ASME Code Calculator:- Information This page calculates the approval range for both welding procedures and

welder approvals. It was developed for groove welds but fillet welds follow the same basic rules except parent metal thickness is not considered, but welding positions for performance qualification should be correct and also diameter limits.{Note Diameter limits don't apply to fillet welds if qualified by a groove weld} Enter test piece data above horizontal line. Click the 'Calculate Approval Range' button and the range of approval will appear below it.

The ABC's of Nondestructive Weld Examination
Reprinted courtesy of Welding Journal magazine.

An understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of each form of nondestructive examination can help you choose the best method for your application By Charles Hayes The philosophy that often guides the fabrication of welded assemblies and structures is "to assure weld quality." However, the term "weld quality" is relative. The application determines what is good or bad. Generally, any weld is of good quality if it meets appearance requirements and will continue indefinitely to do the job for which it is intended. The first step in assuring weld quality is to determine the degree required by the application. A standard should be established based on the service requirements. Standards designed to impart weld quality may differ from job to job, but the use of appropriate weld techniques can provide assurance that the applicable standards are being met. Whatever the standard of quality, all welds should be inspected, even if the inspection involves nothing more than the welder looking after his own work after each weld pass. A good-looking weld surface appearance is many times considered indicative of high weld quality. However, surface appearance alone does not assure good workmanship or internal quality. Nondestructive examination (NDE) methods of inspection make it possible to verify compliance to the standards on an ongoing basis by examining the surface and subsurface of the weld and surrounding base material. Five basic methods are commonly used to examine finished welds: visual, liquid penetrant, magnetic particle, ultra-sonic and radiographic (X-ray). The growing use of computerization with some methods provides added image enhancement, and allows real-time or near real-time viewing, comparative inspections and archival capabilities. A review

of each method will help in deciding which process or combination of processes to use for a specific job and in performing the examination most effectively. Visual Inspection (VT) Visual inspection is often the most cost-effective method, but it must take place prior to, during and after welding. Many standards require its use before other methods, because there is no point in submitting an obviously bad weld to sophisticated inspection techniques. The ANSI/AWS D1.1, Structural Welding Code - Steel, states, "Welds subject to nondestructive examination shall have been found acceptable by visual inspection." Visual inspection requires little equipment. Aside from good eyesight and sufficient light, all it takes is a pocket rule, a weld size gauge, a magnifying glass, and possibly a straight edge and square for checking straightness, alignment and perpendicularity. Before the first welding arc is struck, materials should be examined to see if they meet specifications for quality, type, size, cleanliness and freedom from defects. Grease, paint, oil, oxide film or heavy scale should be removed. The pieces to be joined should be checked for flatness, straightness and dimensional accuracy. Likewise, alignment, fit-up and joint preparation should be examined. Finally, process and procedure variables should be verified, including electrode size and type, equipment settings and provisions for preheat or postheat. All of these precautions apply regardless of the inspection method being used. During fabrication, visual examination of a weld bead and the end crater may reveal problems such as cracks, inadequate penetration, and gas or slag inclusions. Among the weld defects that can be recognized visually are cracking, surface slag inclusions, surface porosity and undercut. On simple welds, inspecting at the beginning of each operation and periodically as work progresses may be adequate. Where more than one layer of metal filler is being deposited, however, it may be desirable to inspect each layer before depositing the next. The root pass of a multipass is most critical to weld soundness. It is especially susceptible to cracking, and because it solidifies quickly, it may trap gas and slag. On subsequent passes, conditions caused by the shape of the weld bead or changes in the joint configuration can cause further cracking, as well as undercut and slag trapping. Repair costs can be minimized if visual inspection detects these flaws before welding progresses. Visual inspection at an early stage of production can also prevent underwelding and overwelding. Welds that are smaller than called for in the specifications cannot be tolerated. Beads that are too large increase costs unnecessarily and can cause distortion through added shrinkage stress. After welding, visual inspection can detect a variety of surface flaws, including cracks, porosity and unfilled craters, regardless of subsequent inspection procedures. Dimensional variances, warpage and appearance flaws, as well as weld size characteristics, can be evaluated. Before checking for surface flaws, welds must be cleaned of slag. Shotblasting should not be done before examination, because the peening action may seal fine cracks and make them invisible. The AWS D1.1 Structural Welding Code, for example, does not allow peening "on the root or surface layer of the weld or the base metal at the edges of the weld." Visual inspection can only locate defects in the weld surface. Specifications or applicable codes may require that the internal portion of the weld and adjoining

metal zones also be examined. Nondestructive examinations may be used to determine the presence of a flaw, but they cannot measure its influence on the serviceability of the product unless they are based on a correlation between the flaw and some characteristic that affects service. Otherwise, destructive tests are the only sure way to determine weld serviceability. Radiographic Inspection Radiography (X-ray) is one of the most important, versatile and widely accepted of all the nondestructive examination methods - Fig. 1. X-ray is used to determine internal soundness of the welds. The term "X-ray quality," widely used to indicate high quality in welds, arises from this inspection method. Radiography is based on the ability of X-rays and gamma rays to pass through metal and other materials opaque to ordinary light, and produce photographic records of the transmitted radiant energy. All materials will absorb known amounts of this radiant energy and, therefore, X-rays and gamma rays can be used to show discontinuities and inclusions within the opaque material. The permanent film record of the internal conditions will show the basic information by which weld soundness and be determined. X-rays are produced by high-voltage generators. As the high voltage applied to an X-ray tube is increased, the wavelength of the emitted X-ray becomes shorter , providing more penetrating power. Gamma rays are produced by the atomic disintegration of radioisotopes. The radioactive isotopes most widely used in industrial radiography are Cobalt 60 and Iridium 192. Gamma rays emitted from these isotopes are similar to X-rays, except their wavelengths are usually shorter. This allows them to penetrate to greater depths than X-rays of the same power, however, exposure times are considerably longer due to the longer intensity. When X-rays or gamma rays are directed at a section of weldment , not all of the radiation passes are through the metal. Different materials, depending on their density, thickness and atomic number, will absorb different wavelengths of radiant energy. The degree to which the different materials absorb these rays determines the intensity of the rays penetrating through the material. When variations of these rays are recorded, a means of seeing inside the material is available. The image on a developed photo-sensitized film is known as a radiograph. Thicker areas of the specimen or higher density material (tungsten inclusion), will absorb more radiation and their corresponding areas on the radiograph will be lighter - Fig 2. Whether in the shop or in the field, the reliability and interpretive value of radiographic images are a function of their sharpness and contrast. The ability of an observer to detect a flaw depends on the sharpness of its image and its contrast with the background. To be sure that a radiographic exposure produces acceptable results, a gauge known as an Image Quality Indicator (IQI) is placed on the part so that its image will be produced on the radiograph. IQI's used to determine radiographic quality are also called penetrameters. A standard hole-type penetrameter is a rectangular piece of metal with three drilled holes of set diameters. The thickness of the piece of metal is a percentage of the thickness of the specimen being radiographed. The diameter of each hole is different and is a given multiple of the penetrameter thickness. Wire-type penetrameters are also widely used, especially outside the United States. They consist of several pieces of wire, each of a different diameter. Sensitivity is

Generally. bringing out small flaws and discontinuities that would not show up on film. and densitized film as a recording medium. Computerization has made it possible to overcome many of the shortcomings of radiographic imaging by linking the fluorescent screen with a video camera. This makes it possible to inspect parts faster and at a lower cost. Industrial radiography. . Such film artifacts may mask weld discontinuities. which take up far less space than vaults of old films and are much easier to recall when needed. fog and spots caused by developing errors may make it difficult to identify defects. By digitizing the image and loading it into a computer. Multiple images can be superimposed. it tends to give an exaggerated impression of scattered type defects such as porosity or inclusions.having that image computer enhanced and transferred to a viewing monitor . then. is an inspection method using X-rays and gamma rays as a penetrating medium. A penetrameter is not an indicator or gauge to measure the size of a discontinuity or the minimum detectable flaw size. but the image definition is poorer. the image can be enhanced and analyzed to a degree never before possible. defects in welds consist either of a void in the weld metal itself or an inclusion that differs in density from the surrounding weld metal. because there is a time delay. Film handling marks and streaks. as well as on developed film. Because the angle of exposure will also influence the radiograph. the images can be viewed in real time. where a problem can be identified and corrected quickly. It is an indicator of the quality of the radiographic technique." It is called "radioscopy imagery. so all safety precautions should be followed closely. The process of digitizing an image taken from the fluorescent screen . Instead of waiting for film to be developed." Existing films can be digitized to achieve the same results and improve the analysis process. An X-ray image of the interior of the weld may be viewed on a fluorescent screen. All instructions should be followed carefully to achieve satisfactory results. Because a radiograph compresses all the defects that occur throughout the thickness of the weld into one plane. Radiographic images are not always easy to interpret. Radiographic equipment produces radiation that can be harmful to body tissue in excessive amounts. This can improve quality and reduce costs on production applications such as pipe welding. we can no longer consider this "real time.determined by the smallest diameter of wire that can be clearly seen on the radiograph. Pixel values can be adjusted to change shading and contrast. Colors can be assigned to the various shades of gray to further enhance the image and make flaws stand out better. to obtain a photographic record of internal quality. However. Only personnel who are trained in radiation safety and qualified as industrial radiographers should be permitted to do radiographic testing. Another advantage is the ability to archive images on laser optical disks. Surface defects will show up on the film and must be recognized. it is difficult or impossible to analyze fillet welds by this method.takes only a few seconds.

