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P1 Group Pipe Purging Procedure

The purpose of pipe purging is to shield the rear of the weld joint from atmospheric
contamination caused by welding. It involves a pre-purge prior to the start of welding and
purging during welding. The pre-purge displaces air inside a pipe with an inert gas,
commonly argon; the purge during welding maintains the low oxygen content achieved
by the pre-purge and prevents air ingress into the system. By using the correct equipment,
effective purging and good welding procedures, it is possible to achieve corrosion
resistance in the weld material similar to that of the parent material.

Purging is required when specified by the WPS; purging is commonly required in the
following base metal groups: 5A, 5B, 8, and 41-45. QC is responsible for monitoring
purging according to the WPS. Welders and welding operators are responsible for
installation and removal of purge materials as well as maintaining the specified
atmosphere in the pipe.

The type of gas used for the purge will be specified in the WPS. Welding-grade argon
shall be used when specified.

Use of Purge Dams

• In the interest of production time and cost-effectiveness, purge dams shall be used
when possible. These shall be made of cardboard or water-soluble purge paper
and secured with tape if necessary; plastic pipe caps may be used except when
they will be exposed to temperatures that will soften or melt them. Masking tape
is approved for sealing except where it will be exposed to temperatures in excess
of 150 degrees F.; otherwise, halogen-free aluminum tape is required.
• Purge dams shall be installed so that they are not exposed to temperatures over
200 degrees F.
• Caution shall be exercised when removing purge dams from pipes; increased
temperatures and decreased oxygen levels are possible hazards present.


• All pipe ends and openings shall be sealed unless purge dams are used to reduce
the purge volume.
• The preferred inlet and outlet arrangement is as follows: the gas inlet should be
located low and to one end of the piping arrangement; high and on the opposite
end of the arrangement, a small hole shall be made in the seal to allow the
exhausting of air as it is displaced by the purge gas.
• Open butt joints shall be sealed during pre-purge with an approved halogen-free
aluminum tape over the outside of the weld joint. Tape shall be removed ahead of
the weld pass.
• Flow rate for pre-purge shall be 25 CFH until the oxygen level reaches 5% or less
as indicated by an oxygen meter.
• The purge time chart (Attachment 1) should be used a guide for the amount of
minimum pre-purge time required to remove the air from a volume of pipe.

Purging while welding

• When the atmosphere within the pipe has reached the required level, the purge gas
flow rate shall be adjusted downward to maintain a slight positive pressure (just
discernible at the exhaust hole). This will act to prevent any adverse effect on the
contour of the root (and subsequent) bead as well as weld blowout on completion
of the joint.
• The purge shall be maintained for the duration of the weld until completion; if for
any reason the purge is lost during the welding process, welding shall not resume
until the required atmosphere has been achieved again.


Halogen-free aluminum tape:

Water soluble purge dam material: