As a construction industry worker, it is becoming very important to gain skills in aluminium welding. Aluminium is growing in popularity as a building material because it is lightweight, noncorrosive and recyclable. However, it is not an easy material to work with, and those with suitable skills will be in high demand.
Follow this brief guide to find how out about aluminium welding and give your career opportunities a major boost.
WHY ALUMINIUM IS CHALLENGING TO WELD
Due to its intrinsic properties of being soft, extremely sensitive and shielded by a durable oxidised coating, aluminium is inherently challenging to weld. The main issues are the following:
Aluminium is covered in an aluminium oxide layer, which melts at a temperature much greater than aluminium itself. High heat is necessary to melt through this layer, but the welder must take care not to burn holes in the aluminium beneath.
As aluminium heats up, it becomes more porous and absorbs hydrogen more quickly. As the metal solidifies again, the hydrogen separates off and can create bubbles in the substance and make the metal weak and porous.
Because aluminium is so susceptible, there are a number of ways for water, air and dirt to contaminate it while welding. Due to inadequate shielding or overly lengthy arcs, aluminium is at risk of contamination from the air as it enters the weld.
When welding aluminium, a variety of material thicknesses must be used. Welders need to be able to penetrate thick materials sufficiently to produce a strong weld without burning through thinner materials.
However, thorough training in the correct procedures can overcome these conditions and produce highly efficient aluminium welding techniques.
THE BEST ALUMINIUM WELDING METHOD
TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) also known as GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding) is the most frequently used welding technique nowadays for joining aluminium.
TIG welders operate at lower temperatures and slower speeds, giving a skilled welder more time to work with the extremely thin metal and reducing the chance of damage to the surfaces.
A shielding gas made entirely of argon or helium is needed for GTAW, which calls for constant current equipment with AC (alternating current) capability. It does not call for mechanical wire feeding, which often creates handling issues.
- Choose the proper tungsten electrode or rod; a pure tungsten rod is usually the best option for aluminium.
- Spend some time cleaning and heating your aluminium before using it.
- Make sure there isn't an excessive argon flow at the torch, as this could result in an uneven arc.
- Use a heat sink to stop warping
- When welding, maintain the cleanliness of the appropriate aluminium filler electrode or rod and melt it into a welding puddle with the base material.
Contact a company like Nuweld to learn more.