1 filler metal specification3.1. or that "all welding processes shall be low hydrogen. E6010). Scott Funderburk This is part two in a series on selecting filler metals. This article will address specifying filler metals that resist hydrogen related cracking while also providing good mechanical properties." Without a formal definition. or inspectors.6% Coverings when tested at 1800 °F (980 °C). When selecting filler metals. especially to engineers that have been specifying that "only low hydrogen electrodes shall be permitted. which can lead to confusion and conflicts. The term "low hydrogen" has been around for about 60 years.1 Confusion About the Term Although so-called "low hydrogen electrodes" have been around for many years.g.g. Figure 1. In some cases the engineer may specify low hydrogen electrodes because he believes these electrodes will also provide weld deposits exhibiting a high minimum level of notch toughness." or "all welds shall be low hydrogen". AWS SMAW hydrogen" coatings.Selecting Filler Metals: Low Hydrogen Key Concepts in Welding Engineeringby R. the specifier may elect to require "low hydrogen electrodes. according to AWS A5. They were created to avoid hydrogen cracking on high strength steels. it can not be assumed." Such electrodes may be required to minimize the possibility of hydrogen related cracking. This may come as a surprise to some. however. there is some confusion about what is meant by the term.0-94)2. neither "low hydrogen" nor "low hydrogen electrodes" are listed in the American Welding Society’s (AWS) Standard Welding Terms & Definitions (AWS A3. "Low Hydrogen Electrode" Means SMAW Electrode The closest thing to a formal definition for low hydrogen SMAW electrodes is found in the AWS EXX16-x A5. This moisture level corresponds to a relatively low diffusible hydrogen EXX15-x . These classifications must Electrodes with Low Hydrogen have a coating moisture level of less than 0.. Many codes and specifications use the designation. This specification EXX18-x lists several electrode classifications with "low Table 1. While this may be true. E7018) from other non-low hydrogen SMAW electrodes (e.. It was first introduced to differentiate this classification of shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) electrode (e. such as armor plate. contractors. the term "low hydrogen" can be understood differently by engineers. "Fish-eyes" on an allweld-metal tensile specimen fracture surface.

In the table. This has led some people to specify low hydrogen when the real desire is for notch toughness.6% in the as-received condition. Weld Deposit Hydrogen Levels . Many of today’s E7018 products have actual coating moisture content levels much lower than the maximum of 0. Standard Methods for Determination of Diffusible Hydrogen4.level in the deposited weld metal. the presence of hydrogen can reduce ductility (as expressed by elongation and reduction in area). For example. a comparison between low H2 2 hydrogen SMAW electrodes and Table 2. It is only in severe cases that it can influence the ultimate tensile strength. For example. however. 30-50 mL/100g) has a minimum CVN requirement of 20 ft-lbs at minus 20°F. Modification and Design of mL/100g Welded Steel Moment Frame H8 8 Structures6 published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency H4 4 (FEMA). AWS A4. Additionally. Use of the Term in Codes and Specifications Some codes and specifications refer to hydrogen control in terms of either (1) requiring low hydrogen SMAW electrodes or (2) placing specific limits on diffusible hydrogen.1. Optional Hydrogen Designators FCAW and SAW is made. Table 1 lists the SMAW electrodes with low hydrogen coating contained in A5. are considered low hydrogen. does not typically influence the impact toughness. "All of the electrodes that are employed for flux cored arc welding (both gas shielded and self shielded). flux cored arc welding. some deposits with high hydrogen levels can deliver relatively high levels of notch toughness. The better approach is to specify notch toughness requirements since there is no automatic link between low diffusible hydrogen content in the weld and CVN values. Diffusible Hydrogen. submerged arc welding. its effects on the test results are limited.3. A high hydrogen content in a tensile specimen can produce "fish-eyes" on the fracture surface as seen in Figure 1. Repair. typically less than 16 mL/100g. shows that when E7018 is welded at 70 °F and 60% relative humidity a 0." The minimum preheat temperatures listed in Category "A" are higher than Category "B" because Category "B" is for "shielded metal arc welding with low hydrogen electrodes.1-2000)5 has provisions related to hydrogen in the preheat table (Table 3. gas metal arc welding. Hydrogen. This document states. the E6010 classification (non-low hydrogen. Actually. however. Can Hydrogen Affect Mechanical Properties? The influence of hydrogen can be observed in mechanical testing. The Structural Welding Code – Steel (AWS D1." Implied is the assumption that FCAW and SAW will provide weld deposits with diffusible hydrogen levels similar to SMAW electrodes with low hydrogen coverings." In the Interim Guidelines: Evaluation. ultimate tensile strength or yield strength results. as well as submerged arc welding.2).6% coating moisture equates to approximately 12 mL/100g of diffusible hydrogen. low hydrogen is sometimes equated with a minimum CVN level. Category "A" is applicable to "shielded metal arc welding with other than low hydrogen electrodes. Since low hydrogen SMAW electrodes like E7018 are also required to have a minimum specified level of Charpy V-notch (CVN) impact energy.

As mentioned above. Category "D" in the minimum preheat and interpass temperature table (Table 3." Codes That Use Hydrogen Designators The AWS D1. and H2) is preferred in the United States.x filler metal specification. Following are examples of the designator requirements: To avoid hydrogen induced cracking. H4. This level is a function of the microstructure susceptibility. To simply state "use low hydrogen" is not enough." The word "low" is an imprecise description. Category H2 is labeled as "low hydrogen" at less than 10 mL/100g. when the minimum specified yield strength is greater the 50 ksi. "only electrodes or electrode-flux combinations capable of depositing weld metal with a maximum diffusible hydrogen content of 8 mL/100g (H8) are permitted. Other agencies such as the United States Military8 and the American Bureau of Shipping9 also set limits on the diffusible hydrogen levels.5-95) is another fine example of hydrogen control." This is a good example of properly using the H-designators. "low" for a 50 ksi steel may not be "low" for a 100 ksi steel.5. The third category.1 Structural Welding Code also has several provisions that utilize hydrogen designators (e." this does not define low hydrogen electrode as less than 10 mL/100g. H8). H16. Rather than require that "only low hydrogen electrodes can be used. The AWS D1." engineers and fabricators are should use statements such as. H8 or H4. H4. H2 and H3 categories. H8.2) allows only "…electrodes or electrode-flux combinations capable of depositing weld metal with a maximum diffusible hydrogen content of 8 mL/100 g (H8). The actual diffusible hydrogen value can also be used to calculate the minimum preheat temperature with this method instead of using the H1. The preferred method of controlling the level of hydrogen in a weld deposit is to use the optional hydrogen designators as defined by the American Welding Society. Therefore. For example.1 Code also has an alternate method to determine the minimum preheat temperature (Annex XI) that uses three levels of diffusible hydrogen. the hydrogen level in the material must be held to a certain maximum level..e. For example. H8. SMAW electrodes can be used for tack welding without preheat if the electrode has an H4 designator.. The Fracture Control Plan of the AWS Bridge Welding Code7 (AWS D1. Furthermore. a logarithmic system (i. according to AWS D1. Although category H2 is labeled "low hydrogen. In Annex XI. and H2). The filler metal manufacturer may choose to add the hydrogen designator to the electrode classification if the filler metal meets the diffusible hydrogen requirements in the applicable AWS A5. 10 and 5 mL/100g. . This code requires the following for welding Fracture Critical Members: • • H16.g. Today. These designators are in the form of a suffix on the electrode classification (e. Microstructure susceptibility to hydrogen induced cracking often increases with increasing steel strength. H8 or H4. category H1 is called an "extra low hydrogen" at less than 5 mL/100g. H3. Both use limits of 15. when the minimum specified yield strength is 50 ksi or less. and residual stresses. constraint (or restraint). is a hydrogen level that is not controlled.g. and the military specification has a stricter limit of 2 mL/100g for some applications. no definition exists for a "low hydrogen weld deposit. for higher strength steels lower levels of hydrogen are required..

then it should be listed separately from the hydrogen limits (if any). 1994. Supplemental hydrogen designators (e. rust and other hydrogen containing materials can increase hydrogen levels). Standard Welding Terms and Definitions.. the contractor should seek clarification before welding. acid. Stick Electrodes: Low Hydrogen Group References 1. or can other processes also be used?" 6. or if the specifications are not clear. A "low hydrogen electrode" refers only to a SMAW electrode that has a coating moisture of less than 0. Robert O’Con. welding procedures (electrical stickout. These should be considered as well.0-94). 2. utilizing the blanket statement "use low hydrogen" should be avoided. if "use low hydrogen electrodes only" is listed on the contract. 5. Conclusions 1. there are applications where low hydrogen electrodes are not required or where non-low hydrogen SMAW electrodes. 33-35. • • • • • base metal surface condition (contamination from oils.6%. H8 and H4) are the preferred way to define a specific level of diffusible hydrogen in the weld deposit and should be used when needed. 7. dirt. . 4. arc voltage. Job specifications should be written clearly and precisely regarding the use of "low hydrogen. then the contractor may want to ask: "Is only SMAW allowed. 2. grease. or even an H4. (ANSI/AWS A3. March/April 2000. "Welding with Low Hydrogen Electrodes: A Look at the Past with Tips for Today. are preferred. moisture. like E6010.g. welding shielding gas (higher moisture content results in higher hydrogen levels). 3. American Welding Society. "Low hydrogen" should not be specified in order to achieve specific impact properties." Practical Welding Today. The maximum diffusible hydrogen level associated with low hydrogen SMAW electrodes has been a point of confusion because SMAW electrodes with low hydrogen coatings are not tied to any specific hydrogen level. If a contractor has any questions regarding in the intent of the engineer. several other factors can influence the diffusible hydrogen level and the potential for cracking. consumable storage conditions (improper or prolonged storage can lead to higher hydrogen levels). wire feed speed and other parameters can influence diffusible hydrogen). electrode with controlled diffusible hydrogen alone provides no guarantee of eliminating problems related to hydrogen during or after welding. pp. In addition to the electrode. If notch toughness is required. Finally. relative atmospheric humidity (humid conditions generally lead to higher hydrogen levels). For example." The intent of the specifier should be listed in such a way that the contractor will understand what is required.Other Issues Using an H8. Therefore.

(AWS D1. 16. In the past. August 1995. 1993. even faster production is possible. Stava. The Lincoln Electric Company Open root welds on pipes can be made three to four times faster than GTAW by using the Surface Tension Transfer® a much faster process than GTAW.also known as MIG . whether for applications in the field or in the plant. American Welding Society. can be cost effective in terms of equipment but requires high operator skill. Structural Welding Code – Steel. (AWS D1. (FEMA 267). 9. American Welding Society. and Ferritic Steel Weld Metal Produced by Arc Welding. 7. 1985.1:2000). 1995. with no lack of fusion. p. p. Flux Cored. Military Specification – Electrodes – Welding. Technology Gets to the Root of Pipe Welding By Elliott K. Ordinary Strength and Low Alloy Steel. (MIL-E-24403/1D). Bainitic. pipe welding was done by one of three methods. (ANSI/AWS A5. Part 2. Specification for Carbon Steel Electrodes for Shielded Metal Arc Welding. 4. 8. Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) is popularly known as TIG. 1994. These are the methods that have been used.1-91). United States Military. American Bureau of Shipping. 2000. Frequent starts and stops are another potential problem. and it requires high operator skill level. especially for steam or pressurized applications.3. (AWS A4. Repair. Federal Emergency Management Agency. When integrated with an internal spacer clamp into a new automatic orbital pipe welding system. American Welding Society. Travel speeds are slow. a weld must penetrate completely through the pipe. require high-quality root pass welding. American Welding Society. each of which has its advantages and disadvantages. fusion may not always be 100 percent. Interim Guidelines: Evaluation. heat input is usually high. However. also known as stick. .5-95). Standard Methods for Determination of Diffusible Hydrogen Content of Martensitic. because operator skill level is hight and heat input difficult to control.3-93). Gas metal arc welding (GMAW) . 5. 8-11. 1997. Bridge Welding Code. Modification and Design of Welded Steel Moment Frame Structures. Technical Advisor-Advanced Welding Technology. Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW). Rule Requirements for Materials and Welding. November 14. To ensure that the joints will not leak. Pipe welding codes. 6.

the power source adjusts current automatically to the instantaneous heat requirements of the arc. the Surface Tension Transfer (STT) process makes it possible to complete open root welds three or four times faster than GTAW. the process allows greater flexibility under all conditions. Spatter and smoke are reduced with this process. Reduced spatter also translates into significant cost savings because more of the electrode is applied to the weld joint. In open root pass pipe welding. The Smoke and Spatter are reduced when pipe joints are welded by means of the Surface STT process results in a complete back bead Tension Transfer (STT®) process. without shrinkage from the 12 to 6 o'clock weld positions. with better back beads and edge fusion. eliminating the incipient short. X-ray quality welds. Reducing spatter minimizes final weld surface preparation and allows the operator more welding time before the gun nozzle must be cleaned of accumulated spatter. because current control is independent of wire feed speed. It is unique in that it is neither constant current (CC) nor constant voltage (CV). with low heat input and no lack of fusion. Instead. For pipe welding. At the start of the cycle. not as spatter on the pipe and surrounding fixtures. fusion. the process also makes it easier to perform open gap root pass welding. and back bead. The STT process uses high frequency inverter technology with advanced waveform control to produce a high-quality weld with less spatter and smoke. Controlling Spatter and Smoke STT is a proprietary Lincoln Electric process that makes use of Wave Form Control Technology™ to control current precisely and rapidly during the entire welding cycle. whether the arc shielding gas is 100 percent CO2. This low-level current is maintained for a short time so that the surface tension forces can begin transferring the drop to . It is easier to operate than other processes.By contrast. Further cost savings are realized because larger diameter wire can be used. blends of argon and CO2 or helium mixtures for use with stainless steel. Also. the current is reduced immediately. yet produces consistent. the STT process controls the wave form of the welidng current for excellent penetration control. when the electrode shorts.

Next. the process makes it easy to control the temperature or fluidity of the puddle to ensure proper penetration and fusion. When a specific value is reached. This momentary pulse of current establishes the arc length and causes the arc to broaden and melt a wide surface area. A high level of pinch current is then applied to accelerate the transfer of the drop. penetration will be incomplete. If the arc is too far back on the puddle.the puddle. which eliminates cold lapping and promotes good fusion. forming a solid mechanical bridge. which produces very little spatter. When a short breaks. This is known as "suck back. Instead it controls the average voltage. the arc is reestablished and a high current known as peak current is applied. the operator must concentrate the arc on the lip or leading edge of the puddle to ensure proper penetration and fusion. They particularly appreciate the reduction in spatter when welding in the 6 o'clock position. the electrode shoots through the gap and causes whiskers to form inside the pipe. The constant voltage GMAW process normally used for pipe welding does not control the current directly. Better Pipe Welding Results Spacer clamp and welding shed on-site and ready for set up. Because Surface Tension Transfer controls the welding current independently of wire feed speed. the operator simply has to stay in the puddle. it does so at a low current. This can cause the weld puddle temperature or fluidity to be too high." Also. the pinch current is reduced quickly to a low value before the fuse separates. when using conventional short arc GMAW. both in ease of welding and comfort. and the internal bead may be flat or shrink back into the root. The necking down or squeezing of the shorted electrode is monitored. . In the 5G position. If the arc is too far ahead. This is what makes it so attractive for open root pipe welding applications. Experienced pipe welders almost always find the process a welcome improvement.

as well as stainless steel and related alloys. outside vendor support). and travel speeds three or four times that of GTAW can be obtained. The process is effective for welding mild and high-strength steels. A Guide to Aluminum Welding Reprinted courtesy of Welding Design and Fabrication magazine. Welding Technique. To overcome these challenges.. Also. preparing base materials. The STT process is gaining acceptance in pipe welding and similar applications. Welders find that not only are open root welds easier to make. When welding duplex stainless. . leaving any oxide on the surface of the base material will inhibit penetration of the filler metal into the workpiece. including safety devices. Gas-metal-arc-welding: Base-metal preparation: To weld aluminum. feeding aluminum welding wire during gas-metal-arc-welding (GMAW) presents a challenge because the wire is softer than steel. open root welds are made without the use of ceramic or copper internal backup. Higher thermal conductivity and low melting point of aluminum alloys can easily lead to burnthrough unless welders follow prescribed procedures. Moreover. which require precise control of heat input as well as smoke and spatter reduction. Superior welding bead profiles can be attained with improved properties in the heat affected zone. and service and maintenance requirements (internal vs. applying proper technique. it offers the advantages of low hydrogen and 100 percent CO2 shielding with low spatter. Material Prep.700 F while the base-material aluminum underneath will melt at 1. Even for those experienced in welding steels. corrosion is thus eliminated by avoiding the possibility of copper inclusions. has a lower column strength. with much less skill. and tends to tangle at the drive roll.. Aluminum oxide on the surface of the material melts at 3. critical pitting temperature is significantly better with STT than with GTAW. operators need to follow the rules of thumb and equipment-selection guidelines offered here. the vendor and the fabricator will continue working together to determine the appropriate system accessories. operators must take care to clean the base material and remove any aluminum oxide and hydrocarbon contamination from oils or cutting solvents. manpower and training requirements. A Guide to Aluminum Welding Reprinted courtesy of Welding Design and Fabrication magazine. Therefore. Equipment Selection.. On steel. welding aluminum alloys can present quite a challenge.. the internal backbead profile is also controlled.As the decision process evolves. In the case of copper. Follow the rules of thumb offered here for selecting welding equipment. the optimal layout for the robotic cell. Since the heat is controlled directly. but their mechanical and metallurgical properties are excellent. and visually inspecting weldments to ensure high-quality gas-metal-and gas tungsten-arc welds on aluminum alloys.200 F.

As the weld cools. a shielding-gas mixture combining argon with helium . This process produces . Pulse transfer is usually performed with an inverter power supply. Power-source selection: When selecting a power source for GMAW of aluminum. Shielding Gas: Argon. In addition.75 percent helium maximum . Spray-arc takes a tiny stream of molten metal and sprays it across the arc from the electrode wire to the base material. welders should build-up craters to form a convex or mound shape. Travel speed: Aluminum welding needs to be performed "hot and fast. the convex shape of the crater will compensate for contraction forces. Check that the degreaser does not contain any hydrocarbons. For thick aluminum that requires welding current in excess of 350 A. the welder risks excessive burnthrough. the easier it will be to weld the alloy. When using chemical etching solutions. The push technique: With aluminum. since the surface of the crater contracts and tears as it cools. The larger the wire diameter. particularly on thin-gage aluminum sheet. Newer power supplies contain built-in pulsing procedures based on and filler-wire type and diameter. cc produces optimum results. To minimize the risk of hydrocarbons from oils or cutting solvents entering the weld. make sure to remove them from the work before welding. try using run-on and run-off tabs. if cold lapping occurs. The more the operator can narrow-down the melting range of the metal./min . Welding 5XXX-series aluminum alloys. During pulsed GMAW. Also. Cracking results from the high rate of thermal expansion of aluminum and the considerable contractions that occur as welds cool. is the most common shielding gas used when welding aluminum. first consider the method of transfer -spray-arc or pulse.To remove aluminum oxides.100 to 300 in. the high thermal conductivity of aluminum dictates use of hotter amperage and voltage settings and higher weld-travel speeds. Preheating: Preheating the aluminum workpiece can help avoid weld cracking. use the brush only on aluminum work-don't clean aluminum with a brush that's been used on stainless or carbon steel. Welding wire: Select an aluminum filler wire that has a melting temperature similar to the base material.inch diameter. Preheating temperature should not exceed 230 F-use a temperature indicator to prevent overheating. Welders should also preheat a thick piece of aluminum when welding it to a thin piece.will minimize the formation of magnesium oxide. and improved shielding-gas coverage. reduced weld well. pushing the gun away from the weld puddle rather than pulling it will result in better cleaning action. When using a stainless-steel brush. crater cracking causes most failures. remove them with a degreaser. To weld thin-gage material. placing tack welds at the beginning and end of the area to be welded will aid in the preheating effort. If travel speed is too slow. Convex-shaped welds: In aluminum welding.035-inch diameter wire combined with a pulsed-welding procedure at a low wire-feed speed ." Unlike steel. an 0. Obtain wire that is 3/64or 1/16. Constant-current (cc) and constant-voltage (cv) machines can be used for sprayarc welding. Therefore. the easier it feeds. brush only in one direction. Take care to not brush too roughly: rough brushing can further imbed the oxides in the work piece. The risk of cracking is greatest with concave craters. due to its good cleaning action and penetration profile. use a stainless-steel bristle wire brush or solvents and etching solutions. a droplet of filler metal transfers from the electrode to the workpiece during each pulse of current.

Welding guns: Use a separate gun liner for welding aluminum.) in which the mechanical and physical properties of the base materials cannot be duplicated at the joint. By applying intense heat. with an intermediate molten filler metal. easing out-of-position welding and allowing the operator to weld on thin-gage material at low wire-feed speeds and currents. Use a contact tip approximately 0. This is in sharp contrast to non-fusion processes of joining (i. try to restrain both ends of the liner to eliminate gaps between the liner and the gas diffuser on the gun. Wire feeder: The preferred method for feeding soft aluminum wire long distances is the push-pull method. 1994. keep the gun cable as straight as possible to minimize wire-feed resistance. Change liners often to minimize the potential for the abrasive aluminum oxide to cause wire-feeding problems. Check for proper alignment between drive rolls and guide tubes to prevent aluminum shaving. To prevent wire chaffing. In some shops. Upon cooling and solidification. the use of plastic or Teflon liners will help ensure smooth. Both conditions can lead to an unstable arc and weld porosity. which employs an enclosed wire-feed cabinet to protect the wire from the environment. brazing etc. Using the pulsed GMAW process on aluminum also better-controls heat input. Generally.e. too-little tension results in uneven feeding.positive droplet transfer and results in less spatter and faster follow speeds than does spray-transfer welding. a metallurgical bond is created. Arc welding is one of several fusion processes for joining metals. Since the joining is an intermixture of metals. Set drive-roll tension to deliver an even wire-feed rate. it will expand into an oval shape and possibly restrict wire feeding.directly. . or more commonly. For guide tubes. In this case. When welding. consistent aluminum-wire feeding. metal at the joint between two parts is melted and caused to intermix .015 inch larger than the diameter of the filler metal being used . A high-torque motor in the welding gun pulls the wire through and keeps wire-feed speed and arc length consistent. Use drive rolls designed for the tip heats. use chisel-type outgoing and plastic incoming tubes to support the wire as close to the drive rolls as possible to prevent the wire from tangling. when a welding current exceeds 200 A use a watercooled gun to minimize heat buildup and reduce wire-feeding difficulties Arc-Welding Fundamentals The Lincoln Electric Company. Excessive tension will deform the wire and cause rough and erratic feeding. the final weldment potentially has the same strength properties as the metal of the parts. A constant-torque variable-speed motor in the wire-feed cabinet helps push and guide the wire through the gun at a constant force and speed. soldering. welders use the same wire feeders to deliver steel and aluminum wire.

fitted with whatever controls may be needed. vapor. Shielding also may improve the weld. Metals at high temperatures tend to react chemically with elements in the air oxygen and nitrogen. Or. An AC or DC power source. which makes an electrical contact with the welding electrode. or slag. Most welding in the manufacture of steel products uses the second type of electrode. it may be a specially prepared rod or wire that not only Fig. This shielding prevents or minimizes contact of the molten metal with air. The arc produces a temperature of about 6500ºF at the tip. many arc-welding processes provide some means of covering the arc and the molten pool with a protective shield of gas. producing a pool of molten metal sometimes called a "crater. the intense heat needed to melt metal is produced by an electric arc. yet still with in close contact. The electrode can either be a rod with the purpose of simply carrying the current between the tip and the work. 1 The basic arc-welding circuit conducts the current but also melts and supplies filler metal to the joint. An example is a granular flux." The crater solidifies behind the electrode as it is moved along the joint. which actually adds deoxidizers to the weld. Therefore. This is called arc shielding.In arc welding. An arc is created across the gap when the energized circuit and the electrode tip touches the workpiece and is withdrawn. When metal in the molten pool comes into contact with air. This heat melts both the base metal and the electrode. The result is a fusion bond. Arc Shielding However. . joining metals requires more than moving an electrode along a joint. The arc is formed between the actual work and an electrode (stick or wire) that is manually or mechanically guided along the joint. Basic Welding Circuit The basic arc-welding circuit is illustrated in Fig. 1. is connected by a work cable to the workpiece and by a "hot" cable to an electrode holder of some type. oxides and nitrides form which destroy the strength and toughness of the weld joint.

2 This shows how the coating on a coated (stick) electrode provides a gaseous shield around the arc and a slag covering on the hot weld deposit. Fig. This is caused by either supplying an initial voltage high enough to cause a discharge or by touching the electrode to the work and then withdrawing it as the contact area becomes heated. The arc itself is a very complex phenomenon. Nature of the Arc An arc is an electric current flowing between two electrodes through an ionized column of gas.Figure 2 illustrates the shielding of the welding arc and molten pool with a Stick electrode. Spray Arc . In-depth understanding of the physics of the arc is of little value to the welder. Several mechanisms for metal transfer exist. Negative and positive ions are bounced off of each other in the plasma column at an accelerated rate. More of the heat developed by the arc is transferred to the weld pool with consumable electrodes. Surface Tension Transfer® . (great for overhead welding!) If an electrode is consumable. This produces higher thermal efficiencies and narrower heat-affected zones. Filler metal is melted into the joint from a separate rod or wire. A negatively charged cathode and a positively charged anode create the intense heat of the welding arc. . The arc must be ignited. and the metal being welded. the tip melts under the heat of the arc and molten droplets are detached and transported to the work through the arc column.the drop is ejected from the molten metal at the electrode tip by an electric pinch propelling it to the molten pool. the arc atmosphere. the mere switching on of the welding current with an electrically cold electrode posed over it will not start the arc. In welding. Two (of many) examples include: 1. but under certain conditions must also supply the means to transport the molten metal from the tip of the electrode to the work. the arc not only provides the heat needed to melt the electrode and the base metal. but some knowledge of its general characteristics can be useful. Arc welding may be done with direct current (DC) with the electrode either positive or negative or alternating current (AC). Any arc welding system in which the electrode is melted off to become part of the weld is described as metal-arc. the type of electrode. In carbon or tungsten (TIG) welding there are no molten droplets to be forced across the gap and onto the work. 2. The choice of current and polarity depends on the process.a drop of molten metal touches the molten metal pool and is drawn into it by surface tension. Since there must be an ionized path to conduct electricity across a gap. The extruded covering on the filler metal rod. provides a shielding gas at the point of contact while the slag protects the fresh weld from the air.

In addition to changing the wire. II. oil..Common Problems and Remedies for GMAW Reprinted with permission from the September/October. GMAW is said to be one of the easiest to learn and perform. zirconium or titanium in addition to the silicon and manganese. ER70S-3 (Lincoln L50) which contains 0. IL In much the same way that the automatic transmission has simplified the process of driving.8 percent).75 percent silicon. rust. I.15 percent) and manganese (1. Welding processes that generate a slag such as Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) or Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW) tend to tolerate surface contaminates better than GMAW since components found within the slag help to clean the metal’s surface. Remedies To control porosity. Because less skill is required. The guidelines listed below will help even inexperienced operators create high quality welds as well as offering tips for those who have been using the GMAW process for a number of years. many operators are able to GMA weld at an acceptable level with limited training.8 -1. the only contamination protection is provided by the elements which are alloyed into the wire. Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) has simplified the process of welding. use a deoxidizer within the wire such as silicon.45-0. 1997 issue of Practical Welding Today magazine.4 percent manganese and 0. manganese or trace amounts of aluminum. Most common welding problems fall into four categories: I. III. If porosity is still present in the finished weld. Faulty wire delivery related to equipment set-up and maintenance. zirconium or titanium.4-1. To start. increase the amount of silicon and manganese found in the wire by switching to an ER70S-4 (Lincoln L54) or an ER70S-6 which has the highest levels of silicon (0. when they begin creating inferior welds and are unable to diagnose and correct their own problems. Wire chemistry can be determined by referring to the American Welding Society (AWS) wire classification system. much like the sophisticated electronics of an automatic transmission. however. try the most common wire type. Improper weld bead profile.) A word of . Of all welding methods. further prevent porosity by cleaning the surface of the metal with a grinder or chemical solvents (such as a degreaser. Test the various types of wire available to find the right chemistry for a given application. Some operators prefer to use a triple deoxidizer such as ER70S-2 (Lincoln L52) which contains aluminum. Rockford. The main reason is because the power source does virtually all the work as it adjusts welding parameters to handle differing conditions. These same operators run into trouble.9-1. paint or grease on the base metal may prevent proper weld penetration and hence lead to porosity. Lack of fusion. Weld Metal Porosity Porosity Problem #1: Improper Surface Conditions The most common cause of weld porosity is an improper surface condition of the metal. In GMAW. and IV. For example. Weld porosity. Ltd. copyright 1997 by The Croydon Group.

the gas will lay over the weld puddle much like a blanket. Typical gas flow should be approximately 30-40 cubic feet per hour. it is advisable not to GMA weld when wind speeds are greater than 5 mph. or spatter build-up in the gas diffuser. use equipment designed specifically for this purpose such as MAGNUM™ Extraction Guns from Lincoln Electric -. cables. it may be necessary to erect wind screens. If the shielding gas is disturbed. transfer mode and wind speed. II. Remedies Shielding gas flow varies depending on wire size. there is not much that can be done. Using a flow meter. Indoors. computerized models. gas lines. Remedy Unfortunately. If high winds are blowing the shielding gas away from the puddle.the fume may react with the arc and produce toxic gases. Other possible causes of insufficient gas flow may be damaged guns. Porosity Problem#3: Base Metal Properties Another cause of weld porosity may be attributed simply to the chemistry of the base metal. the base metal may be extremely high in sulfur content. If fume extraction is necessary. The GMAW process relies on the shielding gas to physically protect the weld puddle from the air and to act as an arc stabilizer. Improper Weld Bead Profile . ventilation systems may hamper gas coverage. redirect air flow away from the puddle. there is a potential that air could contaminate the weld puddle and lead to porosity. Some operators mistakenly think that a pressure regulator is all that is needed. For instance. Turbulent gas flow can be caused by too high a flow. A turbulent flow of gas as it exits the gun may also lead to porosity problems. be certain not to use a chlorinated degreaser such as trichlorethylene near the welding arc -. A pure carbon dioxide shielding gas requires the use of special flow meters designed specifically for carbon dioxide. These damaged accessories may create what is referred to as a “venturi effect” where air is sucked in through these openings and flow is reduced. Porosity Problem #2: Gas Coverage The second leading cause of porosity in welds is a problem with the shielding gas coverage. According to the AWS Structural Welding Code. amperage. These special flow meters are not affected by the frosting that may occur as the carbon dioxide changes from liquid form to a gas.caution though if using solvents. In this case. check that the shielding gas flow is set properly. but the pressure meter will not set flow.they will remove the fume. The best solution is to use a different grade of steel or switch to a slag-generating welding process. There are a variety of flow meters on the market today ranging from simple dial gauges to ball flows all the way up to sophisticated. an excessive amount of spatter inside the gun nozzle. Ideally. if the problem with porosity lies within the base metal properties. Try to weld with a push or forehand technique which lays the gas blanket out ahead of the arc and lets the gas settle into the joint. but not disturb the shielding gas. welding with a drag or backhand technique can lead to gas coverage problems. Lastly. hoses or loose gas fittings.

