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The basic equipments used to carry out gas welding are:
1. Oxygen gas cylinder.
2. Acetylene gas cylinder.
3. Oxygen pressure regulator.
4. Acetylene pressure regulator.
5. Oxygen gas hose(Blue).
6. Acetylene gas hose(Red).
7. Welding torch or blow pipe with a set of nozzles and gas lighter
8. Trolleys for the transportation of oxygen and acetylene cylinders
9. A set of keys and spanners.
10. Filler rods and fluxes.
11. Protective clothing for the welder (e.g., asbestos apron, gloves, goggles, etc
Oxygen Gas Cylinder - Oxygen cylinders are painted black and the valve outlets are
screwed right handed. The usual sizes of oxygen cylinders are 3400, 5200 and 6800 litre.
Oxygen cylinder is a solid drawn cylinder out of mild steel or alloy steel. Mild steel
cylinder is charged to a pressure of 13660 KN/m2
(136.6 bar) and alloy steel cylinders to
The oxygen volume in a cylinder is directly proportional to its pressure. In other words, if
the original pressure of a full oxygen cylinder drops by 5% during welding, it means 1/20
of the cylinder contents have been consumed.
Because of the possibility of the oxygen pressure becoming high enough to rupture the
steel cylinder in case the temperature rises, an oxygen cylinder is equipped with a safety
nut that allows the oxygen to drain slowly in the event the temperature increases the gas
pressure beyond the safety load of the cylinder.
An oxygen cylinder has an inside diameter of 21.6 cm, wall thickness 6.50 mm and
length 127.5 cm. In order to protect cylinder valve from getting damaged, a removable
steel cap is screwed on the cylinder at all times when the cylinder is not in use. The
cylinder valve is kept closed when the cylinder is not in use and even when cylinder is
Acetylene Gas Cylinder - An acetylene cylinder is painted maroon and the valves are
screwed left handed; to make this easily recognizable they are chamfered or grooved. An
acetylene cylinder is also a solid drawn steel cylinder which is charged to a pressure of
The usual size of acetylene cylinders are 2800 and 5600 litre. An acetylene cylinder has
an inside diameter of 30 cm, wall thickness 4.38 mm and a length of 101.25 cm. An
acetylene cylinder is filled with a spongy (porous) material such as balsa wood or some
other absorptive material which is saturated with a chemical solvent called acetone.
Since high pressure acetylene is not stable, it is dissolved in acetone, which has the
ability to absorb a large volume of the gas and release it as the pressure falls. The small
compartments in the porous material (filled in the cylinder) prevent the sudden
decomposition of the acetylene throughout the mass, should it be started by local heating
or other causes.
An acetylene cylinder is always kept upright for safety reasons. The acetone in the
cylinder must not be permitted to enter the blowpipe, otherwise an explosion could result.
The acetylene cylinder valve can only be opened with a special wrench and this wrench is
kept in place whenever the cylinder is in use.
An acetylene cylinder has a number of fusible plugs, at its bottom, designed to melt at
104°C. These plugs melt and release the pressure in case the cylinder is exposed to
Acetylene Gas Generator - If large quantities of acetylene gas are being consumed, it is
much cheaper to generate the gas at the place of use with the help of acetylene gas
generators. Acetylene gas is generated by carbide to water method, i.e., the generator unit
feeds controlled amounts of calcium carbide into the water. When these ingredients are
mixed, acetylene gas is produced.
In order to make the operation of acetylene generators safe, various devices are
incorporated in it. There are two types of acetylene generators.
(i) Low pressure generator which
delivers the gas at pressures of less
than 0.1 bar. With this kind of
generator only the injector type of
blow pipes can be used. Low pressure
generator is considered portable and it
produces acetylene above 15litres per
(ii) Medium pressure generator which
delivers the gas at a pressure of up to
Medium pressure generator is
considered stationary and it can
produce acetylene up to 3000 litres per
minute. This generator is the one that is more commonly used. In control valve opens
and closes automatically as the acetylene in the chamber decreases or increases. This
automatically regulates the amount of calcium carbide falling in water.
Acetylene generators have certain disadvantages:
Greater safety precautions are required.
2. Labour is required to charge carbide and clean out sludge.
3. Gas obtained is not so pure as available in cylinders.
4.There is a tendency towards pressure fluctuations with resultant
unsteady flame, if the low pressure type of generator is used.
Pressure Regulators - The pressure of the gases obtained from cylinders/generators is
considerably higher than the gas pressure used to operate the welding torch.The purpose
of using a gas pressure regulator is, therefore
(i)to reduce the high pressure of the gas in the
cylinder to a suitable working pressure, and (ii)
to produce a steady flow of gas under varying
cylinder pressures. A pressure regulator is
fitted with two pressure gauges. One indicates
the gas pressure in the cylinder and the other
shows the reduced pressure at which the gas is
going out. A pressure regulator is connected
between the cylinder/generator and the hose
leading to welding torch.
