it can be applied to a wide range of metals.

DCEP is normally preferred for steel and stainless steel but AC is more effective
for cast iron, copper and nickel alloys. Typical applications include backgouging,
removal of surface and internal defects and excess weld metal and preparation
of bevel edges for welding.

For effective metal removal it is important that the air stream is directed at the
arc from behind the electrode and sweeps under the tip of the electrode. The
groove width is determined by the diameter of electrode and depth is dictated
by the angle of electrode to work piece and rate of travel. Relatively high travel
speeds are possible when a low electrode angle is used, producing a shallow
groove: a steep angle results in a deep groove and requires slower travel
speed. A steeply angled electrode may give rise to carbon contamination.

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Oscillating the electrode in a circular or restricted weave motion during gouging
can greatly increase gouging width, useful for removal of a weld or plate
imperfection wider than the electrode. The groove surface should be relatively
free of oxidised metal and is ready for welding without further preparation but
grinding should be carried out if a carbon rich layer has been formed. Dressing
may be necessary if working on crack-sensitive material such as HSLA steel.

15.7.2 Advantages
 Fast - approximately five times faster than chipping.
 Easily controllable, removes defects with precision. Defects clearly visible
and may be followed with ease. Cut depth is easily regulated and slag does
not deflect or hamper the cutting action.
 Low equipment cost - no gas cylinders or regulators are necessary except
on site.
 Economical to operate - no oxygen or fuel gas required. The welder may
also do the gouging (no qualification requirements for this operation
although adequate training should always be given).
 Easy to operate - equipment similar to MMA except the torch and air supply
 Compact - the torch is not much larger than an MMA electrode holder,
allowing work in confined areas.
 Versatile.
 Can be automated.

15.7.3 Disadvantages
 The air jet causes the molten metal to be ejected over quite a large
 Because of high currents (up to 2000A) and high air pressures (80-100psi),
it can be very noisy.
 Other cutting processes usually produce a better cut.
 Requires large volume of compressed air.
 Increases the carbon content leading to an increase in hardness in the case
of cast iron and hardenable metals. In stainless steels can lead to carbide
precipitation and sensitisation so grinding of the carburised layer usually
follows gouging.
 Introduces hazards such as fire (due to discharge of sparks and molten
metal), fumes, noise and intense light.

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Thermal Cutting IWS 15-12 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
15.8 Plasma arc cutting
Plasma arc cutting uses essentially the same torch as for plasma welding. In
cutting, the constricted arc issuing from the plasma orifice develops a high
velocity jet of ionised gas that blows the melted metal away.

Initially a pilot arc is struck between a tungsten electrode and a water-cooled

nozzle. In the transferred arc variant, a stronger arc is then developed to the
work piece, constricted by the orifice in the nozzle. As plasma gas passes
through this arc, it is heated rapidly to in excess of 20,000°C which causes
huge expansion of the gas which is accelerated to near the speed of sound as it
passes through the constricting orifice towards the work piece. As the arc melts
the work piece, the high velocity jet blows away the molten metal. Where
materials are electrical insulators, the non-transferred arc method is used
where the arc remains within the torch as in the initial, pilot stage of the
transferred arc method, only the plasma jet stream travels toward the work

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Thermal Cutting IWS 15-13 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Transferred arc. Non-transferred arc.

Plasma arc cutting is seen as an alternative to the oxy-fuel process, however

the important difference between the two is that while the oxy-fuel process
oxidises the metal and the heat from the exothermic reaction melts the metal,
the plasma process uses the heat from the arc to melt the metal. The ability to
melt metal without oxidation is essential when cutting metals, such as stainless
steel, which form high temperature oxides. The plasma process was therefore
first introduced for cutting stainless steel and aluminium alloys. The first plasma
torches gave poor quality cuts and the process suffered from excessive noise
and fume, especially when cutting thicker material. Over the last thirty years,
the process has been highly refined and is now capable of producing high
quality cuts, at increased speeds, in a wide range of material thicknesses.

15.8.1 Power source

The power source for the plasma arc process must have a drooping
characteristic and a high voltage. Although the operating voltage to sustain the
plasma is typically 50-60V, the OCV to initiate the arc can be up to 400V DC.

On initiation, a pilot arc is formed within the body of the torch between the
electrode and nozzle. For cutting metals the arc should be transferred to the
work piece in the so-called transferred arc mode. The electrode is negative and
the work piece positive so that the majority of the arc energy (approximately
⅔ ) is used for cutting.

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Thermal Cutting IWS 15-14 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
15.8.2 Gas composition
In the conventional system using a tungsten electrode, the plasma is inert,
formed using Ar, Ar-H2 or N2. However, as described in Process Variants,
oxidising gases, such as air or O2, can be used but the electrode must be
copper with a hafnium tip.

The plasma gas flow is critical and must be set according to the current level
and the nozzle bore diameter. If too low for the current level or the current
level too high for the nozzle bore diameter, the arc will break down forming two
arcs in series, electrode to nozzle and nozzle to work piece. The effect of double
arcing is usually catastrophic with the nozzle melting.

15.8.3 Cut quality

Plasma cut quality is similar to with the oxy-fuel process, but as the plasma
process cuts by melting, a characteristic feature is the greater degree of
melting towards the top of the metal resulting in top edge rounding, poor edge
squareness or a bevel on the cut edge. As these limitations are associated with
the degree of constriction of the arc, several torch designs are available to
improve arc constriction to produce more uniform heating at the top and
bottom of the cut.

15.8.4 Air plasma

The inert plasma forming gas (Ar or N2) can be replaced with air but this
requires a special electrode of hafnium or zirconium mounted in a copper
holder. Air can replace water for cooling the torch and the use of compressed
air rather than more expensive cylinder gas, makes this process highly
competitive with the oxy-fuel process. A variant of the air plasma process is the
monogas torch in which air is used for both the plasma and the cooling gas.

Air plasma is more widely applied in light engineering industries, eg cutting

sheet steel of 1-20mm and is most often used on C-Mn and stainless steels but
will also cut SG cast iron and non-ferrous materials. For thin section material of
a few millimetres, the process is much faster than oxy-fuel, but at thicknesses
approaching 30-40mm, air plasma becomes relatively slow.

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Thermal Cutting IWS 15-15 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
The obvious cost advantages of using air in preference to expensive gases (for
the plasma and oxy-fuel processes) may be offset when other operating costs
have been taken into account. For example, the air must be fed at a relatively
high pressure (typically 150 l/min at 5bar) and clean which will require a
sizeable compressor with suitable filters for dust particles and oil. The hafnium
or zirconium electrodes are expensive and their operating life can be severely
shortened if there are frequent stop and starts.

Low current air plasma torches, typically less than 40A, are particularly
attractive for cutting thin sheet material, in that compressed air is used for both
the plasma forming gas and cooling the torch. As N2 and O2 suppress the
formation of a series arc, compared with Ar, contact cutting can be practised
with the air plasma system. The process is becoming more widely used for
manual cutting of thin sheet components in both C-Mn and stainless steel,
where contact cutting greatly deskills the operation.

15.8.5 Advantages
 Not limited to materials which are electrical conductors so is widely used for
cutting all types of stainless steels, non-ferrous materials and non-
conductive materials.
 Operates at a much higher energy level compared with oxy-fuel cutting
resulting in faster cutting speed.
 Instant start-up is particularly advantageous for interrupted cutting and
allows cutting without preheat.
 Can be used with a wide range of materials, including stainless steel and
 High quality cut edges can be achieved, eg the HTPAC process.
 Narrow HAZ formed.
 Low gas consumable (air) costs.
 Ideal for thin sheet material.
 Low fume (underwater) process.

15.8.6 Disadvantages
 Dimensional tolerances are significantly poorer than machine tool
 The process introduces hazards such as fire, electric shock (due to the high
OCV), intense light, fumes, gases and noise levels that may not be present
with other processes. In underwater cutting fumes, UV radiation and noise
are reduced to a low level.
 Compared with oxy-fuel cutting, plasma arc cutting equipment tends to be
more expensive and requires a fairly large amount of electric power.
 Being a thermal process, expansion and shrinkage of the components during
and after cutting must be taken into consideration.
 Cut edges slightly tapered.
 Air plasma limited to 50mm thickness plate.
 High noise especially when cutting thick sections in air.
 High fume generation when cutting in air.
 Protection required from the arc glare.
 High consumable costs (electrodes and nozzles).

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Thermal Cutting IWS 15-16 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
15.9 Plasma arc gouging
The use of plasma arc as a gouging tool dates from the 1960s when the process
was developed for welding. Compared with the alternative oxy-fuel and MMA
gouging techniques, plasma arc has a needle-like jet that can produce a very
precise groove, suitable for application on almost all ferrous and non- ferrous

15.9.1 Process description

Plasma arc gouging is a variant of the plasma arc cutting process. The
temperature and force of the constricted plasma arc is determined by the
current level and plasma gas flow rate so the plasma can be varied to produce a
hot gas stream or a high power, deeply penetrating jet. This ability to control
quite precisely the size and shape of a groove is very useful for removing
unwanted defects from a work piece surface.

15.10 Laser cutting

15.10.1 Introduction to laser cutting
Laser cutting is used extensively for producing profiled flat plate and sheet for
many and diverse applications in engineering industry. For three-dimensional
components, multi-axis gantry laser beam manipulators have extended laser
cutting to the automotive sector with this type of equipment used for the
trimming of pre-production body panels at all leading car manufacturers.

More recently, laser cutting has also found its way, very successfully, into other
industry sectors such as shipbuilding, traditionally known to be fairly slow in the
adoption of high technology processes.

The CO2 gas laser dominates cutting applications, being used on steels and non-
metallic materials, including man-made fabrics. The Nd:YAG solid state laser is
also used as its wavelength is readily absorbed by aluminium and copper.

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Thermal Cutting IWS 15-17 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Almost all cutting operations with the above lasers use some sort of gas to
assist the process. The degree of assistance can be from simply providing
protection to the beam focusing lens or via production of an exothermic
reaction with a gas such as O2, to increase significantly achievable cutting
speeds. This has led to the term gas assisted laser cutting which is often used
synonymously in the industry with the term laser cutting.

15.10.2 Advantages
 Very fast speed.
 No delay for preheating necessary.
 Readily automated and can follow three dimensional tracks.
 Can cut polymers and other non-metallic materials.
 Good quality square-edged kerf.

15.10.3 Disadvantages
 High equipment cost.
 Need to isolate personnel from laser beam.

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Thermal Cutting IWS 15-18 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
IWS Revision questions
1 Describe the four basic requirements for successful oxy-fuel gas cutting and what
happens if each is not met.

2 What are the functions of the preheating flame prior to injection of the cutting
oxygen stream?

3 How does MMA gouging work?

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Thermal Cutting IWS 15-19 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Section 16

Surfacing and Spraying

16 Surfacing and Spraying
16.1 Background
Surfacing may be required for a number of reasons including:

Repair build-up
Replacing worn or damaged surfaces by building up the surface with a weld
metal which approximately matches the composition and/or mechanical
properties of the parent metal.

Giving a softer material a wear, abrasion or erosion resistant surface.

Providing a corrosion or oxidation resistant surface on a less corrosion resistant
material, eg deposition of a stainless steel or nickel-based layer on a carbon
steel base. One advantage of this technique is cost-saving when surfacing a
relatively inexpensive metal, such as a carbon steel, with a more expensive but
corrosion resistant layer of stainless steel. Material and weight savings may be
gained when a clad, high strength, quenched and tempered steel is used in a
corrosive environment.

Depositing a layer of weld metal on to the face of a weld preparation or surface
which will then form part of a welded joint, eg buttering an alloy steel weld
preparation with a nickel-based weld metal and post-weld heat treating this
part before making the joining weld between the buttering and a steel, which
would be degraded by heat treatment.

Surfaces of a different material may be achieved by a variety of methods:

Solid-state bonding
Joining the surface layer to the substrate by pressure or combination of
pressure and heat. Clad plate may be made by rolling a sheet of the surfacing
material and the substrate together or by explosively forcing the surface sheet,
set up as a flier plate into intimate contact with the parent plate. Friction may
be used to rub a new material on to the surface of the base plate. For small
components, diffusion bonding may be used where two sheets are held under
pressure and heated under vacuum to close to the melting point of the lower
melting material for an extended time.

Electrically melted
Arc welding is the obvious technique with virtually all processes applicable, but
other techniques such as electroslag strip cladding and electric discharge
surfacing also possible.

Usually involving a heat source used in welding – oxy-fuel, plasma, laser – but
also possible as cold spraying by forcing the powder on to a surface with
sufficient force to cause it to adhere.

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Surfacing and Spraying 16-1 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Surfacing techniques have been used in a variety of applications but only since
the 1940s has arc welding. Since then all arc welding processes have been
used. Every sector of industry - oil and gas, automotive, aerospace, power
generation, yellow goods, etc - uses arc surfacing techniques for repair,
recovery and to improve service performance.

16.2 Friction surfacing

A solid consumable bar rotated with one of its ends pressed hard against a
substrate material. Heat is generated at the consumable tip, producing a
plasticised layer. Lateral movement of the substrate, relative to the rotating
consumable, deposits this plasticised material on to the substrate (see figure).

There is no melting of the substrate material so no dilution of the substrate into

the deposit. The composition of the deposit is the same as that of the

16.3 Surfacing by arc welding

All arc welding processes can be used for overlay as well as joining applications.
The choice of process depends on application, component size and geometry.
Overlays are typically in excess of 2mm thickness and can be considerably
thicker. Good adhesion is secured to the substrate through a metallurgical bond
but weld surfacing involves fusion of the substrate to a certain extent and at the
same time dilution of the overlay by the substrate material. Weld surfacing can
be used to overlay new components with wear or resistant coatings or to
restore worn components to their original dimensions.
The most commonly used arc welding processes are MMA, MIG/MAG and SAW,
the last using a wire or flat strip consumable. FCAW is being used increasingly
because of the ease of tailoring the composition of the consumable to the
application. Drawing a hardfacing wire down to a small diameter for MIG/MAG
or SAW is, in many instances, impossible so cored wires are normally used. For
specialised operations such as high alloy cladding of offshore oil and gas
equipment, the hot wire TIG process is sometimes used.

The main consideration with the surfacing process is achieving correct

composition of the surfacing material. Selection of the most appropriate alloy is
paramount but the amount of parent metal melted and mixed in with the filler
metal (degree of dilution) is also of crucial importance, generally expressed as a
percentage dilution of parent metal in the surfacing. Dilution varies from
process to process and is influenced by welding parameters, in particular
electrode polarity, welding current and travel speed. These need to be closely
controlled to achieve consistency.

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Surfacing and Spraying 16-2 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Examples of common applications and typical alloy selection:

 Repair of cast iron tooling (nickel alloys).

 Repair of injection moulding tools (martensitic steels).
 Repair of hot work tool steels (high speed steels).
 Engine exhaust valves (cobalt alloys).
 Wear plate for earthmoving, mineral extraction and transportation, concast
rolls (ferro-chromium chromium carbide).
 Screw press flights (martensitic steels, cobalt alloys).
 Gate valves (cobalt alloys).
 Steelworks rolls (chrome alloys).

Excavator bucket fabricated from wear plate manufactured by open arc welding.

16.4 Thermal spraying

A generic category of coating processes that apply a powder or wire
consumable as a spray of finely divided molten or semi-molten droplets to
produce a coating. Heat may be generated by oxy-fuel combustion (flame and
HVOF) or electrically (arc and plasma). Thermal spraying processes have been
widely used for many years throughout all the major engineering industry
sectors for component protection and reclamation.

16.4.1 Lower energy processes

The lower energy or metallising processes are arc and flame spraying and are
widely used for reclamation of worn or damaged components and for depositing
coatings of metals such as aluminium and zinc alloys to protect steel structures
from corrosion.

Coatings prepared with lower energy processes are quite porous and adhesion
is lower than achieved with the higher energy techniques and the pores are
often impregnated with a sealant or lubricant to improve coating performance.
Sealants are widely used in applications where the surface must be resistant to
corrosive environments.

With the lower energy processes of flame and arc spraying, adhesion to the
substrate is considered largely mechanical and is dependent on the substrate
surface being very clean and suitably rough. Roughening is carried out by grit
blasting and, occasionally, machining.

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Surfacing and Spraying 16-3 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
16.4.2 Higher energy processes
The higher energy processes of plasma, high velocity oxy-fuel and detonation
spraying have been developed to produce coatings with much lower porosity
and oxide levels, together with greater adhesion to the substrate, partly by
spray particles having higher impact velocities.

Surface preparation by cleaning and grit blasting is still extremely important.

The range of coating types that can be deposited by higher energy processes is
wider and increases the range of applications to include protective coatings for
severe wear, high temperature oxidation and gaseous corrosion.

The characteristics and properties of thermal spray coating material can vary
significantly with process. Typical process characteristics and coating properties
that can be obtained with the most widely used thermal spray processes are
compared below.

Attribute Flame Wire arc Air plasma HVOF

Typical flame >3000 >3000 >5000 ~3000
temp., °C
Typical 50-100 50-150 100-400 400-800
velocity, m/s
Gas flow, 100-200 500-3000 100-200 400-1100
Gas types O2, C2H2 Air, N2, Ar N2, Ar, H2, He CH4, C2H2, H2,
C3H6, O2
Power, kW 20 2.5 40-200 150-300
Powder 5-100 Wire size 5-100 5-45
particle size, 1.2–4.8mm
µm diameter
Typical feed 2-10 3-18 3-6 1-4
rate, kg/hr
Typical Metals, Metals, cermets Ceramics, metals Ceramics, metals,
materials ceramics (cored wire) cermets
Coating 85-90 80-95 90-95 > 95
density, %
Porosity, % 10-15 5-10 5-10 1-2
Oxides, % 10-20 10-20 1-3 1-2
Upper bond 50 50 > 80 > 80
Typical 0.2-10 0.2-10 0.2-2 0.2-2

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 Comprehensive choice of coating materials: metals, alloys, ceramics,
cermets and carbides.
 Thick coatings can be applied at high deposition rates.
 Coatings are mechanically bonded to the substrate, can often spray coating
materials which are metallurgically incompatible to the substrate, eg
materials with a higher melting point than the substrate.
 Components can be sprayed with little or no pre- or post-heat treatment
and component distortion is minimal.
 Parts can be rebuilt quickly and at low cost, usually at a fraction of the price
of a replacement.
 By using a premium material for the thermal spray coating, coated
components can outlive new parts.
 Thermal spray coatings may be applied manually and automatically.

16.4.3 Applications
 Protective coatings for corrosion resistance.
 Protective coatings for abrasive and adhesive wear and erosion resistance.
 Coatings for composite materials.
 Functional coatings for electronic applications.
 Functional coatings for medical applications.
 Repair and maintenance.
 Spray form bearings.
 MCrAlY coatings.
 Thermal barrier coatings
 High temperature applications.

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Surfacing and Spraying 16-5 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
IWS Revision questions
1 What are the likely reasons for surfacing one material with another?

2 What are the advantages of thermal spraying over arc surfacing?

3 What are the key features of solid state surfacing? Give an example.

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Surfacing and Spraying 16-6 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
Appendix 1

WPE 1 multiple choice questions day 1

Training only

1 What is a homogenous welded joint?

a The filler material is of a different composition.

b There is no filler material used.
c The filler material is of a similar composition.
d There is no heating of the joint.

2 In brazing, the melting point of the filler material is?

a Above that of the parent material.

b Below 450ºC.
c Above 450ºC.
d About the same as the material.

3 What is capillary action?

a The ability to weld below the material’s melting point.

b The movement of liquids against the force of gravity.
c A magnetic force that causes fusion.
d Fusion between different grades of material.

4 A solid state welding process is where?

a Only one material is welded.

b Both materials are melted.
c There is heating but no melting.
d The material becomes solid immediately.

5 A fillet weld with a 12mm leg length has an actual throat thickness of 10mm.
What is the amount of excess metal?

a 1.6mm.
b 8.4mm.
c 2.5mm.
d 3.5mm.

6 Which standard is used to demonstrate a welder’s skill without working to a procedure?

a EN 287.
b EN 15614.
c BS 5500.
d BS 4872.

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Appendix 1
Practice Exams Day 1 A1-1 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
7 If the weld symbol to EN 22553 is on the indication line, where does the weld go?

a Arrow side.
b Opposite arrow side.
c Other side.
d Near side.
8 The letter ‘a’ represents what to EN 22553?

a Leg length.
b Penetration depth.
c Design throat.
d Actual throat.

9 In general terms, when welding two different thicknesses in a fillet weld configuration,
the leg length is determined by?

a Thickest material.
b Smallest material.
c Average of the two.
d It does not matter.

10 Where does the indication line go on an EN 22553 weld symbol?

a Above reference line.

b Below reference line.
c It does not matter.
d It depends on joint type.

11 An inert gas is one of the following?

a Does not react with other substances.

b Does react with other substances.
c Is explosive.
d Has a distinct smell.

12 What does OCV mean?

a On current voltage.
b Over current voltage.
c Open circuit voltage.
d Often creates voltage.

13 The term OEL means?

a Other elements limited.

b Occupational exposure limits.
c Occupational employment life.
d On extreme limits.

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Appendix 1
Practice Exams Day 1 A1-2 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
14 Which fuel gas produces the most heat?

a Acetylene.
c Propane.
d Natural gas.

15 Which type of flame is used for gas welding?

a Neutral.
b Oxidizing.
c Cabourizing.
d High pressure.

16 When turning off gas welding equipment, which gas is turned off first?

a Oxygen.
b Acetylene.
c All at the same time.
d It does not matter.

17 At what pressure is oxygen stored in the cylinder?

a 200bar.
b 300bar.
c 400bar.
d 50bar.

18 The left ward welding technique used for gas welding, is typically used for what?

a 5mm and below.

b 5mm and above.
c Butt welds.
d Fillet welds.

19 On most welding equipment the typical OCV is?

a 60-100v.
b 222-240v.
c 23-30v.
d 30-50v.

20 At what decibel level should an employer provide hearing protection?

a Above 95db.
b Above 105db.
c Between 80-85db.
d Between 85-90db.

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Appendix 1
Practice Exams Day 1 A1-3 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
WPE 1 multiple choice questions day 2
Training Only

1 What material is the best conductor of electricity?

a Copper.
b Aluminium.
c Silver.
d Tin.

2 Electrons move at the speed of light, how fast is this?

a !0,000 miles per second.

b 86,000 miles per second.
c 186,000 miles per second.
d 286,000 miles per second.

3 The term EMF means

a Electron movement ferocity.

b Electro motive force.
c Electric motive force.
d Electricity moves fast.

4 What is the purpose of a transformer on welding equipment?

a Smooth the welding current.

b Step down voltage and step up amperage.
c Step down amperage and step up voltage.
d Improve arc initiation.

5 Which statement is true, regarding the welding arc?

a Electrons are negatively charged, Ions are positively charged.

b Electrons are positively charged and Ions are negatively charged.
c Electrons and Ions change their polarity depending on Welding current.
d They alternate between negative and positive.

6 Inductance in a current does what?

a Controls the arc gap.

b Changes the rate at which current rises.
c Sets up a resistance so filler material heats quicker.
d Ensures that arc initiation is smoother.

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Practice Exams Day 2 A1-4 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
7 Electrical power consumption is measure using?

a A=W x V.
b W= I x V.
c V= I x R.
d R= W x I.

8 Which of the following statements is true?

a The Anode is positive the Cathode is negative.

b The Cathode is positive the Anode is negative.
c They alternate during welding on DC.
d All of the above.

9 Ohms law is?

a W= I x R.
b V= I x R.
c I=R x W.
d R=W x I.

10 The term CPS means?

a Current positive system.

b Cycles per second.
c Cycles positive sometimes.
d Current permanently smooth.

11 What is the purpose of a slope out device?

a Prevent over penetration.

b Give greater penetration.
c Prevent crater cracking.
d Prevent arc blow.

12 Why are pure tungsten electrodes not used extensively?

a Too expensive.
b They melt at high temperatures.
c They have an unstable arc.
d Difficult to prepare.

13 Which shielding gas gives the highest penetration?

a Argon.
b CO2.
c Argon plus CO2.
14 Why is A.C. used predominantly to weld aluminium?

a Gives a smoother arc.

b Produces a cathodic cleaning action.
c Improves penetration.
d Reduces cracking.

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Practice Exams Day 2 A1-5 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
15 What is the purpose of the gas delay function?

a Helps purge the gas line.

b Cools the weld.
c Prevents tungsten contamination.
d Improves fusion.

16 What is the purpose of an A.C. balance control function?

a Gives good arc stability.

b Allows greater control over amperage.
c Gives control over penetration.
d Allows switching from DC to AC.

17 What determines arc energy?

a Filler size, gas flow, tungsten diameter.

b Amps, volts and travel speed.
c Gas type, polarity and ceramic size.
d Tungsten type, electrode extension and angle of electrode.

18 What does the high frequency do?

a Allows arc striking without electrode contact.

b Pulses the welding current.
c Smoothes the welding current.
d Increase tungsten life.

19 Which tungsten type is used for welding aluminium?

a Zirconiated.
b Thoriated.
c Chrominium.
d Clad.

20 What is meant by the term autogenous?

a High welding speeds.

b Low welding speeds.
c Welding without filler.
d Positional welding.

21 What’s the purpose of the slope up device on a TIG welding set?

a Helps prevent tungsten inclusions.

b Gives greater penetration.
c Improves positional welding.
d Improves arc initiation

22 Which shielding gas would normally be used for welding aluminium?

a CO2.
b Argon.
c Argon plus CO2.
d Nitrogen.

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Practice Exams Day 2 A1-6 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
23 What characteristics, best describes aluminium

a Low thermal conductivity.

b High thermal conductivity.
c Hard and heavy.
d Good abrasive qualities.

24 What is the correct polarity for welding stainless steel with the TIG process?

a AC.
b DC-.
c DC+.
d Does not matter.

25 What would be the typical gas flow rate for welding aluminium with the TIG process?

a 8-12 litres per minute.

b 4-6 litres per minute.
c 16-20 litres per minute.
d 20-24 litres per minute.

26 What would happen if the current range was exceeded for a tungsten electrode?

a Greater penetration.
b Tungsten inclusions.
c Porosity.
d Poor weld profile.

27 Why are stainless steel root runs purged using the TIG process?

a To give greater penetration.

b To prevent oxidization.
c To give less penetration.
d To prevent suck back.

28 What are the characteristics of stainless steel?

a High thermal conductivity and low distortion.

b Low thermal conductivity and high distortion.
c High distortion and high thermal conductivity.
d Low distortion and low thermal conductivity.

29 What is the typical amperage range for a 1.6mm thoriated tungsten electrode?

a 90-150amps.
b 30-100amps.
c 250-450amps.
d 200-300amps.

30 What are the main features of an inert shielding gas?

a Can be smelt and lighter than air.

b Cannot be smelt and heavier than air.
c Can be seen and smelt.
d Can be smelt and combines with other elements.

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Practice Exams Day 2 A1-7 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
WPE 1 Multiple choice questions day 3
Training Only

1 In MIG/MAG welding, if stick out length was increased what would be the affect?

a Voltage would increase.

b Amperage would increase.
c Amperage would decrease.
d Voltage would decrease.

2 The inductance in MIG/MAG equipment controls?

a Rate of current rise.

b Wire speed rate.
c Arc length.
d Burn back.

3 Solid wire MIG/MAG uses which polarity?

a AC..
b DC-.
c DC+.
d All of the above.

4 Solid wire spray transfer has the following feature?

a Low deposition rate.

b High deposition rate.
c Good positionally.
d High solidification rate.

5 A typical shielding gas for welding aluminium

a 95% Ar 5% CO2.
b 100% Ar.
c 100% CO2.
d 80% Ar 20% CO2.

6 Increasing voltage in MIG/MAG would have what affect?

a Increase penetration.
b Decrease penetration.
c Increase excess weld metal.
d Increase welding speed.

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Practice Exams Day 3 A1-8 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
7 The current in MIG/MAG welding is controlled by which parameter?

a Voltage.
b Wire feed speed.
c Inductance.
d All of the above.

8 In MIG/MAG welding which mode of metal transfer can be used for the widest range?

a Spray.
b Dip.
c Globular.
d Free flight transfer.

9 How would spatter be controlled using Dip transfer?

a Use pure CO2

b Use DC negative polarity.
c Use the inductance.
d Use pure argon.

10 Which electrical characteristic is associated with MIG/MAG equipment?

a Constant current.
b Constant voltage.
c Constant amperage.
d Constant output.

11 In MIG/MAG welding, which mode of metal transfer can suffer from lack of fusion?

a Pulse.
b Dip.
c Spray.
d Free flight.

12 In MIG/MAG welding, the spray mode of metal transfer can be characterised by?

a An open and closed arc cycle.

b A long open arc.
c The droplet being pulsed across the arc.
d All of the above.

13 Which of these statements is true concerning spray transfer?

a Can be used positionally.

b Can be used positional with FCAW.
c Produces a relatively low heat input.
d Cannot be used for aluminium.

14 Which of these processes cannot be used for welding steel?

a MMA.
b MIG.
c TIG.
d SAW.

15 What does the term duty cycle refer to?

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Practice Exams Day 3 A1-9 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
a Time the welder spends welding.
b Amount of time an electrode is being used.
c Amount of time a welding machine is being used.
d Amount of electricity being consumed.

16 In MIG/MAG welding, which mode of metal transfer uses inductance to control welding

a Spray.
b Dip.
c Globular.
d Pulse.

17 Select a typical range for spray transfer?

a 21V 200A.
b 26V 230A.
c 24V 190A.
d 20V 150A.

18 In MMA welding, which electrode would give the highest level of penetration?

a Rutile.
b Basic.
c Cellulostic.
d Iron powder

19 In MMA welding, which electrode is not designed for positional welding?

a Rutile.
b Basic
c Cellulostic.
d Iron powder.
20 Which type of electrical output characteristic is associated with MMA?

a Constant voltage.
b Flat characteristic.
c Constant current.
d All of the above.

21 With MMA electrode classifications, what does the letter E represents?

a Extruded.
b Electrode.
c Covered electrode.
d Extended.

22 With MMA electrode classifications, what does the first two numbers represent?

a Charpy value.
b Welding position.
c Recovery rate.
d Tensile strength.

23 Which electrode would give the highest hydrogen content?

a Rutile.
b Iron powder.

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Practice Exams Day 3 A1-10 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
c Basic.
d Cellulostic.

24 In MMA welding, which polarity would give the highest level of penetration?

a AC.
b DC-.
c DC+.
d About the same.

25 With MMA welding, if the arc length is increased, what is the most likely outcome?

a Higher penetration.
b Decrease in amperage.
c Decrease in voltage.
d All of the above.

26 In MMA welding, what is known as recovery rate?

a How much flux is recovered as weld.

b How long it takes for the welding equipment to recover from welding.
c How much of the electrode is recovered as weld metal.
d How much of the core wire is recovered as weld metal.

27 What is the purpose of a rectifier on welding equipment?

a Changes AC to DC.
b Steps up amperage, steps down voltage.
c Steps up voltage and steps down amperage.
d All of the above.

28 ROL means?

a Regulating open latitude.

b Rolling over length.
c Roll out length.
d Roll out limit.
29 Which MMA electrode would give the highest recovery rate?

a Rutile.
b Iron powder.
c Cellulostic.
d Basic.

30 Which MMA electrode is to an EN classification?

a E6011.
b E 35 3 B.
c E 45 35 B.
d E 7013

Rev 4 January 2013

Practice Exams Day 3 A1-11 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
WPE 1 Multiple choice questions day 4
Training only

1 In the SAW process, which polarity is often used to prevent arc blow?

a AC.
b DC+.
c DC-.
d All of the above.

2 Which type of Saw flux is prone to picking up moisture?

a Fused.
b Agglomerated.
c Acidic.
d Neutral.

3 In the SAW process, what is the main effect of increasing the voltage?

a Wider weld.
b Narrower weld.
c Greater penetration.
d All of the above.

4 The SAW process used below 1000amps would be classified as having a?

a Flat characteristic.
b Drooping characteristic.
c Constant current.
d High output characteristic.

5 Twin wires are often used in the SAW process to improve deposition rates. To prevent
arc blow the polarity combination is?

a DC leading and AC following.

b AC leading and DC following.
c DC+ leading DC- following.
d DC- leading and DC+ following.

6 In the Saw process welding above 1000 amps the static electrical characteristic is?

a Constant current.
b Constant voltage.
c Flat characteristic.
d DC+.

Rev 4 January 2013

Practice Exams Day 4 A-12 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
7 Which SAW flux can break down into fine particles?

a Fused.
b Agglomerated.
c Rutile.
d All of the above.

8 In the Saw process, what is the typical depth of flux whilst welding?

a 10-15mm.
b 25-30mm.
c 40-50mm.
d 50-60mm.

9 What is the typical maximum thickness for the ESW process?

a 100mm.
b 200mm.
c 300mm.
d 400mm.

10 Which of the following is a major advantage of the ESW process?

a Defect free.
b All positional.
c Good toughness values.
d Very versatile.

11 What is the typical thickness range for the oxy fuel cutting process?

a 5-100mm.
b 5-150mm.
c 3-150mm.
d 0.5-250mm.

12 Using the oxy fuel cutting process on steel, what is the typical ignition temperature?

a 700-900ºC.
b 1200-1400ºC.
c 500-600ºC.
d 1500-1600ºC.

13 Why cannot aluminium be cut using the oxy fuel process?

a Melting point too low.

b High thermal conductivity.
c Oxide coating.
d High distortion rate.

14 If using the oxy fuel process to cut steel, which one of these statements is true?

a It is cut below its melting point.

b It is cut at its melting point.
c It is cut above its melting point.
d The temperature is not important.

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Practice Exams Day 4 A-13 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014
15 What is the typical temperature of a plasma cutting arc stream?

a 6000ºC.
b 10,000ºC.
c 15,000ºC.
d 20,000ºC.

16 A plasma cutting power source has what type of static output characteristic?

a Constant voltage.
b Constant current.
c Flat characteristic.
d Variable.

17 In the plasma arc cutting process, what type of polarity is used?

a DC-.
b DC+.
c AC.
d All of the above.

18 Which of these cutting processes does not melt the material?

a Oxy fuel.
b MMA gouging.
c Plasma.
d Arc air.

19 What material can oxy fuel cut successfully?

a Aluminium.
b Stainless steel.
c Carbon steel.
d Copper.

20 What’s the main reason why oxy fuel gas cutting cannot cut stainless steel?

a Higher melting point.

b Re factory oxides.
c Low thermal conductivity.
d It can be cut successfully.

Rev 4 January 2013

Practice Exams Day 4 A-14 Copyright © TWI Ltd 2014

Welcome to the Welding Processes and Equipment

module of TWI’s Diploma course approved by the
Welding Processes and Equipment International Institute of Welding (IIW) and
IIW/EWF Diploma in Welding
European Welding Federation (EWF)
Welcome - What this module is about
TWI Training & Examination Services

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What Does This Module Cover? What Can I Expect?

 Absolute basics – defining what a weld is.  Working to international syllabus.

 Detailed principles – how plasma is formed.  IAB-252r8-07 (short version on IIW website
www.iiw-iis.org )
 Electricity – how it is used in welding.
 This is one of four modules each examined
 Processes – common and more specialised.
 Standards – briefly, those on fabrication.
 Qualification towards TWI Diploma.
 Symbols – how to show welds on drawings.
 Qualification towards IIW/EWF Diploma.
 Requires entrance criteria to be met
 Greater understanding of important aspects of

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What Learning Methods Are Used? Example – Self-Adjusting Arc

 Binder has notes and powerpoints.

 Lectures given in classroom style.
 Extra study encouraged – necessary really.
 Interaction – especially for engineer.
 Tuition and counselling – talk to us.

Feed speed = burn off V up, i down, burn off Wire advances, i
down. Feed speed > increases until: Feed
burn off speed = burn off

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Example – Laser Deposition Why Is This Module Important To Me?

 Welding Engineer, Technologist, Specialist must

know fundamentals of processes.
 Regarded as company specialist.
 Choose best process for job.
 Make decisions on best use of processes.

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My Company Has Fixed Ideas I Just Need To Sign The Paperwork

 WL Bateman:  Short-term objective gaining Welding Co-ordinator

"If you keep on doing what you've always done, status is excellent.
you'll keep on getting what you've always got."  Co-ordinator does not just sign paperwork.
 Everyone wants cost efficiency.  Contracts need co-ordinator.
 Today’s equipment and control make even a few  Future contracts need to be at required quality
years-old gear obsolete. and profitable.
 Future developments always seek to improve.  Co-ordinator can advise best practice and save
 Your company will want you input. company money.

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What Will I Do That I Don’t Now? What’s In It For Me?

 Tricky – all individuals coming with different  Knowledge – better performance at job.
backgrounds.  Where to find reference material when needed.
 Depth of understanding can sort problems.  Ability to respond to changing needs.
 New perspectives on traditional processes –  Possibility of Professional Qualification.
experience from another viewpoint helps.  More assured future with wider prospects.
 New processes detailed – could be applicable now
or in future.

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 Welding.
 Brazing.
 Soldering.
 Adhesive bonding.
General Introduction to Welding  Diffusion bonding.
 Riveting.
TWI Training & Examination Services  Clinching.
 Sewing, stapling, etc.

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Welding Weldable/Un-weldable

 Metals.
 Plastics.
An operation in which two or more parts are united  Ceramics.
by means of heat or pressure or both, in such a  Composites.
way that there is continuity in the nature of the
metal between these parts.

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Parts To Be Joined Brazing

 Parent material, base material.  A process of joining in which, during or after

 Plate, pipe, section heating, molten filler metal is drawn into or
 Filler, consumable. retained in the space between closely adjacent
 Electrode, wire, powder surfaces of the parts to be joined by capillary
Completed item may be called:  In general, the melting point of the filler metal
 Joint. is above 450°C but always below the melting
 Weld. temperature of the parent material.
 Weldment.

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Soldering Welding

 A similar process to brazing, relying on  Fusion.

capillary attraction to draw molten filler into a  Melting of parent, filler, or usually both
gap between parts that remain solid  Solid state.
throughout. Solders melt at low temperatures,  May or may not be heated, but no melting
less than 450ºC.

 For steel and copper, solders are usually alloys

of tin.

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Fusion Welding Solid State Welding

 Oxy-fuel gas (OFW).  Forge or blacksmith.

 Manual metal(lic) arc (MMA).  Friction – many variations, including friction
 Metal inert/active gas (MIG/MAG).
 Explosive.
 Flux cored arc (FCAW).
 Cold pressure.
 Submerged arc (SAW).
 Ultrasonic.
 Electroslag (ESW).
 Electron beam (EBW).
 Laser.
 Resistance.
 Magnetically impelled arc butt (MIAB).

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Joint Terminology Butt Preparations

Edge Open and Closed Corner Lap

Square edge Square edge

closed butt open butt

Tee Butt

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Single Sided Butt Preparations Double Sided Butt Preparations
Single sided preparations are normally made on thinner materials, Double sided preparations are normally made on thicker
or when access form both sides is restricted. materials, or when access form both sides is unrestricted

Single Bevel Single Vee Double -Bevel Double -Vee

Single-J Single-U Double - J Double - U

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Joint Preparation Terminology Joint Preparation Terminology

Included angle Included angle Angle of bevel Angle of bevel

Angle of

Root Radius

Root Face Root Face

Root Face Root Face Root Gap
Root Gap
Root Gap Root Gap
Single Bevel Butt Single-J Butt
Single-V Butt Single-U Butt

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Weld Terminology Penetration

Butt weld Spot weld

Fillet weld

Full penetration Partial penetration

Edge weld Plug weld

Compound weld

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Sides Runs

Single sided Double sided Single run Multirun

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Stringer or Weave Welding Positions

Flat - PA Horizontal-Vertical - Horizontal - PC


Stringer bead Weave

Overhead - PD Horizontal-overhead - PE Vertical-up - PF

Vertical-down - PG

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Slope and Rotation Weld Zone Terminology

Weld slope
 The angle between root line and the Face B
positive X axis of the horizontal A
reference plane, measured in
mathematically positive direction (ie
counter-clockwise). Weld
Weld rotation metal
 The angle between the centreline of Heat
the weld and the positive Z axis or a affected Weld
zone boundary
line parallel to the Y axis, measured in
the mathematically positive direction
(ie counter-clockwise) in the plane of
the transverse cross section of the C Root D
weld in question. A, B, C and D = Weld Toes

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Weld Zone Terminology Weld Zone Terminology

Cap height
Weld width

Excess root

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Toe Blend Features to Consider

Fillet welds - toe blend

 The higher the toe blend angle the greater
the amount of stress concentration.
 The toe blend angle ideally should be

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Fillet Weld Profiles Fillet Weld Profiles

Fillet welds - shape

Mitre fillet Convex fillet Design

Horizontal leg
Concave fillet Length

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Fillet Weld Throat Thickness Fillet Weld Throat Thickness

a b

a = Design throat thickness b = Actual throat thickness

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Leg and Throat Relationship

Throat, a = 0.7 x Leg, z

Leg, z = 1.4 x Throat, a
a = z/√2

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Types of Standard

 Application and design.

 Specification and approval of welding


Fabrication Standards  Approval of welders.

TWI Training & Examination Services

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Levels of Standards Welding Procedure Approval Test

 Company or industry specific standards.  Carried out by a competent welder.

 National BS (British Standard).  Quality of the weld is assessed using NDT and
 European BS EN (British Standard European mechanical testing techniques.
Standard).  Demonstrate proposed welding procedure
 US AWS (American Welding Society) and gives welded joint to specified weld quality
ASME (American Society of Mechanical and mechanical properties.
 International ISO (International Standards

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Process Terminology –
Welder Approval Test
BS EN ISO 4063
 Examines welder's skill and ability to make  1 – Arc welding.
satisfactory test weld.  2 – Resistance welding.
 Test may be performed with or without a  3 – Gas welding.
qualified welding procedure.  4 – Welding with pressure.
 BS EN 287, BS ISO EN 9606 and ASME  5 – Beam welding.
Section IX for quality work.
 6 – Not used.
 BS 4872 shows an adequate level of skill from
general work.  7 – Other welding processes.
 8 – Cutting and gouging.
 9 – Brazing, soldering and braze welding.

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Process Terminology –
BS EN ISO 4063
Actual processes depicted by three digits, eg:
 111 – Manual metal arc welding
 114 – Self-shielded tubular-cored arc welding
 121 – Submerged arc welding with one wire electrode
 125 – Submerged arc welding with tubular cored
 131 – Metal inert gas welding (MIG welding)
 135 – Metal active gas welding (MAG welding)
 136 – Tubular cored metal arc welding with active gas
 141 – Tungsten inert gas arc welding (TIG welding)

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Why Are Symbols Needed?