III. that provide guidelines on amperage use under varying conditions. the operator will have problems controlling the process and the weld will have a tendency to undercut. Voltage that is too low usually is accompanied by another telltale sign of a problem: a high amount of spatter. On the other hand. the wire directly touches the weld pool and a short circuit in the system causes the end of the wire to melt and detach a droplet. but none of the metal has actually been joined together. it is recommended to use a push angle of 5-10 degrees. Charts are available from the major manufacturers. low quality weld and may ultimately lead to structural problems in the finished product. The higher the current and longer the distance. this may indicate a problem with heat input or technique.a steady hiss will indicate that voltage is too high and the operator is prone to undercut. there is insufficient heat in the weld to enable it to penetrate into the base metal. Remedies To correct a problem with running “too cold. the arc will make a crackling sound. For example. Lack of Fusion If the consumable has improperly adhered to the base metal. while a loud. The arc sound can also indicate problems -. a lack of fusion may occur. including Lincoln Electric. Remedy Work cables have a tendency to overheat if they are too small or excessively worn. consult a chart to determine size based on length and current being used. Lack of Fusion Problem: Cold Lapping in the Short Arc Transfer Process In short arc transfer. but there is not enough energy left to fuse it to the base plate. an arc should have a steady buzz. This shorting happens 40 to 200 times per second. Since lack of fusion is difficult to detect visually. . Improper fusion creates a weak. Remedy For best bead shapes. in short arc transfer at low amperages. A properly running arc will have a certain sound. One way to check if the voltage is set properly is to test it by listening. the weld will have a good appearance. At high amperages using spray arc transfer. Evidence of a work cable problem would be improper bead shape or a hot work cable. if voltage is too high. If the amperage is determined to be high enough. a push or forehand technique tends to create a flatter bead shape than a pull or backhand technique. raspy sound may indicate voltage that is too low. In other words. For instance. check the voltage. Improper Bead Problem #1: Insufficient Heat Input A convex or “ropy” bead indicates that the settings being used are too cold for the thickness of the material being welded. In replacing the cable. In these cases. Fusion problems may occur when the metal in the weld pool is melted. Improper Bead Problem #2: Technique A concave or convex-shaped bead may also be caused by using an improper welding technique. Improper Bead Problem #3: Inadequate Work Cable Problems with the work cable can result in inadequate voltage available at the arc.If operators are experiencing a convex-shaped or concave-shaped bead.” an operator must first determine if the amperage is proper for the thickness of the material. the larger the cable needed.

which can lead to contact problems. like the contact tip. Visually inspect the tip and if it is wearing out (becoming egg-shaped). must be sized to the wire being fed through it. The optimum tension will be indicated by feeding that is not stopped while pinching the wire. Remedy: If the gun becomes extremely hot during use in one particular area. For example. changing to a flux-cored wire or using the spray arc transfer method instead. the arc never goes out so cold lapping and lack of fusion are not issues. it will need to be replaced. Faulty Wire Delivery Problem #1: Contact Tip There is a tendency among operators to use oversized tips. If the operator is still having problems after making those adjustments. Faulty Wire Delivery Problem #2: Gun Liner A gun liner. make sure that the contact tip in the gun is in working order and sized appropriately to the wire being used. IV. ensure that voltage and amperage are set correctly. To check tension. that is an indication that there is internal damage and it will need to be replaced. Faulty Wire Delivery If the wire is not feeding smoothly or if the operator is experiencing a chattering sound within the gun cable. blow it out with low-pressure compressed air from the contact tip end. Also. Faulty Wire Delivery Problem #4: Drive Roll Drive rolls on the wire feeder periodically wear out and need to be replaced. but if the gun is too small for the application. it may require a change in the welding technique. it will overheat. disconnect the welding input cable from the feeder or switch to the cold feed option. more drive roll tension is needed. Remedies: There are usually visual indications of wear on the grooves of the rolls if replacement is necessary. Most of the problems related to wire delivery are attributed to equipment set-up and maintenance. ultrasonic or bend testing. Feed the wire and pinch it as it exits the gun with the thumb and forefinger. porosity and poor bead must be checked by dye-penetrant. If the drive roll tension is too high. Remedies: First. make sure that the drive roll tension is set properly. In addition. there may be a problem with the wire delivery system. it may deform . be certain that the gun is large enough for the application. Remedy: To clean the liner. It also needs to be cleaned or replaced when wire is not being fed smoothly. inconsistencies in the arc. Faulty Wire Delivery Problem #3: Worn Out Gun Inside the gun are very fine strands of copper wire that will eventually break and wear out with time. Spray arc welding takes place at amperages high enough to melt the end of the wire and propel the droplet across the arc into the weld puddle. or replace the liner. If the wire can be stopped by pinching. Operators like to use small guns since they are easy on the hand. Remedies: To guarantee correct fusion. In spray arc transfer.

the wire leading to birdnesting (tangling) and a burn back (when the arc climbs the wire and fuses the wire to the contact tip. Next. 3-1 Changes in the properties of steel with increases in temperature complicate analysis of what happens during the welding cycle . The wire must line up with the incoming guide tubes so there is no scrapping of the wire as it goes through the tube. thus. check the path from where the wire leaves the reel to where it enters the drive rolls. Most wire feeding systems have an adjustable brake on the wire reel. This article will help to define what weld distortion is and then provide a practical understanding of the causes of distortion. On some wire feeders. such as physical and mechanical properties that change as heat is applied. For . effects of shrinkage in various types of welded assemblies and how to control it.) Make sure that the drive rolls and the guide tube are as close together as possible. the wire on the reel will loosen and the wire may come off or become tangled. (warping of the base plate caused by heat from the welding arc). By following these four guidelines. the wire spool position is adjustable -. a GMAW operator new to the world of welding or even someone more experienced should have an easier time diagnosing problems before they affect the quality of the work. but one of the most critical is the potential creation of a weld that is not structurally sound. Faulty Wire Delivery Problem #5: Wire Coming Off Reel and Tangling Some wire feeding problems occur because the inertia from the wire reel causes it to coast after the gun trigger is released. understanding of the factors contributing to weldment distortion. During this heating and cooling cycle. Doing all welding on one side of a part will cause much more distortion than if the welds are alternated from one side to the other. Prevention and Control of Weld Distortion Beginning welders and even those that are more experienced commonly struggle with the problem of weld distortion.and.align it so that it makes a straight path into the tube. control. Remedy: If the reel continues to coast. and finally look at methods for distortion Fig. The brake tension should be set so that the reel does not coast. What is Weld Distortion? Distortion in a weld results from the expansion and contraction of the weld metal and adjacent base metal during the heating and cooling cycle of the welding process. Distortion is troublesome for a number of reasons. many factors affect shrinkage of the metal and lead to distortion.

during heating. As the metal cools to room temperature it contracts uniformly to its original dimensions. thus. The bar is now shorter. Shrinkage Control . 3-2. But in actuality.) Fig. yield strength. consider the bar of steel shown in Fig. as shown in Fig. As the deformed bar returns to room temperature. But if the steel bar is restrained -as in a vise . as shown in Fig. Several ways can be used to minimize distortion caused by shrinkage: 1. it expands in all directions. methods must be used both in design and during welding to overcome the effects of the heating and cooling cycle. 3-2 (c). the deformed bar contracts uniformly. On cooling. At this point. it will expand in all directions and return to its original dimentions on cooling. Shrinkage cannot be prevented. The amount of weld metal in a fillet weld can be minimized by the use of a flat or slightly convex bead. If restrained.while it is heated. Do not overweld The more metal placed in a joint. the bar expands in a vertical direction (in thickness) and becomes thicker.the weld will contain locked-in tensile stresses approximately equal to the yield strength of the metal. the sketches show this distortion occurring in thickness only. thus adjusting to the volume requirements of the lower temperature. length is similarly affected. It has been permanently deformed. If the restraints (clamps that hold the workpiece. lateral expansion cannot take place. while thermal expansion and specific heat increase (Fig. But. since volume expansion must occur during the heating. it attempts to contract to the volume it would normally occupy at the lower temperature. This is a simplified explanation of basic cause of distortion in welding assemblies. 3-2(b). is permanently deformed.What You Can Do to Minimize Distortion To prevent or minimize weld distortion. or an opposing shrinkage force) are removed. it can expand only in the vertical direction . but it is restrained from doing so by the adjacent base metal. as in Fig. As the bar is uniformly heated. and thermal conductivity of the steel plate decrease. as the temperature of the weld area increases. Because of this.example. it is in its maximum expanded from. elasticity. as in (a). in turn. but also saves weld metal and time. as in (b). the greater the shrinkage forces. and in a butt joint by . stresses develop within the weld and the adjacent base metal. thus distorting the weldment. but it can be controlled. Correctly sizing a weld for the requirements of the joint not only minimizes distortion.become thicker. these same expansion and contraction forces act on the weld metal and on the base metal. the residual stresses are partially relieved as they cause the base metal to move. 3-1). (For simplification. These changes. it will still tend to contract uniformly in all directions. In a welded joint. By the time the weld reaches room temperature assuming complete restraint of the base metal so that it cannot move . and. affect heat flow and uniformity of heat distribution. or distorted. as shown in (c). 3-2(a). As the weld metal solidifies and fuses with the base metal. But only those stresses that exceed the yield strength of the weld metal are relieved by this straining. but thicker. 3-2 If a steel bar is uniformly heated while unrestrained. the weld stretches (or yields) and thins out. On cooling. Reasons for Distortion To understand how and why distortion occurs during heating and cooling of a metal.

