Welding unifies two or more metal parts. This operation generally occurs at high temperatures through a fusion of the edges of the parts with the assistance of a melted metal wire or rod. Welders have developed a variety of different types of welding methods and tools. Some welding technologies facilitate aluminum welding.
About Aluminum Welding
Aluminum welders today usually use electric welding torches to generate an arc between an electrode in the torch and a work piece. They employ aluminum alloy welding wire or rods to help form a secure weld at the site of joinder. Trained welder work with many aluminum alloys and other metals.
Aluminum Welding Processes
Welders have successfully employed a number of welding methods to join pieces of aluminum together. All of these approaches require the careful removal of aluminum oxide rust deposits and debris from the exterior of aluminum workpieces first. Some of the most popular aluminum welding methods include:
Gas Metal Arc Welding ("GMAW")
Welders usually employ Gas Metal Arc Welding ("GMAW") to create aluminum welds. The welder first cleans the work surface using a metal brush. Frequently, preheating the aluminum within specified temperature ranges assists GMAW welding. Most aluminum welders rely upon argon as the preferred shielding gas for covering the welding area; high temperatures cause the melting and fusion of aluminum welding wire on the surface. The welder uses an electric welding torch and a consumable metal electrode to generate a heated arc between the torch and the surface. The high temperatures will rapidly melt the metal and help fuse aluminum. The welder must weld quickly to avoid burning the weld.
Metal Inert Gas Welding ("MIG")
One of the subtypes of GMAW, this process relies upon inert gases (such as Argon) to cover the welding work surface and shield it from the surrounding air. The welder covers the work surface with this gas while also melting a continuous feed from an aluminum welding wire along the weld, promoting the union and fusion of the edges of the aluminum parts.
Tungsten Inert Gas ("TIG") Welding
The welder relies upon a non-consumable electrode made of tungsten in the welding torch to release an electrical current. It forms an arc between the electrode and the work surface. This form of skilled welding permits the union of thin aluminum parts. The welder relies upon long welding rods instead of a continuous feed of welding wire in order to deposit an aluminum alloy along the weld site.
Materials And Applications
Welding the metal aluminum poses some distinct challenges. Although this light weight metal occurs abundantly in nature and has received widespread use in a multitude of industries, it will combust and burn under some circumstances. Aluminum fires pose a challenge to suppress because they will feed upon the oxygen in water. For this reason, aluminum welding requires care and attention and the use of approved welding methods in order to proceed safely.
Additionally, this process requires welding skill for other practical reasons. Many aluminum alloys posses a low melting point, so a welding torch may actually burn through welds unless the operator exercises caution. During Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) performed with the aid of aluminum welding wire, the welder must also avoid interruptions caused by coils of the wire accidentally fusing back on themselves.
Aluminum welding today typically requires a GMAW or tungsten-electrode electric welding torch, a power source for the torch, a shielding gas and, usually, a consumable aluminum alloy welding wire or rod. Welders must wear extensive protective gear. This process employs a variety of aluminum alloys as raw materials.
Applications for aluminum welding occur in every economic sector. This process plays an especially prominent role in the aviation, aerospace, construction, automotive, agricultural and oil and gas industries. Manufacturers frequently employ welding to join aluminum components together.