 To avoid excessive wording on drawing.

 To give universally accepted description.
 To ensure everyone has same understanding.
 To achieve design requirement on shop floor.
Weld Symbols

TWI Training & Examination Services

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Basic Design of Symbols Basic Symbols for Edge Preparation

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Supplementary Symbols Complementary Symbols

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Dimensioning Fillet Welds Symbols for Intermittent Welding

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Summary of Weld Symbols

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Creation and Protection of Weld Pool

Fusion welding:
 Heat to melt parent plate and filler.
 Protection of melt from atmosphere.
Introduction to Fusion Welding  Flame.
 Electric arc.
TWI Training & Examination Services  Electrical resistance.
 Power beam.
 Vacuum or controlled atmosphere.
 Shielding gas and/or flux.

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Protection Gas Shielding

Inert gas.
 Argon – Ar.
 Helium – He.
 Ar-He.
 Nitrogen – N2 (inert for copper, but not
Active gas.
 CO2.
 Ar-CO2.
 Ar-O2.
 Ar-H2.

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Flux Shielding Leftward and Rightward Directions

 Flux may create gas to shield arc.

 Flux may have ingredients that react with
oxygen or nitrogen.
 Flux melts and solidifies to slag that covers
hot metal and excludes air.

Leftward technique Rightward technique

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Creation of a Molten Pool Flame

 Flame.  Burning fuel gas with oxygen creates flame

 Arc. temperature around 3000°C.
 Resistance.  Cannot melt refractory metals – Nb. Mo, W.
 Power beam.  Heat transfer by conduction and small amount
 Parent material and filler, if used, melt and
mix in pool.

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Arc Resistance

 Electrical potential ionises gas to give  Two sheets of metal pressed together by
conductive path between electrode and work. electrodes of Cu-Cr alloy.
 Arc generates plasma of ionised gas.  Current passed between electrodes has to
 Temperature very high – ca 10,000°C. cross boundary between sheets.
 Heat transfer by conduction and radiation.  High resistance at boundary generates heat
 Will melt all metals. that melts the interface.
 Pressure applied to compact the molten area
into a nugget.

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 Government legislation – The Health & Safety

at Work Act.
 Health & Safety Executive – COSHH
Regulations, Statutory instruments.
ARC Welding Safety  British Standards – OHSAS 18001.
 Company Health and Safety Management
TWI Training & Examination Services
 Work instructions – permits to work, risk
assessment documents etc.
 Local Authority requirements.

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Must Consider Electric Shock

 Primary 240 or 460V mains.
 Electric shock.
 Heat and light.  Do not open welding equipment.
 Fumes and gases.  Only qualified electrician to wire or repair
 Noise. machine.
 Gas cylinder handling and storage.  Secondary 60-100V high current.
 Working at height or in restricted access.  Don’t touch metal parts of torch or
 Mechanical hazards: trips, falls, cuts, impact electrode holder – certainly not when
from heavy objects. touching an earth.
 Don’t work with worn cables.
 Cables must have capacity for max
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Electric Shock Assistance Heat

 Don't touch the person.  Burns can be severe.

 Keep others from being  Assume all metal around welding is hot.
harmed.  Don’t use hand pat to check.
 Switch off power.  Use indicator stick.
 Use non-conductive pole  Sparks ignite flammable material – remove.
to free the person.
 Hot metal spatter gives very serious burns.
 Check obvious injury.
 Don’t tuck trousers in boots.
 Move victim only when power
off and no neck or spine injuries.
 Don’t wear turn-ups.
 Ventilate and cool welder in confined space.

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Light Infra-Red
 Different hazards according to type.
 Years of exposing eyes to IR causes gradual
 Type depends on wavelength. but irreversible opacity of the lens.
 Welding creates all three types.  IR emitted by welding arc causes damage only
short distance from the arc.
 Burning sensation in the skin surrounding eyes
Type Wavelength, nm exposed to arc heat. Natural reaction to move
or cover up.
Infra-red (heat) >700
 Rest of skin absorbs heat so cools the welder
– Do not remove clothing to cool.
Visible light 400-700

Ultra-violet radiation <400

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Visible Ultra-Violet Effect on Eye

 Intense visible light from arc can dazzle and Cornea, conjunctiva inflammation – Arc eye.
damage network of nerves on the retina.  Arc eye caused by UV damaging layer of cells
 Effects depend on the duration and intensity of in cornea.
exposure.  Damaged cells die and fall off cornea exposing
 Natural reflex to close eyes. highly sensitive nerves.
 Normally this dazzling does not have long-  Rubbing of eyelid causes intense pain, usually
term effect. described as sand in the eye.
 Pain becomes even more acute if eye is
exposed to bright light after damage.
 Arc eye develops some hours after exposure.

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Ultra-Violet Effect on Skin Fume

 UV from arc processes does not produce  Fume is from vaporisation, condensation and
attractive browning effect of suntan. oxidation of substances by arc.
 Gives acute reddening and irritation caused by  Particles very small remain in air for long time
changes in minute surface blood vessels. so may be breathed.
 Skin can be severely burned and blister.  Small particles are respirable penetrate the
 Reddened skin may die and flake off later. innermost regions of the lung where they have
 Intense, prolonged or frequent exposure, can the most potential to do harm.
give skin cancer.  Welding fume may be hazardous to health
must be controlled to regulation limits.

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Is Fume Hazardous? Is Fume Hazardous?

 Degree of risk depends on:  Fe3O4, CaCO3, TiO2 have WEL of 4 or 5mg/m3.
 Composition.  Similar to any dust – no specific health issue
 Concentration. but needs control for proper lung function.
Length of time of exposure.

 Mn, Cr3+, soluble Ba set at 0.5mg/m3.
 Need to know parent plate, any coating, filler  Cu is 0.2mg/m3.
and composition of fume generated.
 Cr6+, NiO potential carcinogens so:
 Different fume components vary in toxicity.
 Soluble Ni WEL of 0.5mg/m3.
 Limits given in guidance note EH40 Workplace  Cr6+ only 0.05mg/m3.
Exposure Limits available from the Health and  Exposure over time-weighted average 8hours.
Safety Executive (HSE).

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Gases Why Are Gases a Problem?

Toxic gases can appear in welding and cutting:  Ar, He, CO2 all asphyxiants – can’t see or smell
 Fuel gases when burnt form CO2 and CO. them in confined space.
 Shielding gases Ar, He, CO2.  Breathing <18% O2 can pass out in seconds.
 CO2 and CO from welding flux or slag.  CO is toxic, WEL 30ppm – can be formed in
 NO, NO2, O3 from heat or UV on atmosphere OFW, MMA, MIG, SAW.
surrounding the welding arc.  NO and NO2 ‘NOx’ formed by plasma cutting.
 Gases from the degradation of solvent  O3, WEL 0.2ppm, formed in TIG and MIG,
vapours or surface contaminants on the metal. especially on Al, at a distance from arc.

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Local Fume and Gas Extraction Portable Fume Extraction Equipment

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Noise Gas Handling and Storage

 Welding not excessively noisy but:  Gas cylinders can be pressurised to 300bar.
 Air-arc gouging.  Sudden release creates 100kg missile:
 Grinding.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejEJGNLTo84
 Metalworking.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHDAbM09Y1o
Can all give excessive noise levels  Must keep in secure cradle or trolley.
>85dB hearing protection MUST be worn  Should not be lifted by single person.
80-85dB protection must be available and given  Fit correct pressure regulator.
if operator requests it.  Check for leaks in hoses and equipment.

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Working at Height Working in Confined Space

All standard precautions: All standard precautions:

 Correctly erected scaffolding  Permit to work.
 Ladders tied in  Risk assessment.
 Handrails, safety cages on any lifts  Emergency evacuation procedure.
 Running boards and kickboards fitted and tied Additional risks when welding or cutting:
Risk assessment for welding:  Gas accumulation – asphyxiation, explosion.
 Can you lift gas cylinders?  Toxic gas, eg CO, if poorly set-up.
 Is welder protected from fall if electric  Use externally-fed helmets.
shocked?  Operate buddy scheme.
 Are others protected from falling hot metal?

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Mechanical Hazards Mechanical Hazards

 Large heavy metal pieces need manipulation. Vibration white finger

 Thin metal has sharp edges. from:
 Welding cables can be trip hazard.  Grinders.
 Spark and spatter ejection risk to others.  Pneumatic burr
 Mechanised welding needs guards.
 Chipping hammers.
 Vibration White Finger can result from 30min
of chipping hammer per day.  Needle guns.

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 Highest temperature.
 Highest heat energy in inner flame.
 Lowest ratio of O2.
 Ideal for welding higher MPt metals, eg steel.
Oxy-Fuel Gas Welding  Good for cutting.

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Propane MAPP

 Highest heat energy in outer flame.  Methylacetylene and propadiene.

 Ideal for preheating.  Can be readily compressed.
 Can preheat steel prior to oxygen injection so  Useful for underwater work.
can be used for cutting.  Cutting and welding possible.

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Flame Type Neutral Flame

 Inner cone rounded and distinct – white –

 Neutral – equal C2H2 and O2. C2H2 and O2 burn to CO and H2.
 Surrounded by colourless tongue where CO
and H2 will reduce any metal oxides.
 Oxidising – excess O2.  Outer zone – slightly blue – CO and H2 burn
with O2 from air to give CO2 and H2O.
 Fizzling sound.
 Reducing – excess C2H2.  Used for welding ferritic steel, stainless steel,
copper alloys, brazing, braze welding.

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Oxidising Flame Reducing Flame

 Very small pointed inner cone.  Long white inner cone.

 Bright blue, almost violet, outer zone.  Excess C2H2 burns at edge of outer zone with
 Excess O2 means oxide will form. O2 from air, ragged edge.
 Used for welding zinc to avoid vapourisation.  Luminous, slightly yellow.
 No sound.
 Carburising so used for hardfacing.
 Used for Al alloys to avoid oxide build up.

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Gas Welding Equipment Gas Welding Equipment

*  Oxygen supply – white top to cylinder.

 Acetylene supply – maroon top to cylinder.
 Regulators, specific for gas, to reduce
 Flashback arrestors.
 Hoses colour coded for gas.
 Non-return valves.
 Blowpipe.
 Nozzles to suit application.

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Safety Checks Before Welding Gas Welding

 Flashback arrestors and non-return valves. Mode of operation

 Hoses, blue for oxygen and red for acetylene,  Fuel gas and oxygen mixed in body of
have no sign of wear. blowpipe then fed through nozzle and burnt.
 Regulators are correct type for the gas.  Welder manipulates blowpipe to melt edges of
workpiece and so form weld pool.
 Cylinder key in each cylinder.
 Filler metal (rod) is added as required.
 All connections are tight, no leaks.
 Weld pool protected from atmospheric
 No oil or grease near any part of oxygen line contamination by the burnt gas products and
or cylinder. can be made mildly oxidising or reducing.
 No copper containing material in direct contact
with acetylene.

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Gas Welding Parameters

 Nozzle size.
 Gas pressure.
 Gas flow rate.
 Tip to work distance.
 Travel speed.
 Leftward or rightward technique.

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Conductors and Non-Conductors

 Metals.
 Graphite.
 Salt solutions.
Electricity as Applicable to Welding  Plasma (ionised gas).
TWI Training & Examination Services  Most non-metallic materials, eg rubber, O2
 Most organic material, eg wood, cotton.
 Most minerals, eg limestone, clay, rocks.

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How a Conductor Works Magnetism and Electricity

 Electrons on outside of atom loosely bound.  Magnetism is naturally occurring, earth has a
 Can be stripped from atom by electrical magnetic field.
potential (+/- voltage).  Concept of North and South poles for earth
 Electrons are negatively charged so flow and for magnets.
towards positive.  Magnets apply force on charged particles.
 Rest of atom positively charged, called ion,  North is +ve – will attract electrons
flows toward negative.  South is –ve – will attract positive ions
 Metals have loose electrons helping to bind  Loosely bound electrons in metal move in a
atoms together, even without electricity, so magnetic field.
very good conductors when potential applied.

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Dynamo Principle Dynamos

 Move metal wire through magnetic field

and electrons move along it to try to stay
close to positive North pole.
 Use many wires and keep moving, many
electrons flow along wires.
 Collect electrons from wires – flow of
 Can have annular magnets and spin wire
bundle in centre or make wire bundle
annular and spin magnet in centre – Principle of bicycle Gramme Dynamo 1870
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Electrical Terms Power

Potential or voltage. Available power depends on both i and V:

 Creates drive - size of difference between +  240V indicator lamp on equipment – dim.
and -  12V battery lamp – very bright.
 Termed V, measured in volts. Product of i and V is power consumption, W,
Electromotive force, EMF. measured in watts:
 Drive created by electrical potential. W=ixV
 Termed ε, measured in volts. Available power measured in same way, eg 240V
Current. mains on 13A fused circuit has:
 Flow of electrons and ions. W = 13 x 240 = 3120 = 3.12kW.
 Termed i, measured in amperes (Amps).

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Resistance Heating Effect

 House Cu wire – 3kW no noticeable effect.  Difficulty of flow in Ni-Cr wire gives energy
 Electric fire wires glow red and give out heat. loss as heat.
 Cu low resistance, passes current very easily.  Happens in all conductors, even Cu house
 Ni-Cr high resistance, current flow difficult. cables can heat up.
 Resistance, R, measured in Ohms, Ω.  Heating effect proportional to resistance of
wire and square of current carried:
 Ohms Law:
i2R Effect

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Direct and Alternating Current Frequency

 Dynamo, and modern generator, gives current  Number of cycles per second can vary.
all in same direction – direct current (DC).  One cps is called 1 Hertz, 1HZ.
 National Grid supplies current that changes  European grid supply is 50 cps, 50Hz.
direction – alternating current (AC).  US grid supply is 60Hz.

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Transformation The Transformer
 Voltage in 2nd coil
 To minimise loss, grids have very high voltage depends on turns.
– 400,000V.
V1/V2 = n1/n2
 Reduce for domestic and industrial use.
 High V, more turns.
 Link between electricity and magnetism used.
 Low V , few turns.
 Current at high voltage passed through coil
with iron core – gives magnetic flux in iron.  Energy preserved
 Core is loop and passes through second coil of
wire – induces current in this coil.  High V, low i.
 Low V, high i.

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Welding Current and Voltage Rectification

 Welding needs high current but low Half-wave:
voltage.  Pass AC through diode, only allows one way
 At 80V (typical starting voltage for arc) flow:
mains 15A ring main supply transforms
to 45A.
 Even cooker supply gives only 90A. Can
be used for small hobby jobs as arc runs
at around 30V after start.
 Industrial jobs need industrial supply.
 415V, 125A transforms to 650A at 80V or
1700A at 30V.

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Full-Wave Rectification Series and Parallel

Use four diode bridge. Turns negative half-cycle  Daisy chain resistors in series:
to positive.
R = R1 + R2 + R3 + ...

 Link resistors piggy back in parallel:

1/R = 1/R1 + 1/R2 + 1/R3 + ...

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Inductance Current Rise and Inductance
 Current in wire generates magnetic field.
 Magnetic flux proportional to current.
No inductance
 So, if current changes, magnetic field
intensity also varies.
Current With inductance
 Faraday Law: changing field of magnetic
flux induces an EMF in wire that acts to
oppose the increase in current.
 Phenomenon is known as inductance.
 Useful in welding. Rapid changes in
current can give instability. Inductance Time
slows change.

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Inductors Inverters

 Purpose-built inductors wound as coils to  Inverter electronically switches DC to give

maximise magnetic effect. negative cycle.
 An inductor may have ferromagnetic core to  Speed of switching can be varied and can be
amplify effect. very high – 100kHz.
 Some cores may move to vary inductance.  HF transformer can be very much smaller.
 Symbols for inductors.  Transformer in inverter power source is very
small yet handles high current without

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Size Comparison

Conventional MMA Inverter MMA

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 Use dynamo principle rotating wires through

magnetic fields to produce DC electricity.
 Petrol or diesel driven engines, generators
require no electricity so very portable.
Power Sources  Used for site work.
 Not popular for shop work as noisy.
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Transformers Transformers

 In simplest form, step-down transformer to Tapped transformer Moving core

take 415V mains to 80-100V. transformer
 Output current adjusted by adding inductance
and capacitance (reactance).
 This is called choking and the adjustment
control often called the choke.
 Can tap at different points of output coil of
transformer or use moving iron core.

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Rectifier Inverters

HF AC transformation
gives very small size
Transformer coupled with rectifier gives DC

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Current/Voltage Relationship Drooping Characteristic
O.C.V. Striking voltage
 415V drawing 20A has power input 8.3kW. 90 (typical) for arc
 Allow for loss, say 7.5kW. 80
 Theoretically: 70
 75A at 100V.

 375 A at 20V.
 Straight line graph.
 Not so in practice. 40
Normal Operating
30 Voltage Range



20 40 60 80 100 120 130 140 160 180 200

i Amperage

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Drooping Characteristic Flat Characteristic

 Known as constant current (CC).

Small change in voltage = large change in amperage
 No current – open circuit voltage (OCV).
 For MMA OCV helps strike arc.
 Used on steep slope where large change to
voltage makes small change to current.
 Manual welding difficult to hold electrode at
exactly same height, so voltage varies.
 Very little effect on current so penetration
stays the same.
 Ideal for MMA and TIG.

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Flat Characteristic Self-Adjusting Arc

 Known as constant voltage (CV) or constant

potential (CP).
 Very shallow, almost straight line graph.
 Large effect on current changes burn off rate
of a wire electrode.
 Used for MIG/MAG and SAW.
 Self-adjusting arc.

Feed speed = burn V up, i down, burn Wire advances, i

off off down. Feed increases until: Feed
speed > burn off speed = burn off

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Self-Adjusting Arc Multi-Process Power Sources

 Solid state control.

 Inverter small size.
 Circuitry to adjust between CC and CV.
 Machines do all:
 MMA.
 TIG.
 MIG.
 Pulsed MIG.
 Carbon arc gouging.
Feed speed = burn V down, i up, burn Wire retracts, i
off off up. Feed speed decreases until: Feed
< burn off speed = burn off

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Pulsed Power Pulsing by Wave Chopping

 Switching off or reversing polarity in

programmed manner. i
 Useful for heat input and weld pool control.
 Makes positional welding easier, eg MIG with
spray transfer during peak current pulse. t
High current
 Balancing melting and cleaning when AC TIG
welding aluminium alloys.

Low current t

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Synergic Control MIG One-Knob Control

 Can adjust pulse parameters – height,

duration, frequency – to melt and detach one
drop per pulse.
 Different for each filler and each wire size.
 Can programme machine with most common
 Select via buttons or knob.
 One-knob control.
 Select material/wire/gas combination on knob in
wire feeder compartment.
 Adjust voltage on front panel for thickness.

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Slope Control TIG Duty Cycle

 Starts can have porosity and tungsten defects.  Heat generated by current through wires.
 Worse if started at full current.  May degenerate insulation, electrical safety.
 Start at very low current then build up.  Fire hazard.
 Slope-in or slope-up.  After use require a cooling period.
 Stops can have crater cracking.  Length of time in use in ten minute cycles with
 Step down to low current before switch off. the rest for cooling to remain within
 Slope-out, slope-down or crater-fill. temperature limit.
 Gas pre- and post-purge also help minimise Duty Cycle

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BS EN 60974 Label for Duty Cycle

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TIG Basics

TIG Welding

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Equipment for TIG Arc Starting

Scratch start:
control panel Transformer  Tungsten touched on workpiece.
/ Rectifier
 Short-circuit starts current.
Power return  Arc established as torch lifted.
cable Inverter
 Can leave tungsten inclusions.
source Lift arc:
 Electronic control very low short-circuit
assemblies Power
control panel current.
Tungsten  Builds to operational current as torch lifted.
electrodes Power cable
Flow-meter  Superimposition of HF high voltage spark.

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Polarity Tungsten Types

DCEN: Pure W – green band:

 Most used.  Cheap, but short life. Poor arc start.
 Tungsten cooled by electron emission. W +ThO2 – yellow (1%), red (2%):
 Workpiece receives more heat.  High current carrying but slightly radioactive.
DCEP: W + CeO2 – grey (Europe), orange (US):
 Will clean oxide from Al and Mg.  Good for low current DC work.
 Heat tends to melt tungsten. W + La2O3 – black:
 Can be done with water cooled torch.  Increasing use to replace thoriated.
AC: W + ZrO2 – white (Europe), brown (US):
 Usual way to weld Al and Mg to get cleaning.  Used for AC.

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GTAW Torch GTAW Torch

Torch types: Tungsten

Torch Electrode Collet
cap/tungsten collet holder


 Gas cooled: cheap, simple, large size, short life for Ceramic
component parts. nozzle
 Water cooled: recommended over 150A, expensive, On/off
complex, small size, longer life of parts. switch

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Correct Gas Flow Pre- and Post-Flow

 Too low and air can

reach pool from  Gas flow is started
sides. before and continues
 Too high and eddies after, welding
draw in air. current.

 Better protection
against oxidation.

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Electrode Tip for DCEN Electrode Tip for AC

electrode diameter

2-2.5 times



Bead width
increase Electrode tip ground
Electrode tip for low Electrode tip for high Electrode tip ground
current welding current welding and then conditioned

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Grinding Tungstens Potential Defects

 Reserve grinder for tungsten only. Tungsten inclusions:

 Use diamond or boron nitride wheels.  Thermal shock Tungsten splinters can.
 Grind longitudinally and concentrically.  Touch start fuses spots to workpiece.
 Never use belt sander or sides of wheels.  Overheating can project tungsten fragments
into the weld pool.
 Do not breath grinding dust.
 Very visible on radiograph but not critical
 Use exhaust system for thoriated tungsten. defect.
 Tungsten splinters. Wear gloves and glasses. Solidification cracking:
 Use grinding wand. Electrodes get hot.  Some compositions inherently crack sensitive.
 Impurities often make eutectics.
 Fillers designed with elements to react with
impurities, eg Mn used to give high MPt MnS.
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Potential Defects Advantages of TIG

Oxide inclusions:  No spatter, high cleanliness.

 Oxides contribute to lack of fusion.  Good welder easily produces quality welds.
 No fluxing to absorb oxides.  Good for penetration beads in all positions.
 Need to keep good gas cover to avoid  Wide range metals, including dissimilar.
oxidation of reactive metals.  Good protection for reactive.
Diffraction mottling:  Very good for joining thin materials.
 Not real defect.  Very low levels of diffusible hydrogen.
 Black and white parallel lines on radiograph.
 Can obscure real lack of fusion defect.

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Disadvantages of TIG

 Low deposition rates.

 Higher dexterity and co-ordination.
 Less economical for thicker sections.
 Not good in draughty conditions.
 Low tolerance of contaminants.
 Tungsten inclusions can occur.

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MIG/MAG Welding

 Also known as gas metal arc welding.

 Uses continuous wire electrode.
 Weld pool protected by shielding gas.
 Classified as semi-automatic – may be fully
MIG/MAG FCAW Welding automated.
 Wire can be bare or coated solid wire, flux or
metal cored hollow wire.
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MIG/MAG - Principle of Operation Process Characteristics

 DCEP from CV power source.

 Wire 0.6-1.6mm diameter. Gas shielded.
 Wire fed through conduit. Melt rate maintains
constant arc length/arc voltage.
 WFS directly related to burn-off rate.
 Burn-off rate directly related to current.
 Semi-automatic – set controls arc length.
 Can be mechanised and automated.

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MIG/MAG Equipment Wire Feeding

External wire
/ Rectifier
feed unit

Internal wire Power cable

feed system & hose

Power control
panel Liner for wire

15kg wire spool

Welding gun
Separate feeder Feeder in set
Power return

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Feeder Drive Rolls Types of Wire Drive System

Internal wire drive system Plain top roller

Two roll Four roll Push-pull

Half grooved
bottom roller Wire guide

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Roll Grooves Liners for MIG/MAG

 Often have plain top roll.

 Bottom and sometimes top, roll grooved.
 V shape for steel.
 U shape for softer wire, eg Al.
 Knurled for positive feed.
 Care needed on tightness of rolls.
 Too light – rolls skid, wire stalls
 Too tight – rolls deform wire, wire can jam
 If wire stops arc burns back to contact tube. Close wound Teflon
stainless liner
steel wire

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Welding Gun Types Torch Components

Welding gun body
Welding gun assembly
Swan neck (less nozzle) On/Off switch

protection Hose

Push-pull Spot welding

Nozzles or
shrouds spacer

Gas diffuser Contact tips

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Push-Pull Torch Assembly Power Source Characteristic

Contact Gas diffuser Small change in voltage = large change in amperage


Union nut

WFS remote
Trigger potentiometer

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Self-Adjusting Arc Self-Adjusting Arc

Feed speed = burn off V down, i up, burn off Wire retracts, i decreases
Feed speed = burn off V up, i down, burn off Wire advances, i
up. Feed speed < until: Feed speed = burn
down. Feed speed > increases until: Feed
burn off off
burn off speed = burn off

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Welding Parameters Wire Feed Speed/Current Relationship

Wire feed speed:


 Increasing wfs automatically gives more current.
Welding Current, A

 In spray, controls arc length and bead width. 300

Current: 250
 Not separately set. Mainly affects penetration. 200 1.2
Inductance: 150

 In dip, controls rise in current. Lowers spatter. 100

Gives hotter or colder welding. 50

More info on several websites, eg. 0

2.5 5 7.5 10
 www.millerwelds.com/resources/articles/MIG-GMAW-welding- Wire Feed Speed, m/min

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Process Variables Process Variables

Arc voltage Electrode


Increasing Voltage
Reduced penetration, increased width
Excessive voltage can cause porosity,
spatter and undercut
Penetration Deep Moderate Shallow
Electrode Excess weld metal Max Moderate Min
extension Undercut Severe Moderate Minimum

Travel speed
Increasing travel speed
Reduced penetration and width,
Increased extension

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Shielding Gas Transition Current Dip to Spray

Material Shielding Wire Dia, Transition
Argon: Gas mm Current, A
 OK for all metals weldable by MIG. 0.8 155-165
Ar + 0.9 175-185
 Supports spray transfer, not good for dip. 10%CO2 1.2 215-225
 Low penetration. C-Steel 1.6 280-290
0.9 130-140
Carbon dioxide:
Ar +2%O2 1.2 205-215
 Use on ferritic steel. 1.6 265-275
 Supports dip and globular, not spray. 0.8 120-130
Stainless 0.9 140-150
Ar based mixtures: Ar +2%O2
steel 1.2 185-195
 Add He, O2, CO2 to increase penetration. 1.6 250-260

 >20Ar + He, >80Ar + O2, CO2 can spray and


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MIG and MAG Shielding Gases Metal Transfer Modes

Metal inert gas (MIG): Depending on shielding gas and voltage, metal
 Usually Ar shielding. crosses from wire to work in:
 Can be Ar + He mixture – gives hotter action.  Spray mode – wire tapers to a point and very
 Used for non-ferrous alloys, eg Al, Ni. fine droplets stream across from the tip.
Metal active gas (MAG):  Globular mode – large droplets form and drop
under action of gravity and arc force.
 Has oxidising gas shield.
 Short-circuiting (dip) mode – wire touches
 Can be 100% CO2 for ferritic steels. pool surface before arc re-ignition.
 Often Ar + 12-20% CO2 for both dip and  Pulsed mode – current and voltage cycled
spray. between no transfer and spray mode.
 Ar + O2 for stainless steel.

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Use of Transfer Modes Dip Transfer

 Spray transfer: V > 27; i > 220:

 Thicker material, flat welding, high deposition
 Globular transfer: between dip and spray.
 Mechanised MAG process using CO2
 Dip transfer: V < 22; i < 200.
 Droplet stays attached and touches pool causing short-
 Thin material positional welding circuit.
 Pulse transfer: spray plus no transfer cycle.  Current rises very quickly giving energy to ‘pinch-off’
 Frequency range 50-300 pulses/second droplet violently .
 Positional welding and root runs  Akin to ‘blowing a fuse’ – causes spatter .
 Droplet detaches, arc re-establishes and current falls.
 Cycle occurs up to 200 times per second.

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Dip Transfer Attributes Globular Transfer

Advantages:  Transfer by gravity or

 Low energy allows welding in all positions. short circuit.
 Good for root runs in single-sided welds.  Requires CO2 shielding
 Good for welding thin material.
 Drops larger than
Disadvantages: electrode hence severe
 Prone to lack of fusion. spatter.
 May not be allowed for high-integrity applications.
 Can use low voltage and
 Tends to give spatter.
bury arc to reduce spatter.
 High current and voltage,
so high distortion.

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Spray Transfer Pulsed Transfer

 Tapered tip as anode Simplest form uses mains frequency and chops to
climbs wire. control current.
 Small droplets with free
flight from pinch effect.
 Requires Ar-rich gas. i

 High current and

voltage, high distortion. t

 Large pool, not

positional. i

 Used for thick material

and flat/horizontal t


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Electronic Generation Pulsed Transfer Attributes

 With synthesised pulse height, duration and Advantages:

frequency can be controled.  Good fusion.
 Droplets spray during peak current across the  Small weld pool allows all-position welding.
 No transfer during background – current too Disadvantages:
low for dip.
 More complex and expensive power source.
 Can select conditions to give single drop
transfer each pulse – synergic MIG.  Difficult to set parameters.
 But synergic easy to set, manufacturer
provides programmes to suit wire type,
diameter and type of gas.

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Potential Defects MIG/MAG Attributes

 Most defects caused by lack of welder skill, or Advantages: Disadvantages:

incorrect settings of equipment.  High productivity.  Lack of fusion (dip).
 Worn contact tip causes poor power pick up  Easily automated.  Small range of
and this causes wire to stub into work.  All positional (dip consumables.
 Silica inclusions can build up with poor interun and pulse).  Protection on site.
cleaning.  Material thickness  Complex equipment
 Lack of fusion (primarily with dip transfer). range.  Not so portable.
 Porosity (from loss of gas shield on site etc)  Continuous
 Cracking, centerline pipes, crater pipes on electrode.
deep narrow welds.

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Gas Shielded Principle of Operation

Flux Core Arc Welding

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Shielded Principle of Operation Benefit of Flux

 Flux assists in producing gas cover, more

tolerant to draughts than solid wire.
 Flux creates slag that protects hot metal.
 Slag holds bead when positional welding.
 Flux alloying can improve weld metal
 Reduced cross-section carrying current gives
increased burn-off at any current.

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FCAW - Differences from MIG/MAG Self-Shielded Welding Gun

 Usually operate DCEP

but some self-shielded Close wound stainless steel
24V insulated
spring wire liner (inside switch lead
wires run DCEN. welding gun cable)
 Some hardfacing wires Conductor
are larger diameter – tube

need big power

 Don't work in dip. Trigger gun cable

 Need knurled feed

Thread protector
rolls. Hand shield

 Self-shielded wires use Contact tip

a different torch.
Courtesy of Lincoln

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Travel Angle Backhand (Drag) Technique

Advantages: Disadvantages
 Preferred for flat or  Produces higher weld
horizontal with profile.
FCAW.  Difficult to follow
 Slower travel. weld joint.
 Deeper penetration.  Can lead to burn-
75 90 75 through on thin
° ° °

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Forehand (Push) Technique FCAW Advantages

Advantages: Disadvantages:  Less sensitive to lack of fusion.

 Preferred method for  Produces low weld  Smaller included angle compared to MMA.
vertical up or profile, with coarser  High productivity.
overhead with ripples.  All positional.
FCAW.  Fast travel gives low  Smooth bead surface, less danger of undercut.
 Arc gives preheat penetration.
effect.  Basic types produce excellent toughness.
 Amount of spatter
 Easy to follow weld can increase.  Good control of weld pool in positional welding
joint and control especially with rutile wires.
penetration.  Ease of varying alloying constituents gives
wide range of consumables.
 Some can run without shielding gas.

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Deposition Rate for C-Steel FCAW Disadvantages

 Limited to steels and Ni-base alloys.

 Slag covering must be removed.
 FCAW wire is more expensive per kg than solid
wires (except some high alloy steels) but note
may be more cost effective.
 Gas shielded wires may be affected by winds
and draughts like MIG.
 More fume than MIG/MAG.

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Early History

 Bernados and Olszewaski often cited as

inventors from 1885 British patent but this
was carbon arc welding with two electrodes.
 Coffin in 1890 gained US patent for replacing
one carbon with metal rod. First instance of
Manual Metal Arc (MMA) Welding metal transfer through an arc.
 Slavianoff also suggested using metal rods.
TWI Training & Examination Services
 In 1908 Kjellberg patented coated electrode -
dipped in CaCO3, clay and silicate.
 In 1909 Strohmenger patented asbestos
wound rods, stable on AC.

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Developments MMA - Principle of Operation

Electrode angle 75‐
 In WW1 USA short of asbestos rods. Smith 80o to the horizontal
tried making the first cellulosic rod. Consumable 
 Extruded electrodes appeared in the 1920s. Filler metal  electrode
AO Smith selling heavy coated rods in 1926. Flux coating
 Rutile tried in 1930s, for flat and horizontal Direction of electrode 
welding. Solidified  Arc Gaseous 
 Roberts made rutile Vodex (Vertical, slag shield
Molten weld 
Overhead, Downhand for MurEX) in 1936. pool
 MMA dominated welding 1940s to 1980s. Parent 
 Also known as shielded metal arc welding Weld metal

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MMA Welding MMA Basic Equipment

Main features:
 Shielding provided by decomposition of
flux. Control panel Power source
(amps, volts)
 Consumable electrode.
Electrode Holding oven
 Manual process. oven
Welder controls: Electrodes Inverter power
 Arc length.
Return lead
 Angle of electrode. Electrode holder
 Speed of travel. Welding visor
filter glass Power cables
 Current setting.

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Constant Current Power Source MMA Electrode Holder
O.C.V. Striking
90 voltage (typical)
for arc initiation




Normal Operating
30 Voltage Range



20 40 60 80 100 120 130 140 160 180 200 Collet or twist type Tongs type with
Amperage spring-loaded jaws

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Process Characteristics Cellulosic Electrodes

 Straight lengths of coated electrode 250-  Use industrially extracted cellulose powder, or
450mm long and 1.6-6.0mm diameter. wood flour in the formula.
 DCEP, DCEN and AC all possible.  Characteristic smell when welding.
 Coatings grouped:  Slag remains thin and friable, although the high
arc force can create undercut and/or excessive
 Cellulosic.
ripple which may anchor the slag, thus requiring
 Iron oxide.
grinder inter-run cleaning.
 Rutile.
 Basic.  Strong arc action and deep penetration.
 With or without iron powder.  AWS E6010 types DC; E6011 run on AC.
 Gas shield principally hydrogen.
 Only used on C- and C-Mn steels.
 High arc force allows V-D stovepiping.

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Rutile Electrodes Rutile High Recovery Electrodes

 High amount of TiO2, (rutile sand or ilmenite).  High amount Fe powder added.
 Coatings often coloured.  More weld metal laid at the same current.
 AWS type E6012 are DC; E6013 run on AC.  Coating much thicker, forms deep cup.
 Many designed for flat position.  End of coating can rest on workpiece.
 Fluid slag, smooth bead, easy slag removal.  Slag easy release, sometimes self-releasing.
 Need some moisture to give gas shield.  Only for flat position.
 Not low hydrogen.  These AWS E7024 have recovery between
 Available for ferritic and austenitic steels. 150-180%.
 Fair mechanical properties.  Recovery = Weld metal wt x100/core wire wt.

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Basic Electrodes Other MMA Coatings

 CaCO3 and CaF2 main ingredients. AWS E7028:

 AWS E7015 first modern basic rods. Ran DC.  Basic with high levels of Fe powder added.
 Superseded by E7016 or E7018 – AC and DC.  Flat and horizontal only.
 E7018 has Fe powder to help stabilise arc.  Good mechanical properties.
 E7016 good rooting and all-positional.
AWS E6020:
 Both can give good mechanical properties.
 High levels of iron oxide.
 Often hybrid; small diameter no Fe powder,
larger dia. increasing amounts.  Rare now, used for painted steel.
 Used for ferritic, stainless steels, Ni and Cu.  High arc force, relatively poor properties.
Asbestos wound:
 No longer permitted.

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Setting Up for MMA Welding Process Characteristics

 Slag will help clean but rust and scale must be  Arc melts both electrode and parent plate.
removed. For stainless and Ni wire brush.  Flux forms gas to protect and form a plasma
 Edge preparation usually needed: and slag to protect hot metal.
 60° for ferritic – deep penetration rods available  Short runs as finite length electrode.
70-80° for stainless and Cu – less forceful rods

 Must de-slag before next run.
 Up to 90° for Ni alloys – sluggish, viscous pool
 Root gap 1-3mm for most applications
 Good earth connection. Weld towards it on DC
to minimise arc blow (or use AC).

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MMA Welding Variables MMA Welding Parameters

Open circuit voltage (OCV) Current

 Value of potential difference delivered by set with  Range set by electrode, diameter, material
no load. Must be enough for specific electrode. type and thickness.
 Electrodes labelled with min OCV, usually. ~80V.  Approximately 35A per mm diameter.
Voltage  Too low – poor start, lack of fusion, slag
 Measure arc voltage close to arc. inclusions, humped bead shape.
 Variable with change in arc length.  Too high – spatter, excess penetration,
 Too low, electrode ‘stubs’ into weld pool. undercut, burn-through.
 Too high, spatter, porosity, excess penetration, Polarity
undercut, burn-through.  Can be DCEP, DCEN, AC.
 Determined by operation and electrode type.
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MMA Welding Parameters MMA – Parameter Setting

Travel speed: left to right

 Controlled by welder.  Good conditions.
 Often measured as run-out length as time to  Current too low.
burn single rod fairly standard at constant  Current too high.
current.  Arc length too short.
 Too low – wide bead, excess penetration,  Arc length too long.
 Travel too slow.
 Too high – narrow bead, lack of penetration,
lack of fusion, difficult slag removal.  Travel too fast.

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Typical Current Ranges Heat Input

Type EN Dia. Current Range, A
Specification mm
E38 0 C 11
90 – 120
120 – 160
 Total energy put in weld bead in unit time.
mild steel
5.0 135 – 200
40 – 70
75 – 100
 Calculated as: HI (kJ/mm) = 60iVk/1000S.
Rutile, mild
steel all- E 35 2 R12
95 – 125
135 – 180
155 – 230
185 – 300
 i = current in amps.
2.5 85 – 125
3.2 130 – 170  V = voltage in volts.
steel high
E42 0 RR73 4.0 180 – 230
5.0 250 – 340  S = travel speed in mm/min.
6.0 300 – 430
2.0 50 – 75  k = thermal efficiency factor.
E69 4 2.5 70 – 110
Basic, low
Mn2NiCrMo B42 3.2
H5 4.0
100 – 150
135 – 210
 k = 0.8 for MMA, MIG/MAG and FCAW.
180 – 260
35 – 45
 k = 0.6 for TIG and plasma.
35 – 65
50 – 90  k = 1.0 for SAW.
E19 9 LR12
stainless 3.2 70 – 130
4.0 90 – 180
5.0 140 – 250
2.5 60 – 90
Basic, Cu
3.2 90 – 125
4.0 125 – 170

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Stringer or Weave Multipass or Block Welding

Weave:  In thick material, typical bead won’t fill

 Lateral swings as well as moving along joint. groove.
 Move slowly allowing metal to build but limited
 Useful to assist side wall fusion.
in flat position.
 Run-out is shorter so heat input is higher.  Block welding very high HI so poor properties.
 Slows cooling rate, poorer toughness.  Use multiple layers – multipass welding.
Stringer Bead:  Need good cleaning of slag between runs.
 Run weld bead in straight line along joint.  Excellent properties, each bead heat treats
 Lower heat input per unit length. one below. Can give with high toughness.
 Can be too low – martensite in steel so poor

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Skip or Back-Step Welding Preheat

 Technique to minimise distortion.  Ferritic steels must not have hydrogen

 30-50mm weld made then move ~150mm diffusing and inducing cracking.
along seam and lay another short run.  Can apply preheat to slow rate of cooling
 Continue to end of seam. giving hydrogen time to be released as
 Return to start and make 30-50mm welds in process more susceptible to MICC.
gaps.  Preheat may be with gas torch and large
 Repeat until seam completely welded. nozzle or electrically heated blankets.
 Large number of starts and stops may have  Preheat specified as a minimum. Parent plate
defects like porosity or cracking. near weld must be heated. Check with probe
or temperature sensitive crayons.

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Interpass Temperature Operating Factor for MMA

 In multipass welding must avoid heat build up.  Welder needs time to change rods.
Can lower strength and toughness.  Also has to de-slag weld bead and grind any
 Maximum interpass may be specified. imperfections.
 Note preheat still applicable so may have  May be required to observe interpass
minimum interpass temperature (equivalent to temperatures.
original preheat) and maximum.  Inspection will be required.
 On long runs welder has to reposition.
 All reduce time weld metal is deposited.
 Arc time % to total time is operating factor for
MMA this is rarely above 30%.

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Typical Welding Defects Advantages and Disadvantages

Most caused by: Advantages: Disadvantages:

 Lack of welder skill.  Field or shop use.  High welder skill.
 Incorrect settings of equipment.  Range of  High levels of fume.
 Incorrect use or treatment of electrodes. consumables.  Hydrogen control
Typical Defects:  All positions. (flux).
 Slag inclusions.  Portable.  Stop/start problems.
 Arc strikes.  Simple equipment.  Low productivity.
 Porosity.
 Undercut.
 Shape defects. (overlap, excessive root
penetration, etc.)

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Welding Consumables

Welding consumables are any products that are

used up in the production of a weld.
Welding consumables may be:
 Covered electrodes, filler wires and electrode
Welding Consumables wires.
 Shielding or oxy-fuel gases.
TWI Training & Examination  Separately supplied fluxes.
Services  Fusible inserts.

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Welding Consumable Standards Welding Consumables


 BS EN 499: Steel (GTAW) Welding
electrodes.  BS 2901: Filler wires. fluxes
 AWS A5.1 non-alloyed  BS EN 440: Wire (SAW)
steel electrodes. electrodes.
 AWS A5.4 chromium  AWS A5.9: Filler wires. Cored wire
electrodes.  BS EN 439: Shielding
 AWS A5.5 alloyed steel gases.
electrodes. SAW
 BS 4165: Wire and SAW strips
solid wire
 BS EN 756: Wire
 BS EN 760: Fluxes. SAW Covered
 AWS A5.17: Wires and solid wire Courtesy of ESAB AB electrodes

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Welding Consumable Gases Welding Consumables

Welding gases:  Each consumable is critical in respect to:

 GMAW, FCAW, TIG, Oxy- Fuel.  Size.
 Supplied in cylinders or storage  Classification/supplier.
tanks for large quantities.
 Colour coded cylinders to  Condition.
minimise wrong use.  Treatments eg baking/drying.
 Subject to regulations
concerned handling, quantities  Handling and storage is critical for consumable
and positioning of storage areas. control.
 Moisture content is limited  Handling and storage of gases is critical for
to avoid cold cracking.
 Dew point (the temperature at
which the vapour begins to
condense) must be checked.

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Quality Assurance Welding Consumables

Welding consumables:
 Filler material must be stored in an area with
controlled temperature and humidity.
 Poor handling and incorrect stacking may
damage coatings, rendering the electrodes
 There should be an issue and return policy for MMA Covered Electrodes
welding consumables (system procedure).
 Control systems for electrode treatment must
be checked and calibrated; those operations
must be recorded.
 Filler material suppliers must be approved
before purchasing any material.

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MMA Welding Consumables MMA Welding Consumables

Welding consumables for MMA: Function of the electrode covering:

 Consist of a core wire typically between  To facilitate arc ignition and give arc stability.
350-450mm in length and from 2.5-6mm in diameter.  To generate gas for shielding the arc and molten
 The wire is covered with an extruded flux coating. metal from air contamination.
 The core wire is generally of a low quality rimming  To de-oxidise the weld metal and flux impurities into
steel. the slag.
 The weld quality is refined by the addition of alloying  To form a protective slag blanket over the solidifying
and refining agents in the flux coating. and cooling weld metal.
 The flux coating contains many elements and  To provide alloying elements to give the required weld
compounds that all have a variety of functions during metal properties.
welding.  To aid positional welding (slag design to have suitable
freezing temperature to support the molten weld
 To control hydrogen contents in the weld (basic type).

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MMA Welding Consumables MMA Welding Consumables

The three main electrode covering types used in Plastic foil sealed cardboard box
MMA welding.  Rutile electrodes.
 General purpose basic electrodes.
 Cellulosic - deep penetration/fusion.
 Rutile - general purpose.
Courtesy of Lincoln Electric
Courtesy of Lincoln Electric

 Basic - low hydrogen.

Tin can
 Cellulosic electrodes.

Vacuum sealed pack

 Extra low hydrogen electrodes.

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MMA Welding Consumables MMA Welding Consumables

 Cellulosic electrodes: Cellulosic electrodes

 Covering contains cellulose (organic material). Disadvantages:
 Produce a gas shield high in hydrogen raising the arc  Weld beads have high hydrogen.
 risk of cracking (need to keep joint hot during
 Deep penetration / fusion characteristics enables welding to allow H to escape).
welding at high speed without risk of lack of fusion.
 Generates high level of fumes and H2 cold cracking.  Not suitable for higher strength steels - cracking risk
 Forms a thin slag layer with coarse weld profile.
too high (may not be allowed for Grades stronger
than X70).
 Not require baking or drying (excessive heat will
damage electrode covering!).  Not suitable for very thick sections (may not be
 Mainly used for stove pipe welding. used on thicknesses > ~ 35mm).
 Hydrogen content is 80-90 ml/100 g of weld metal.  Not suitable when low temperature toughness is
required (impact toughness satisfactory down to
~ -20°C).

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MMA Welding Consumables MMA Welding Consumables

Cellulosic electrodes Rutile electrodes:

 Covering contains TiO2 slag former and arc stabiliser.
 Advantages:  Disadvantages:
 Easy to strike arc, less spatter, excellent for positional
 Deep  High in hydrogen. welding.
penetration/fusion.  High crack tendency.  Stable, easy-to-use arc can operate in both DC and AC.
 Suitable for welding  Rough weld  Slag easy to detach, smooth profile.
in all positions. appearance.  Reasonably good strength weld metal.
 Fast travel speeds.  High spatter  Used mainly on general purpose work.
 Large volumes of contents.  Low pressure pipework, support brackets.
shielding gas.  Low deposition rates.  Electrodes can be dried to lower H2 content but cannot
 Low control. be baked as it will destroy the coating.
 Hydrogen content is 25-30 ml/100g of weld metal.

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MMA Welding Consumables MMA Welding Consumables

Rutile electrodes
Rutile electrodes
Disadvantages:  Advantages:  Disadvantages:
 They cannot be made with a low hydrogen  Easy to use.  High in hydrogen.
content.  Low cost/control.  High crack tendency.
 Cannot be used on high strength steels or  Smooth weld  Low strength.
thick joints - cracking risk too high. profiles.  Low toughness
 They do not give good toughness at low  Slag easily values.
temperatures. detachable.
 These limitations mean that they are only  High deposition
suitable for general engineering - low possible with the
strength, thin steel. addition of iron

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MMA Welding Consumables MMA Welding Consumables

High recovery rutile electrodes High recovery rutile electrodes

Characteristics: Disadvantages:
 Coating is bulked out with iron powder.
 Same as standard rutile electrodes with
 Iron powder gives the electrode high recovery. respect to hydrogen control.
 Extra weld metal from the iron powder can mean  Large weld beads produced cannot be used for
that weld deposit from a single electrode can be as
all-positional welding.
high as 180% of the core wire weight.
 Give good productivity.  The very high recovery types usually limited to
PA and PB positions.
 Large weld beads with smooth profile can look
very similar to SAW welds.  More moderate recovery may allow PC use.

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MMA Welding Consumables MMA Welding Consumables

Basic covering: Basic electrodes

 Produce convex weld profile and difficult to detach slag.
 Very suitable for for high pressure work, thick section
steel and for high strength steels.  Careful control of baking and/or issuing of electrodes is
 Prior to use electrodes should be baked, typically 350°C essential to maintain low hydrogen status and avoid risk
for 2 hour plus to reduce moisture to very low levels of cracking.
and achieve low hydrogen potential status.
 Typical baking temperature 350°C for 1-2hours.
 Contain calcium fluoride and calcium carbonate
compounds.  Holding temperature 120-150°C.
 Cannot be re baked indefinitely!  Issue in heated quivers typically 70°C.
 Low hydrogen potential gives weld metal very good
 Welders need to take more care/require greater skill.
toughness and YS.
 Have the lowest level of hydrogen (less than 5ml/100g  Weld profile usually more convex.
of weld metal).  De-slagging requires more effort than for other types.

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Basic electrodes BS EN 499 MMA Covered Electrodes

Advantages Disadvantages
 High toughness  High cost. Compulsory
values.  High control.
 Low hydrogen  High welder skill
contents. required.
 Low crack tendency.  Convex weld
 Poor stop/start

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BS EN 499 MMA Covered Electrodes BS EN 499 MMA Covered Electrodes

E 50 3 2Ni B 7 2 H10  Electrodes classified as follows:

 E 35 - Minimum yield strength 350 N/mm2
Covered Electrode
Tensile strength 440-570 N/mm2
Yield Strength N/mm2
 E 38 - Minimum yield strength 380 N/mm2
Tensile strength 470-600 N/mm2
Chemical composition
 E 42 - Minimum yield strength 420 N/mm2
Flux Covering Tensile strength 500-640 N/mm2
Weld Metal Recovery  E 46 - Minimum yield strength 460 N/mm2
and Current Type
Tensile strength 530-680 N/mm2
Welding Position  E 50 - Minimum yield strength 500 N/mm2
Hydrogen Content Tensile strength 560-720 N/mm2

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BS EN 499 Electrode Designation AWS A5.1 Alloyed Electrodes

Recovery and type of Welding position E 60 1 3

current designation

Symbol Weld metal Type of Symbol Welding position

recovery (%) current
1 All positions Covered electrode
1 105 AC/DC
All positions except Tensile strength (p.s.i)
2 105 DC vertical down
Welding position
3 >105 125 AC/DC Flat butt/fillet,
4 >105 125 DC
horizontal fillet Flux covering
5 >125 160 AC/DC 4 Flat butt/fillet

6 >125 160 DC Flat butt/fillet,

5 horizontal fillet,
7 >160 AC/DC vertical down
8 >160 DC

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AWS A5.5 Alloyed Electrodes MMA Welding Consumables

E 70 1 8 M G Types of electrodes (for C, C-Mn Steels)

BS EN 499 AWS A5.1
 Cellulosic E XX X C EXX10
Covered electrode
Tensile strength (p.s.i)
 Rutile E XX X R EXX12
Welding position EXX13
Flux covering  Rutile heavy coated E XX X RR EXX24
Moisture control  Basic E XX X B EXX15
Alloy content EXX16

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AWS A5.1 & A5.5 Alloyed Electrodes Moisture Pick-Up

 Example AWS electrode flux types:

 Cellulosic: flux-ends in 0 - 1
Examples: E6010, E6011, E7010, E8011
 Rutile: flux-ends in 2 - 3 - 4
Examples: E5012, E6012, E6013, E6014
 Basic: flux-ends in 5 - 6 - 7 - 8
Examples: E6016, E7017, E8018, E9018

 Temperature.
Moisture pick-up as a function of:
 Humidity.

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Electrode Efficiency Covered Electrode Treatment

up to 180% for iron powder electrodes Baking oven:

 Need temperature
Mass of weld metal deposited  Requires calibration.
Electrode efficiency =
Mass of core wire me Heated quivers:
 Only for maintaining
moisture out of
electrodes after
75-90% for usual e lectrodes baking.

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Covered Electrode Treatment Covered Electrode Treatment

Cellulosic Use straight from

Basic electrodes
Baking in oven 2
the box - No hours at 350°C!
electrodes baking/drying!

Rutile If necessary, dry up Limited number of

to 120°C- No After baking, maintain in
electrodes rebakes!
oven at 150°C

Vacuum Use straight from the If not used within

packed basic pack within 4 hours - 4 hours, return to
Use from quivers
No rebaking! at 75°C
electrodes oven and rebake!

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Covered Electrode Inspection Questions
1 Electrode size (diameter and length)
Welding consumables:
 QU 1. Why are basic electrodes used mainly
on high strength materials and what c
ontrols are required when using basic
2 Covering condition: adherence, cracks, chips and
concentricity electrodes?
 QU 2. Name ten functions of an MMA flux?
 QU 3. Why are cellulose electrodes commonly
3 Electrode designation used for the welding of pressure pipe
EN 499-E 51 3 B
 QU 4. What type of issues need to be
Arc ignition enhancing materials (optional!)
considered when using cellulostic
See BS EN ISO 544 for further information electrodes?

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History of the Process

 In 1929 Robinoff in the US patented

continuous wire process with flux – but visible
 In 1935 Union Carbide/Linde patented fully
submerged arc – called Unionmelt.
Submerged Arc Welding
 Licensed around world with fused flux.
 Used for Liberty Ships, T2 Tankers in WW2.
TWI Training & Examination Services
 In 1949 Lincoln offered agglomerated flux.

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SAW Principle of Operation Process Characteristics

 Arc between bare wire and parent plate.

 Arc, electrode end and the molten pool
submerged in powdered flux.
 Flux produces gas and slag in lower layers
under heat of arc giving protection.
 Wire fed by voltage-controlled motor driven
rollers to ensure constant arc length.

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Process Characteristics SAW Basic Equipment

 Flux fed from hopper in continuous mound

along line of intended weld. Power return
/ Rectifier
 Mound is deep to submerge arc. No spatter, cable

weld shielded from atmosphere, no UV on Power Welding carriage

welder. control panel control unit

 Unmelted flux reclaimed for use. Welding carriage

 Only for flat and horizontal-vertical positions.
Granulated Electrode wire
flux reel


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Types of Equipment SAW Equipment

Wire reel

Hand-held gun Slides

Tractor hopper
Wire feed
Feed roll
Gantry system Contact tip
Column and boom Courtesy of ESAB AB

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Tractor Units Column and Boom

 For straight or gently curved joints.  Linear travel only.

 Ride tracks alongside joint or directly on  Can move in 3 axis.
 Can have guide wheels to track.  Workpiece must be brought to weld station.
 Good portability, used where piece cannot be  Mostly used in workshop.

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Gantry Power Sources

 2D linear movement only. Power sources can be:

 For large production.  Transformers for AC.
 May have more than  Transformer-rectifiers for DC.
one head. Static characteristic can be:
 Constant voltage (flat) – most popular.
 Constant current (drooping) – used for high

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Wire Fused Fluxes

 Usually 2-6mm diameter.  Original Unionmelt design – manganese,

 Copper coated to avoid rusting. aluminium and calcium silicates.
 25 or 30kg coils.  Non-hygroscopic, no need to bake.
 Can be supplied in bulk 300-2000kg.  Good for recycling, composition doesn’t vary
 Some can accept up to 2000A.
 Very limited alloying and property control.
 Cannot make basic fused flux.

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Bonded or Agglomerated Flux SAW Operating Variables

 Powdered minerals pelletised with silicate.  Welding current.

 Baked to high temperature but hygroscopic.  Current type and polarity.
 Flexible composition, can alloy, make basic.  Welding voltage.
 Can add deoxidants for good properties.  Travel speed.
 Composition can vary as particle breakdown.  Electrode size.
 Need to extract fine granules when recycling.  Electrode extension.
 Can add Mn and Si to weld so separate  Width and depth of the layer of flux.
formulae for single or multipass.

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Welding Current Setting Current

Controls penetration and dilution  Too high  excess weld metal, increased
shrinkage, more distortion.
 Excessively high  digging W<D
arc, undercut,
burn through, narrow bead  cracking.
 Too low  lack of fusion, poor penetration.
 Excessively low  unstable arc.

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Current Type and Polarity Welding Voltage
 DCEP - deep  Controls arc length.
penetration; better  Increase gives flatter,
for porosity. wider bead.
 DCEN - higher  Increase also in flux
deposition rate; consumption and
reduce penetration; alloying transfer.
surfacing use.  Increase reduces
 AC used to avoid arc porosity.
blow; can give  Can bridge root gaps.
unstable arc.