Shrinkage caused by each pass tends to be cumulative. . Fig. select the most economical joint. 3-7(f). The excess weld metal in a highly convex bead does not increase the allowable strength in code work. design of the assembly and proper sequence of welding are important factors. If distortion is a problem. too.proper edge preparation and fitup. offsets one shrinkage force with another to effectively minimize distortion of the weldment. When welding heavy plate (over 1 inch thick) bevelling or even double bevelling can save a substantial amount of weld metal which translates into much less distortion automatically. Both design of the weldment and welding sequence can be used effectively to control distortion. 3-7(c). select either a joint in which the weld stresses balance each other or a joint requiring the least amount of weld metal. 5. 2. Here. Use as few weld passes as possible Fewer passes with large electrodes. Place welds near the neutral axis Distortion is minimized by providing a smaller leverage for the shrinkage forces to pull the plates out of alignment. intermittent welds can reduce the weld metal by as much as 75 percent yet provide the needed strength. For attaching stiffeners to plate. shown in Fig. thereby increasing total shrinkage when many passes are used. if distortion is not a problem. as in Fig. Balance welds around the neutral axis This practice. 4. are preferable to a greater number of passes with small electrodes when transverse distortion could be a problem. 3-7(d). but it does increase shrinkage forces. Figure 3-7(e) illustrates this. for example. In general. 3. Use intermittent welding Another way to minimize weld metal is to use intermittent rather than continuous welds where possible.

but each bead segment is deposited from right to left as in Fig. expansion along outer edges CD brings the plates back lengthened when the plates are preset. and the welded plates assume the desired flatness. is a simple example of the use of opposing mechanical forces to counteract distortion due to welding. Several assemblies. The top of the weld groove . . the general progression of welding may be. 3-7(I). from left to right. This separation is most pronounced as the first bead is laid. When the clamps are released after welding. Use backstep welding In the backstep technique. 3-7(h). Thus the completed weld is slightly longer than it would be if it had been made on the flat plate. the heated edges expand. With successive beads. 7. Prebending. Backstepping may not be effective in all applications. the plates return to the flat shape. I thought that this was referring to overhead or vertical welding positions. which temporarily separates the plates at B.or use constructively .which will contain the bulk of the weld metal . But as the heat moves out across the plate to C. As each bead segment is placed. 3-7 Distortion can be prevented or minimized by techniques that defeat . Another common practice for balancing shrinkage forces is to position identical Fig. which is not the case) before welding can make shrinkage perform constructive work. allowing the weld to relieve its longitudinal shrinkage stresses by shortening to a straight line.6. preset in this manner. and it cannot be used economically in automatic welding. The two actions coincide. presetting or prespringing the parts to be welded. Anticipate the shrinkage forces Presetting parts (at first glance. Fig. the plates expand less and less because of the restraint of prior welds. say.the effects of the heating and cooling cycle. The required amount of preset for shrinkage to pull the plates into alignment can be determined from a few trial welds. are shown in Fig. 3-7(g).

weldments back to back. in a fillet weld. the rigidity of the members and their arrangement relative to each other may provide the balancing forces needed. 1 is balanced by the shrinkage in weld No. 8. The opposing forces may be: other shrinkage forces. In these examples. This does not occur. Clamps. This can be accomplished by balancing one shrinkage force against another or by creating an opposing force through the fixturing. Generally. because of the danger of either concealing a crack or causing one. thus relieving (by plastic deformation) the stresses induced by contraction as the metal cools. particularly. the shrinkage in weld No. It was mentioned earlier in this section that the restraining force provided by clamps increases internal stresses in the weldment until the yield point of the weld metal is reached. even though there have been instances where betweenpass peening proved to be the only solution for a distortion or cracking problem.000 psi. however. jigs. But this method must be used with care. restraining forces imposed by clamps. it is necessary to use other means to counteract the shrinkage forces in the weld metal. The welds are completed on both assemblies and allowed to cool before the clamps are released. jigs. Before peening is used on a job. An example of this is welding alternately on both sides of the neutral axis in making a complete joint penetration groove weld in a butt joint. Plan the welding sequence A well-planned welding sequence involves placing weld metal at different points of the assembly so that. a root bead should never be peened. the utility of the technique is limited. restraining forces arising from the arrangement of members in the assembly. because of the possibility of covering a crack and interfering with inspection. engineering approval should be . Fig. 3-7(k). Essentially. In heavy weldments. If these natural balancing forces are not present. Remove shrinkage forces after welding Peening is one way to counteract the shrinkage forces of a weld bead as it cools. 2. 3-7(l). peening is not permitted on the final pass. peening the bead stretches it and makes it thinner. and because of the undesirable work-hardening effect. Thus. consists of making intermittent welds according to the sequences shown in Fig. this stress level would approximate 45. 9. as the structure shrinks in one place. it counteracts the shrinkage forces of welds already made. since the strain (unit contraction) from this stress is very low compared to the amount of movement that would occur if no restraint were used during welding. and fixtures that lock parts into a desired position and hold them until welding is finished are probably the most widely used means for controlling distortion in small assemblies or components. or the force from the sag in a member due to gravity. as in Fig. For typical welds on low-carbon plate. 3-7(j). clamping them tightly together. For example. Prebending can be combined with this method by inserting wedges at suitable positions between the parts before clamping. Another example. or fixtures. One might expect this stress to cause considerable movement or distortion after the welded part is removed from the jig or clamps.

thus. a watercooled jig (Fig. 3-33 A water-cooled jig for rapid removal of heat when welding sheet meta. followed by controlled cooling. Thermal Stress Relieving Fig. Other Techniques for Distortion Control Water-Cooled Jig Various techniques have been developed to control distortion on specific weldments. Clips are welded to the edge of one plate and wedges are driven under the clips to force the edges into alignment and to hold them during welding. 35 volts. . In sheet-metal welding. The use of mechanized welding equipment reduces welding time and the amount of metal affected by heat and. The weld made with the higher heat input generally results in a greater amount of distortion. depositing a given-size weld on thick plate with a process operating at 175 amp. the fillet weld size (in inches) is equal to the square root of the quantity of the heat input (kJ/in) divided by 500. and the water is circulated through the tubes during welding. Sometimes two identical weldments are clamped back to back. welding current. and since time is required for heat transmission. type and size of electrode. (note: I don't want to use the words "excessive" and "more than necessary" because the weld size is. Strongback The "strongback" is another useful technique for distortion control during butt welding of plates. The residual stresses that would tend to distort the weldments are thus minimized. tied to the heat input. and speed of travel. affect the degree of shrinkage and distortion of a weldment. the time factor affects distortion. as in Fig.500 joules of energy per linear inch of weld (also known as heat input). and 3 ipm requires 87. Another method for removing shrinkage forces is by thermal stress relieving controlled heating of the weldment to an elevated temperature. and 8 ipm requires 81. in fact. 3-33) is useful to carry heat away from the welded components. and then stress-relieved while being held in this straight condition. it is desirable to finish the weld quickly. distortion. In general. The restraint of the clamps also helps minimize distortion. For example. welded. for example. Copper tubes are brazed or soldered to copper holding clamps. before a large volume of surrounding metal heats up and expands. Thus these two welds are most likely not the same size.obtained. consequently. 25 volts. A weld with approximately the same size produced with a process operating at 310 amp. In general. The welding process used. Minimize welding time Since complex cycles of heating and cooling take place during welding. 3-34(a).400 joules per linear inch. 10.

follow the checklist below in order to minimize distortion in the design and fabrication of weldments: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Do not overweld. Storing and Re-drying Stick Electrodes .Except in special situations. however. Consider double-sided joints instead of single-sided joints. This generally means high deposition rates and higher travel speeds. Use welding positioners to achieve the maximum amount of flat-position welding. Control fitup. Prebend the members or preset the joints to let shrinkage pull them back into alignment. There are occasions. fixtures. The flat position permits the use of large-diameter electrodes and high-deposition-rate welding procedures. stress relief by heating is not used for correcting distortion. For groove welds. Sequence subassemblies and final assemblies so that the welds being made continually balance each other around the neutral axis of the section. and strongbacks to maintain fitup and alignment. Use the smallest leg size permissible when fillet welding. when stress relief is necessary to prevent further distortion from occurring before the weldment is finished. Use low heat input procedures. Weld alternately on either side of the joint when possible with multiple-pass welds. Summary: A Checklist to Minimize Distortion In summary. Distribute the welding heat as evenly as possible through a planned welding sequence and weldment positioning. Use clamps. Weld toward the unrestrained part of the member. Balance welds about the neutral axis of the member. use joints that will minimize the volume of weld metal. Following these techniques will help minimize the effects of distortion and residual stresses. Use intermittent welds where possible and consistent with design requirements. Use minimal number of weld passes.

Operational characteristics may be affected as well. even those with an "R" suffix. Unopened Lincoln hermetically sealed containers provide excellent protection in good storage conditions. Depending upon the amount of moisture. difficult slag removal. it may be due to your storage methods or re-drying procedures. It also may cause excessive slag fluidity. Specific code requirements may indicate exposure limits different from these guidelines. When stick electrodes absorb moisture from the atmosphere. Follow these simple storage. . exposure and re-drying techniques to ensure the highest quality welds. a rough weld surface. Electrodes with too much moisture may lead to cracking or porosity. Moisture resistant types may be exposed for up to 9 hours. Detection of this condition requires x-ray inspection or destructive testing. particularly in steels with a yield strength of 80.000 psi (550 MPa) and higher. 2. If you've experienced unexplained weld cracking problems. If the base metal or weld metal exceeds 80. or if the stick electrode arc performance has deteriorated.Electrodes for Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) or stick electrodes must be properly stored in order to deposit quality welds. When containers are punctured or opened.000 psi (550 MPa) yield strength. will be less susceptible to this problem. and cracking. A relatively high amount of moisture in low hydrogen electrodes causes visible external porosity in addition to internal porosity. this moisture may contribute to under-bead or weld cracking. Storing Low Hydrogen Stick Electrodes Low hydrogen stick electrodes must be dry to perform properly. Opened cans should be stored in a cabinet at 250 to 300°F (120 to 150°C). Moisture resistant electrodes with an "R" suffix in their AWS classification have a high resistance to moisture pickup coating and. regardless of the yield strength of the steel being welded. low hydrogen electrodes may pick up moisture. they must be dried in order to restore their ability to deposit quality welds. Low hydrogen stick electrode coatings that have picked up moisture may result in hydrogen induced cracking. A greater amount of moisture in low hydrogen electrodes may cause porosity. it will damage weld quality in the following ways: 1. if properly stored. Standard EXX18 electrodes should be supplied to welders twice per shift. as well as the best operational characteristics from your stick electrodes. All low hydrogen stick electrodes should be stored properly.

Re-drying Low Hydrogen Stick Electrodes Re-drying. poor appearance and slag problems. severe porosity. Proper re-drying temperature depends upon the electrode type and its condition. Electrodes of the E8018 and higher strength classifications should be given no more than three one-hour re-dries in the 700 to 800°F (370 to 430°C) range. when done correctly. E11018 650 to 750°F (340 to 400°C) 700 to 800°F (370 to 430°C) 180 to 220°F (80 to 105°C) 650 to 750°F (340 to 400°C) 700 to 800°F (370 to 430°C) (1) Pre-dry for 1 to 2 hours. such as insufficient arc force. Any low hydrogen electrode should be discarded if excessive re-drying causes the coating to become fragile and flake or break off while welding. Electrodes to be re-dried should be removed from the can and spread out in the oven because each electrode must reach the drying temperature. Storing and Re-drying Non-Low Hydrogen Electrodes Electrodes in unopened Lincoln cans or cartons retain the proper moisture content indefinitely when stored in good condition. Several hours at lower temperatures is not equivalent to using the specified requirements. no direct contact with water.3. Electrodes which have come in direct contact with water or which have been exposed to high humidity. restores the electrodes' ability to deposit quality welds. E7018. E7028 E10018. E9018. Pre-drying Temperature(1) N/A E8018. Severe moisture pickup can cause weld cracks in addition to under-bead cracking. or if there is a noticeable difference in handling or arc characteristics. DO NOT dry electrodes at higher temperatures. One hour at the listed final temperature is satisfactory. This minimizes the possibility of oxidation of alloys in the coating resulting in lower than normal tensile or impact properties. .Low Hydrogen Stick Electrodes Final Re-drying Temperature Condition Electrodes exposed to air for less than one week. This will minimize the tendency for coating cracks or oxidation of the alloys in the coating. Re-Drying Conditions .

45 (200 to 260°C) minutes minutes at 200°F to 230°F (90 . If moisture appears to be a problem. Time Not Recommended N/A E7024: Jetweld 1.30 unusually damp (150 to 180°C) minutes electrodes for 30 . store electrodes from the opened containers in heated cabinets at 100 to 120°F (40 to 50°C). This will minimize the tendency for coating cracks or oxidation of the alloys in the coating.45 electrodes for 30 . rusty core wire at the holder end or objectionable coating blisters while welding. DO NOT use higher temperatures. particularly for electrodes from the "Fast Freeze" group.Excessive moisture is indicated by a noisy or "digging" arc. Re-baking of this group of stick electrodes is not recommended. SA-80(1) E9010-G: SA-90(1) Electrode Group Fast Freeze . E6012: E6013: E7014: E6022: Fleetweld Fleetweld Fleetweld Fleetweld 7 37 47 22 (1) Pre-dry for 1 to 2 hours.Non-Low Hydrogen Stick Electrodes Final Redrying Temperature Stick Electrode E6010: Fleetweld 5P.110°C) before final drying to minimize cracking of the coating. tight slag or undercut. Fill Freeze .110°C) before final drying to minimize cracking of the coating. Re-Drying Conditions . 3 E6027: Jetweld 2 Fast Fill . stick electrodes from opened containers may pick up enough moisture to affect operating characteristics or weld quality. Some electrodes from wet containers or long exposure to high humidity can be redried. Adhere to the procedures in the following table for each type. . high spatter.230°F (90° .If exposed to humid air for long periods of time.Excessive moisture is indicated by a noisy or "digging" arc. 35LS.Excessive moisture is indicated by a noisy arc and high spatter. 180 E7010-A1: SA-85(1) E7010-G: SA-HYP+(1) E8010-G: SA-70+(1). 5P+ E6011: Fleetweld 35. Pre-dry unusually damp 400 to 500°F 30 . Pre-dry 300 to 350°F 20 . high spatter. tight slag. or undercut.45 minutes at 200° .

you can’t pick a more userfriendly electrode! Operators appreciate Jetweld 1’s smooth bead and high deposition rates. and fast-fill single pass welds.Using longer drying times or higher temperatures can easily damage the electrodes. It offers a beautifully clean weld puddle. AC. DC+. excellent arc stability for excellent performance with power sources as DC+. painted. Also MR great for welding on steels with marginal weldability. It is especially effective for multi-pass welds and fast-fill single pass welds. Out-of-Position. designed Fleetweld 37 for excellent performance with smaller AC welders DCwith low open-circuit voltages. Operators love this easy-to-use. Mild Steel Stick Electrodes There’s a long list of reasons why operators are so loyal to Excalibur 7018 MR. It’s a terrific choice for jobs that involve steels with poor weldability. DC+ H4R uniform slag follow. 47 for sheet metal lap joints and fillet welds.Mild and Low Alloy Steels Click on Trade Name to view all Products offered in the Product family. For drying. They tell us they love the clean puddle. 7018-1 AC. DCWhen the job demands x-ray quality welds. outstanding stick choice for AC pipe welding. DCAC. When the job involves critical.especially in applications where appearance is important. or greasy steel. the easy all-position handling and the excellent wash-in 7018 MR H4R characteristics. Fleetweld 47 features high deposition rates for fast performance. high deposition rates. It’s an excellent choice for jobs involving irregular or short welds that require a change in position. DC- Fleetweld 35LS E6011 Fleetweld 180 E6011 Fleetweld 22 E6022 Fast-Fill. and smooth ripple-free beads make it a great choice for welding on mild steel. It's an DC+. and in jobs where x-ray quality welds are required. dirty. low as 50V open-circuit voltage (OCV). the square coating Excalibur E7018 AC. metal -. Fleetweld 35 is a great electrode to use on jobs where the steel isn’t clean. Developed specifically for roof decking and other applications where burnthrough spot welding on sheet metal is required. DC+. Great for making tack welds under Innershield® deposits. for applications that require DCdeep penetration. . reach for Lincoln Excalibur E7018-1 Electric’s Excalibur 7018-1 MR. We’ve designed Jetweld 2 for peak performance on multiple pass welds. Jetweld 3’s high deposition rates. Mild Steel Stick Electrodes Fleetweld 35 E6011 Operators consistently give this electrode high marks. DCelectrode is a real workhorse on sheet metal lap and fillet welds. Trade Name AWS Class Polarity Description Fast Freeze. remove the electrodes from the container and spread them out in the furnace because each stick electrode must reach the drying temperature. A great general purpose electrode for single or multi-pass applications. A great stick electrode with the DCability to start easily on low open circuit voltage welders. When the project involves large welds. Mild Steel Stick Electrodes Fleetweld 7 E6012 Got a variety of jobs that a single all-position electrode has to handle? Choose Lincoln Electric’s Fleetweld 7. High Deposition. high-speed AC. Use Fleetweld AC. Got a small AC welder? Here's your electrode! Fleetweld 180 offers AC. DC+. out-of-position welding. as well as on steel that is painted or dirty. general purpose plate DCwelding and maintenance jobs. and excellent wash-in. Product Comparison: Stick Electrodes . Fleetweld 37 E6013 Fleetweld 47 E7014 Low Hydrogen. We’ve DC+. Here’s a terrific all-position electrode for low amp welding on sheet AC. DCAC. 35LS with confidence on plated. all-position electrode! Choose Fleetweld DC+. AC. This versatile. High Speed. DC+ burnoff. This quality Lincoln product is a proven performer for AC pipe welding applications and sheet metal welding. and superior wash-in with no undercutting. It’s also a great choice for welding poor fit-up welding jobs. reach for Jetweld 2. DC+. Mild Steel Stick Electrodes Jetweld 2 E6027 AC. Fleetweld 22 is AC. DCgreat for galvanized or plated steel. Jetweld 3 E7024 Jetweld 1 E7024-1 Fill Freeze.

An excellent all-position electrode for applications MR requiring a nominal 2-1/4% nickel deposit. all-position electrode.000 psi) steels. Mild Steel and Low Alloy Steel Stick Electrodes Fleetweld 5P Fleetweld 5P+ E6010 DC+ Fleetweld 5P is a great choice for welding on dirty. Tendency for “fingernailing” and electrode sticking have been virtually eliminated! Designed for all passes of API 5LX-52 through X-65 high strength pipe. temperature. DC+ when cracking is an issue. Excalibur 7018-A1 MR Low Hydrogen. greasy or painted steel -. This dependable stick electrode offers the perfect combination of low temperature impact properties and deep penetration. 1/2% molybdenum weld deposit for use on 1/2% molybdenum pipe steels and API 5LX-42 through X-56 line pipe. It offers a nominal 1-1/4% chromium and 1/2% H4R MR molybdenum deposit. It’s a first choice for pipe welding. DC+ or repair of 1% nickel steels. Reach for this electrode when design temperatures exceed 850°F (450°C). rusty.especially in vertical or overhead applications. Excalibur Excalibur 8018-C3 MR is a 1% nickel all position electrode for fabrication E8018-C3 8018-C3 AC.5% molybdenum low alloy steels of 50Ksi A1-H4R (345 MPa) minimum yield strength. reach for Lincoln’s Shield-Arc 80 electrode. as well as for a wide range of sheet metal welding assignments.Excalibur 7018-A1 MR low hydrogen electrode is an outstanding choice E7018AC. boilers or castings. When your job involves vertical down welding on high strength pipe. Fast Freeze. Jet-LH 78 MR features MR H4R higher tensile strength for the stress-relieved properties. DC+ H4R properties in the as-welded and stress-relieved conditions. except vertical down. you’ll want Jet-LH 8018-B2 MR as your E8018-B2 8018-B2 AC. that maximizes productivity on the job site. propane 8018-C1 AC. Cold 7018 AC restrikes are no problem with this versatile. Need a reliable. as well as a wide variety of other low alloy H4R MR and carbon steels. and vertical-up and overhead plate welding. high pressure piping assignments. A great MR choice when temperatures exceed 850°F (450°C). Out-of-Position Pipe Welding. It’s also a good call when the project involves LH-70 H4R hard-to-weld steels. For welding 2-1/4% chromium and Jet-LH E9018-B3 1% molybdenum steels when heat treating is required. It Jet-LH 78 E7018 AC. DC+ H4R and other gases. DC+ is a great choice for low open circuit voltage AC power sources. visible weld puddle and superior puddle control. Jetweld LH-70 also offers high deposition rates. Low Alloy Steel Stick Electrodes If your welding involves 1-1/4% chromium and 1/2% moly power pipe.000 psi. DC+ welding partner. DC+ for all position welding of 0.000 psi (620 MPa) tensile strength and higher. Excellent “stacking” ability is a feature of Shield-Arc 80. DC+ also tolerates high sulfur and high silicon steels. Great low hydrogen stick electrode. Jet-LH tubes. DC+ E9018-G nominal 1-1/4% chromium and 1/2% molybdenum deposit and meets MR H4R the requirements of high tensile (90. Good mechanical 9018-B3 AC. A top-choice electrode for welding on thick sections and restrained joints Jetweld E7018 AC. This electrode is a long-time favorite among operators who handle cross-country and in-plant pipe welding. Also meets AWS E8010P1 requirements. It handles all passes on API 5LX-56 through X-70 pipe. Provides the welder with a clean. E8018-B2 LH-90 MR was designed to meet the rigorous demands of high Jetweld H4R. Excalibur E9018-M Excalibur 9018M MR is intended for welding high strength steels of 9018M DC+ H4R 90. This electrode offers a LH-90 AC. An all-position pipe electrode that′s a great choice when the task is E6010 DC+ ShieldE7010-A1 Arc 85 DC+ ShieldE7010-G Arc HYP+ DC+ ShieldE8010-G Arc 70+ DC+ ShieldArc 80 E8010-G DC+ Shield- E9010-G DC+ . Here’s an electrode that makes short work of even the most challenging high silicon pipe applications! Shield Arc 70+ is an outstanding choice for API 5LX-56 through X-70 grade pipe. Excalibur 8018-C1 MR is the ideal moisture resistant electrode for Excalibur E8018-C1 welding on equipment and pipe that transport liquid ammonia. AllMR position welding. Lincoln’s Fleetweld 5P+ is ideal for steel that’s less than 100% clean. Great for jobs on mild steel and some high-strength low-alloy steels. MR Excalibur® 11018M MR™ is designed primarily for joining high strength Excalibur E11018Msteel types in the as-welded or stress relieved conditions with excellent 11018M DC+ H4R low temperature impact properties and robust welding procedures. all-position stick electrode? Here’s your electrode! Shield-Arc 85 produces a 70. AC? DC? This electrode performs beautifully either way! Lincoln 7018AC Lincoln E7018 H8 AC.