(ii)Gas pressure regulators may be classified as: 1.Single stage Regulator
2. Two stage Regulator.
Welding Hoses and Clamps-
(a) Hoses: The hose for the supply of oxygen (from the pressure regulator) to the welding
torch is coloured blue or black and has right handed thread connections, whereas the
acetylene hose is coloured red or maroon and has left handed thread connections with
chamfers or grooves on the nuts. For welding purposes, the hoses to be used should be
strong, non porous, flexible and not subject to kinking. Welding hose has a seamless
lining which is manufactured from rubber (or a rubber compound) which is reinforced
with canvas or wrapped cotton plies.
The hose is resistant to the action of gases normally used in welding. The outer casing is
made of tough abrasion resistant rubber. The hose is very robust and capable of
withstanding high pressure. Some precautions are to be taken when using reinforced
(i) Only one gas should be used in a hose. For example, using an oxygen hose to carry
acetylene could cause a serious accident.
(ii) The hose should never be patched or repaired.
(iii) Hot metal (job) should never be placed on the hose.
(b) Hose Clamps (Clips): A metal clamp is used to attach the welding hose to a nipple.
The clamp squeezes the hose around the nipple to prevent it from working loose. A nut
on the other end of the nipple is connected to the regulator or torch.
Welding Torch and Blow Pipe - Oxygen and the fuel gas having been reduced in
pressure by the gas regulators are fed through suitable hoses to a welding torch which
mixes and controls the flow of gases to the welding nozzle or tip where the gas mixture is
burnt to produce a flame for carrying
out gas welding operation. There are
two types of welding torches, namely:
(i) High pressure (or equal pressure)
type. (ii) Low pressure (or injector)
type. High pressure blowpipes or
torches are used with (dissolved)
acetylene stored in cylinders at a pressure of 8 bars. Low pressure blowpipes are used
with acetylene obtained from an acetylene generator at a pressure of 200 mm head of
water (approximately 0.02 bars).
(a) Working of a low pressure blowpipe: It is termed as a low pressure blowpipe because
it can be operated at low acetylene pressures; it is frequently used with acetylene
generators. As acetylene is of low pressure, it is necessary to use oxygen at a high
pressure (2.5 bar). The oxygen enters the mixing chamber through a passage located in
the centre of the torch. The oxygen passage is surrounded by the one carrying the
acetylene. The high pressure oxygen passes through a small opening in the injector
nozzle, enters the mixing chamber and pulls (or draws) the acetylene in after it. An
advantage of low pressure torch is that small fluctuations in the oxygen supplied to it will
produce a corresponding change in the amount of acetylene drawn; thereby making the
proportions of the two gases constant while the torch is in operation.
(b) Working of a high pressure blowpipe: In this type of blowpipe both the oxygen and
acetylene are fed to the blow pipe at equal pressures and the gases are mixed in a mixing
chamber prior to being fed to the nozzle tip. The equal pressure or high pressure type of
blowpipe is the one most generally used because (i) It is lighter and simpler. (ii) It does
not need an injector. (iii) In operation, it is less troublesome since it does not suffer from
backfires to the same extent. To change the power of the welding torch, it is only
necessary to change the nozzle tip (size) and increase or decrease the gas pressures
Welding Nozzles or Tips: Depending upon the design of the welding torch (or the blow
pipe) the interchangeable nozzles may consist of :(i) Either, a set of tips which screw onto
the head of the blowpipe, or(ii) As a set of gooseneck extensions fitting directly onto the
mixer portion of the blowpipe. The welding nozzle or tip is that portion of the torch
which is located at the end of the torch and
contains the opening through which the
oxygen and acetylene gas mixture passes
prior to ignition and combustion. A welding
nozzle enables the welder to guide the flame
and direct it with the maximum ease and
efficiency. The following factors are
important in the selection of appropriate welding nozzle:
(i) The position of the weld.(ii) The type of joint.(iii) Job thickness and the size of
welding flame required for the job.(iv) The metal/alloy to be welded. To provide for
different amounts of heat, to weld metals of different thicknesses, welding tips are made
in various sizes. The size of a welding tip is determined by the diameter of the opening or
orifice in the tip. As the orifice size
increases, greater amounts of the
welding gases pass through and are burnt
to supply a greater amount of heat. The
choice of the proper tip size is very
important to good welding. A chart
giving sizes of tips for welding various thicknesses of metal along with oxygen and
acetylene pressures used is generally provided by the manufacturers.
Gas Lighter A gas (spark) lighter provides a convenient, safe and inexpensive means of
lighting the torch. Match sticks should never be used for this purpose because the puff of
the flame produced by the ignition of the acetylene flowing from the tip is likely to burn
the welder's hand. Spark lighters are constructed from flint and steel.
Gas Cylinder Trolleys - Trolleys should be capable of accommodating one oxygen
cylinder and one acetylene cylinder required for gas welding. Normally cylinders can be
mounted on a trolley side by side, but where work has to be done on plant with access
only by narrow gangways the, has an advantage. Trolleys may have rubber tires or steel
rim wheels. The gas cylinders are held in place with chains and supported on the bottom
with a steel platform.
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