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Setting Voltage Setting Voltage

 Low voltage - stiffer  Excessively high

arc penetration in voltage:
deep groove and  Produces hat-shaped
resists arc blow. bead – tendency to
 Excessive low crack.
voltage - high  Increases undercut,
narrow bead  slag removal
difficult slag difficult.
removal.  Produce concave

fillet weld subject to


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Setting Travel Speed Setting Travel Speed

Increase gives:  Excessively high

 Low heat input . speed leads to
 Less filler metal undercut, arc blow
applied per unit of and porosity.
length.  Excessively low
 Less excess weld speed produces hat-
metal. shaped beads 
 Smaller weld bead.
 Excessively low
speed produces
rough beads and
slag inclusions.

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Electrode Size Electrode Extension

At same current, small Increased extension:

electrodes have higher  Adds resistance
current density so  Increases deposition
higher deposition
rates.  Decreases penetration and bead width
 Helps prevent burn-through
 Increase voltage to control weld shape
Excessive extension:
 difficult to position tip

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Depth of Flux

 Influences appearance of weld.

 Usually, depth of flux is 25-30mm.
 If too deep:
 Arc too confined so rough rope-like top surface.
 Gases trapped so pool surface distorted.
 If too shallow: Effect of Electrode Angle on Bead Shape
 Flashing and spattering.
 Poor appearance and porous weld.

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Weld Backing Starting/Finishing the Weld

Backing strip

Backing weld

Copper backing

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Potential Defects Solidification Cracking

Porosity:  Control composition, susceptibility predictor

 Oil, paint, grease, etc decompose in the arc to 230C + 190S + 75P + 45Nb - 12.3Si - 5.4Mn
give elongated wormhole porosity. – 1.
 Flux must be dry. Manufacturer's give drying  Add Mn and Si to counter C, S and P, either in
temperatures. wire or through flux.
 Compressed air flux recovery units need dry  Depth to width ratio important:
air.  W much greater than D – surface cracks likely
 Insufficient flux burden can expose arc and  D much greater than W – centreline cracks likely
pool to atmospheric contamination.  D similar to W – sound welds

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Solidification Cracking Solidification cracking

a In the root beads of a

Mushroom shaped weld
multi-run weld.
penetration resulting
from high voltage
b Caused by high speed combined with low
giving a long deep weld speed.
pool in first pass.

c Caused by high restraint

and root gap.

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 Many cite Hopkins (USA) as inventor in 1939.

 Paton Institute developed process in 1950s.
 Shrubsall (USA) consumable guide in 1957.
 Much used in the US buildings in 1960s,
Electroslag Welding
 Apparently very poor toughness led to ban is
the US.
TWI Training & Examination
Services  Earthquake 1994 showed no problem to ESW.
 Ban lifted in 2000.

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Principle Variants of ESW

 Thick vertical plates, square edge, large gap.

 Copper shoes on either side make a well to
hold molten metal in place.
 Wire fed to bottom, usually through tube that
also melts (consumable guide).
 Flux covers wire end.
 Initial arc melts wire and flux.
 Molten flux conductive, floods arc so wire
Guide tube system
melts through resistive heating of flux.
 Weld completed in single pass. Consumable guide

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Process Characteristics Materials Welded

 After initiation arc extinguishes, wire melted  Mostly used on C and C-Mn steel.
rapidly by resistive heating.  Has been used on stainless and Ni alloys by
 Welds up to 300mm made in single pass. Paton Institute.
 Copper guide tube used in standard process.  Also claimed to weld Ti successfully.
Oscillated, slowly lifted as weld progresses.  Al is possible but not welded commercially.
 Tubular consumable guide not lifted so melts  Process developed for rail track joining but
into pool. Not usually oscillated either. although better quality than thermite did not
 Very slow cooling, near equilibrium structure gain favour.
 PWHT to gain properties.

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Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages: Disadvantages:
 Speed ~1 hr per m  Grain growth gives very
whatever thickness. large grains and poor
 No angular distortion. toughness.
 Low lateral distortion.  Limited to vertical or
 Defect-free. near vertical position.
 Simple flame-cut  Except cladding
square edge. modification – flat.
 Can be used for  Difficult to examine with
cladding (major NDT.
application now).

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Description of Processes

 Thermal cutting and gouging are essential

parts of welding fabrication.
 Thermal cutting severs metal, creating two
pieces or a specific shaped single piece.
Thermal Cutting and Gouging  Gouging form of cutting removing metal to
leave groove as weld preparation.
 Torches and parameters different for each.
TWI Training & Examination Services
 Material locally heated and molten metal
ejected - usually by blowing it away.
 Flame, laser or arc processes can be used.

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Summary of Processes General Safety

Thermal Process operations

Metals  Cutting and gouging forcibly eject molten
Primary Secondary
metal, often over large distance.
Oxyfuel gas Cutting Grooving
flame Gouging Chamfering
Ferritic, cast iron  Must take appropriate precautions to protect
operator, other workers and equipment.
Manual metal Grooving Ferritic, stainless,
Chamfering cast iron, Ni alloys  Protective clothing, enclosed booth or screens,
fume extraction, removal of all combustible
Ferritic, cast iron, material.
Air carbon arc Gouging Ni alloys, Cu alloys,

Cutting Chamfering Ferritic, stainless,

Plasma arc
Gouging Grooving Al

Laser Cutting Ferritic, stainless

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Gouging Typical Applications of Gouging

 Like cutting but not severing into two pieces.

 Reverse side of welds, removal of tacks,
temporary welds, and weld imperfections:
 Repair and maintenance of structures.
 Removal of cracks, blow holes and sand traps in
forgings and castings.
 Preparation of plate edges for welding.
 Removal of surplus metal - excess weld bead
profiles, temporary backing strips.
 Removal of temporary welded attachments such as
brackets, strongbacks, lifting lugs.

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Oxyfuel Gas Cutting Process Fundamentals

 Most widely applied industrial thermal cutting  Mixture of O2 and fuel gas used to preheat
process. metal to its ignition temperature .
 Can cut thicknesses from 0.5-250mm.  O2 jet then directed into preheated area.
 Low cost equipment can be manual or  Exothermic reaction between O2 and metal to
mechanised. form iron oxide or slag.
 Several fuel gas and nozzle design options.  Jet blows away slag so it can pierce through
the material and continue to cut.

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Four Basic Requirements Acetylene

 Ignition temperature lower than melting point.  Highest temperature so fastest preheat.
 The oxide MPt must be lower than metal so  Highest heat energy in inner flame reduces
that it can be blown away by jet. HAZ width and distortion.
 Reaction between O2 and metal must give  High flame speed (7.4m/s), good piercing.
heat to maintain ignition temperature.  Lowest ratio of O2.
 Minimal gas products so as not to dilute the
cutting O2.

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Propane MAPP

 Highest heat energy in outer flame.  Methylacetylene and propadiene.

 Flame unfocussed, (speed 3.3m/s).  High flame temperature (second to acetylene),
 Slower preheating than acetylene but good flame energy levels.
effective.  Can be readily compressed.
 Once at ignition temperature, O2 reaction is  Choice for underwater cutting.
same so cutting speed same.

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Cutting Quality Cutting Speed

Oxyfuel typically:  Left – too slow, top

 Large kerf (<2mm). face melting,
 Low roughness irregular cut.
values (Ra<50µm).  Centre – optimum.
 Poor edge  Right – too fast,
squareness metal and oxide not
(>0.7mm). fully expelled.
 Wide HAZ (>1mm).

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Preheating Advantages and Disadvantages

 Left - too little, deep Advantages: Disadvantages:

gouges low on face.  Faster than machining.  Not precision cut.
 Centre - optimum.  Shapes can be cut  C and low alloy steel.
economically.  Fire and burn hazards.
 Right - too much,  Equipment costs low.  Need fume control and
top face melts.  Portable equipment. ventilation.
 Can follow small radius  Can give distortion and
easily. residual stress.
 Can mechanise torch for
large plates.
 Economical for edge

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Powder Cutting Flame Gouging

 Can inject flux into flame to remove oxide  Cutting principle

from stainless making cut possible. adapted to gouging.
 Can inject Fe powder giving exothermic  Curved nozzle.
reaction makes cuts in stainless, Cu, Ni  Quick, efficient
possible. removal on steel.
 Cut quality usually poor.  Low noise, ease of
use, all positional.
 Nozzle size changes
gouge dimensions.

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MMA Gouging MMA Gouging

 Similar to welding but electrode has very high

arc force to eject metal.
 Used at low angle to push molten pool away
from groove.
 DC or AC on standard MMA power source.
 Can cut thin material but poor quality.
 Gouge not as smooth as gas processes.
 Mild steel electrode used for all materials.

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Air Carbon Arc Gouging Process Characteristics

 Arc between tip of carbon electrode and  DCEP for steel and stainless steel. AC for cast
workpiece. iron, Cu and Ni alloys.
 Metal melts and high velocity air jet blows it  Graphite electrode with Cu coating to reduce
away, leaving clean groove. electrode erosion.
 Simple, uses MMA equipment.  Diameter selected for depth and width.
 High metal removal rate and gouge profile can  Molten metal/dross kept to minimum.
be closely controlled.  Standard MMA CC power source. Electrode
 Can be used on wide range of metals. different for AC vs DC.
 Air from compressor or bottle used.

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Air Carbon Arc Gouging Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages: Disadvantages:
 Low equipment cost.  Air jet ejects metal
 Economical to run. large distances.
 Easy to operate.  Very noisy.
 Fast, easy to control.  Needs large volume
 Defects visible. air.
 No slag issues.  C increase, grinding
usually needed.
 Compact, can work
in confined areas.  Sparks, ejected
metal, fumes, noise
 Use on all materials. and intense light.
 Can be automated.

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Plasma Arc Cutting Plasma Cutting Variants

 Basic process uses same torch as plasma Water shroud or immersion

welding.  Shroud cuts fume and
 Keyhole range plasma arc pierces metal.
 Bath cuts noise 115-
 Conditions set to avoid pool formation so 70dB.
becomes cutting tool.  No effect on top edge
 No oxidation reaction, usable on any metal. rounding.
Air plasma
 Introduced for stainless and Al.
 Air as plasma gas,
 Cut quality similar to oxyfuel. cheap.
 Variants developed with different torches.  Needs Hf electrode.
 Used for manual cutting
thin steel.

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Plasma Gouging Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages: Disadvantages:
 Standard torch may
be used.  Cuts non-conductors.  Noise can be high.
 Air plasma also  Faster than oxyfuel.  Fairly expensive.
possible.  Instant start-up.  Cut edges tapered.
 Use low angle.  HTPAC has high  Air plasma limited to
 Forces metal away quality cut edges. 50mm thick plate.
from groove by  Narrow HAZ.  Arc glare.
power of plasma.  Air plasma no gas  High consumable
cost. costs.
 Ideal for thin sheet.
 Water bath reduces

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Laser Cutting Laser Cutting

 First done in 1967 at  Very quick, especially on thin sheet.

TWI.  Now used for automotive door panels.
 O2 jet with laser in  Growing use in shipbuilding.
centre.  Automated with programmed pattern.
 CO2 laser then only  Complex and very fine detail possible.
high power, now Yb
fibre or Nd-YAG  Can also drill very fine holes.
 Nd-YAG good for Al,

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Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages: Disadvantages:
 Very fast speed.  High cost of
 No preheating. equipment.
 Readily automated  Need to isolate
and can follow three personnel from laser.
dimensional tracks.
 Can cut polymers
and other non-
metallic materials.
 Good quality square-
edged kerf.

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Why Surface?

Number of reasons including:

 Repair build-up.
 Replace worn surface with matching weld metal.
 Hard-facing.
Give soft material wear, abrasion resistance.
Surfacing and Spraying 

 Cladding.
 Give corrosion or oxidation resistant surface.
TWI Training & Examination Services
 Buttering.
 Put layer of weld metal onto face of preparation
before making full welded joint.

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Surfacing Methods Friction Surfacing

Solid-state bonding:  Rotate solid bar with

one end pressed
 Join two layers by pressure or pressure and hard material.
 Lateral movement of
 Rolled clad plate. substrate deposits
 Explosive bonding . plasticised material.
 Friction can bond new material onto surface.  No melting so no
 Diffusion bonding. dilution, same
Electrically melted: composition as
 Arc welding and electroslag strip cladding. consumable.
Spraying:  Limited practical use.
 Oxy-fuel, plasma, laser –also cold spraying.

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Surfacing by Welding Surfacing by Welding

 Most processes possible, deposition rates vary. Deposition rate, Manual or

 Can be manual or mechanised. Process
kg.hr -1 mechanised
MMA 1-3 Manual

MIG 2-6 Both

TIG, micro plasma 1-2 Both

Plasma transferred
2-10 Mechanised
SA or ES strip
10-40 Mechanised

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Practical Examples Thermal Spraying

Repair:  Apply powder or wire as spray of fine molten

 Cast iron tooling (nickel alloys). or semi-molten droplets to give coating.
 Injection molds (martensitic steels).  Heat from oxy-fuel or arc.
 Hot work tool steels (high speed steels).  Low energy, MIG or flame:
Engine exhaust valves (Co alloys): 

 Reclamation, corrosion resistant surfaces.

 Wear plate for earth moving, mineral moving.
 High energy, plasma, HVOF and detonation:
 Concast rolls (FeCr + carbide).
 High density coating.
 Gate valves (Co alloys).  Thick coatings possible.
 High mechanical properties.

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Processes Comparison Benefits of Thermal Spraying

Attribute Flame Spray Wire Arc Air Plasma HVOF
Flame temp. °C >3000 >3000 >5000 ~3000  Coating can be metal, ceramic and polymer, in
Particle speed, m/s 50-100 50-150 100-400 400-800 the form of powder, rod or wire.
Gas flow, l/min 100-200 500-3000 100-200 400-1100  Substrate <300°C. Can be plastic.
CH4, C2H2, H2,
Gas types O 2 , C 2 H2 Air, N2, Ar N2, Ar, H2, He
C 3 H6 , O 2  Up to 10mm thick coatings.
Power, kW
Particle size, µm
Wire only
 Can create freestanding structures for net-
Feed rate, kg/hr 2-10 3-18 3-6 1-4 shaped manufacture.
Metals, Metals, cermets Ceramics,
Typical materials metals,
ceramics (cored wire) metals
Coating density, % 85-90 80-95 90-95 > 95
Porosity, % 10-15 5-10 5-10 1-2
Oxides, % 10-20 10-20 1-3 1-2

Bond strength, MPa 50 50 > 80 > 80

Thickness, mm 0.2-10 0.2-10 0.2-2 0.2-2

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