as defined in AWS A5. The H4R suffix is basically just additional information printed on the rod. "R" identifies electrodes passing the absorbed moisture test after exposure to an environment of 80ºF(26. Basically. What does the H4R mean? Are these rods different than the E7018 rods I've used before? Why is hydrogen a concern in welding? What is the maximum plate thickness which can be welded with Innershield® NR®-211MP (E71T-11) wire? What electrode can I use to join mild steel to stainless steel? What consumable should be used to weld cast iron? What consumable can be used to weld on SAE 4130 steel tubing? What consumable should be used for weathering steel? What are you recommendations for welding AR400 plate? What consumables are better for welding over rusty. and when welding on dirty steels 20 Frequently Asked Questions • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • The E7018 welding rods I've been buying are now marked E7018 H4R. Why am I getting gas marks on the weld surface? I'm welding with an Innershield FCAW-SS wire and occasionally get porosity.Arc 90 vertical down welding on API 5LX-70 through X-80 pipe. the number after the "H" tells you the hydrogen level and the "R" means it's moisture resistant. SA-90 also performs well in situations where low hydrogen processes are not practical. dirty steel? What flux-cored wires are better for welding on high sulfur steel? What precautions should I take when welding T-1 steels? Why are the Charpy impact values from my test welds lower than that printed on your Certificate of Conformance? I'm using Outershield® 71M (E71T-1) flux-cored wire with 75Ar/25CO2. The E7018 welding rods I've been buying are now marked E7018 H4R. and does not necessarily mean a change in an electrode previously marked E7018.1-91 (Specification for shielded metal arc welding electrodes). "H4" identifies electrodes meeting the requirements of 4ml average diffusible hydrogen content in 100g of deposited weld metal when tested in the "as-received" condition. How can I eliminate this? Can I use flux-cored wires (FCAW-GS or FCAW-SS) on a constant current (CC) stick welding power source? Why is preheat sometimes required before welding? How should preheat be measured? What is interpass temperature? • Do I need an oven to store low hydrogen electrodes? 1. .7ºC) and 80% relative humidity for a period of not less than 9 hours. What does the H4R mean? Are these rods different than the E7018 rods I've used before? H4R is an optional supplementary designator.

4mm) Maximum plate thickness 5/16"(8mm) 5/16"(8mm) 1/2"(13mm) 1/2"(13mm) 1/2"(13mm) For thicker steels. What is the maximum plate thickness which can be welded with Innershield NR-211-MP (E71T-11) wire? NR-211-MP is restricted to welding these maximum plate thicknesses: Wire diameter . The electrode should produce a weld deposit with a small amount of ferrite (3-5 FN) needed to prevent cracking. it is important to keep the weld joint free of oil. which is very brittle. High strength steels.045"(1. Back to Top . rust. our Blue Max® 2100 electrode. is commonly used. and heavily restrained parts are more susceptible to hydrogen cracking. interpass. and moisture as they are sources of hydrogen.Back to Top 2. paint. and postheat procedures. Back to Top 4. which produces a high ferrite number. What electrode can I use to join mild steel to stainless steel? Electrode selection is determined from the base metal chemistries and the percent weld admixture.1mm) .0mm) 3/32"(2. look to NR-212. thick sections.035"(0.068"(1. On these materials.0mm) thick.7mm) 5/64"(2. and following proper preheat. What consumable should be used to weld cast iron? Cast irons are alloys which typically have over 2% carbon plus 1-3% silicon and are difficult to weld. we recommend using a low hydrogen process and consumable. Back to Top 3. Electrodes with a high percentage of nickel are commonly used to repair cast iron. Hydrogen combined with high residual stresses and crack-sensitive steel may result in cracking hours or days after the welding has been completed. Why is hydrogen a concern in welding? Hydrogen contributes to delayed weld and/or heat affected zone cracking. making it a good choice to weld on cast iron.9mm) . Back to Top 5. Nickel is very ductile. It has similar welding characteristics to NR-211MP but is designed for use on materials up to 3/4" (19. Also. When the chemistries are not known. Softweld® 99Ni and Softweld 55Ni are the Lincoln Electric electrodes designed for welding cast iron.

3. Slow cool. consumables that form a slag. On single pass welds. On multiple pass welds. Back to Top 7. What consumables are better for welding over rusty. paint. More time at elevated temperatures allows the dissolved hydrogen to escape. and rust before using any arc welding process. and -C3. However. 2. mild steel electrodes are commonly used. There is usually enough pickup from the base metal to obtain a good color match. Back to Top 9. There is enough pickup of alloy from the base material to give the required tensile strength in the as-welded condition. What are you recommendations for welding AR400 plate? AR400 is a quench and tempered steel and may be difficult to weld due its high strength and hardenability. if complete cleaning cannot be performed. -C2. low-alloy electrodes are commonly used to obtain a good color match and similar corrosion resistance. welds on these steels are specified for similar corrosion resistance and color match. If making fillet welds. Any hydrogen in the weld metal may diffuse into HAZ and may cause hydrogen embrittlement. grease. Minimize weld restraint. mild steel electrodes are commonly used. the weld can be oversized to give the specified strength 6. resulting in delayed underbead or toe cracks outside of the weld.6. dirty steel? Steel should be cleaned of any oil. have deeper penetration. To minimize heat affected zone cracking: 1. Back to Top 8. What consumable can be used to weld on SAE 4130 steel tubing? On light chrome-moly tubing. These consumables include: SMAW: Fleetweld 5P+ GMAW: SuperArc L-56™. 5. 4. Peen the weld beads to minimize residual weld stresses. Use a low hydrogen consumable with an -H4 or -H2 designation. The electrodes commonly specified include those with the suffixes -C1. Often. These steels have a higher resistance to atmospheric corrosion than typical mild steels. resulting in a heat affected zone (HAZ) with high hardness. Cro-Mo alloy electrodes are usually specified. MC-710 . Preheat to slow the cooling rate. On multiple pass welds. or have higher Silicon and Manganese are recommended for dirty steels. are slower freezing. What consumable should be used for weathering steel? Core Ten (A242 & A588) steels are weathering steels commonly used for outdoor structures. The base steel around the weld rapidly heats and cools during welding. Note that excessive preheat may anneal the base material. Use the lowest strength filler metal meeting design requirements.

3. To minimize heat affected zone cracking: 1. Why are the Charpy impact values from my test welds lower than that printed on your Certificate of Conformance? The test results on our Certificate of Conformance were obtained from welding an AWS filler metal test plate. Welding quenched & tempered steels may be difficult due its high strength and hardenability. Outershield 75-H gas-shielded fluxcored wire is also a better choice for welding on high sulfur steels. I'm using Outershield 71M (E71T-1) flux-cored wire with 75Ar/25CO 2. like a -H4 or -H2. Back to Top 11. Use the lowest strength filler metal meeting design requirements. 4. 4. Back to Top 12. Preheat. Corresponding Lincoln products are Innershield NS-3M and NR-311 self-shielded flux-cored wires. resulting in delayed underbead or toe cracking outside of the weld. 3. If making fillet welds. What flux-cored wires are better for welding on high sulfur steel? AWS D5. What precautions should I take when welding T-1 steels? T-1 is a quenched and tempered steel. Peen the weld beads to minimize residual weld stresses. This slows the cooling rate. Note that excessive preheat may anneal the base material. Also our E70T-5. the weld can be oversized to give the specified strength 6. Minimize weld restraint. The base steel around the weld is rapidly being heated and cooled during welding. 2. More time at elevated temperatures allows the dissolved hydrogen to escape.20-95 FCAW Specification states that E70T-4 and E70T-7 flux-cored wires are designed with a slag system to produce welds very low in sulfur and resistant to hot cracking. Slow cool. Controlled heat input Controlled preheat and interpass temperature Even number of passes per layer Build-up cap pass to maximum allowed in specification Back to Top 13. Any change in welding procedure will affect Charpy impact values. resulting in a heat affected zone (HAZ) with high hardness.FCAW-GS: Outershield 75 FCAW-SS: Innershield NR-311 SAW: Lincolnweld 761 and 780® fluxes Back to Top 10. 2. Hydrogen in the weld metal may diffuse into HAZ and cause hydrogen embrittlement. 5. Use a low hydrogen consumable. . Below are common practices for welding test plates when Charpy impact specimens are required: 1.

How should preheat be measured? . and paint may cause porosity. and moisture Minimize any wind disturbance Cleaning spatter from inside gas nozzle Increasing the shielding gas flow rate Back to Top 15. weld restraint. The need for preheat increases with steel thickness. using flux-cored wires on CC is not recommended. any small changes in electrical stickout (length of the wire from the end of the contact tip to workpiece) will produce large voltage fluctuations. 4. make sure the steel is clean. I'm welding with an Innershield FCAW-SS wire and occasionally get porosity. this can be commonly caused by excessive voltage or too short a stickout (the length of wire from the end of the contact tip to the workpiece). Second. rust. Preheat is commonly applied with fuel gas torches or electrical resistance heaters. Can I use flux-cored wires (FCAW-GS or FCAW-SS) on a constant current (CC) stick welding power source? Our flux-cored wires are designed to operate on constant voltage (CV) DC machines. rust. This may be necessary to avoid cracking of the weld metal or heat affected zone. Also.Why am I getting gas marks on the weld surface? The fast freezing rutile slag on an E71T-1 Outershield wire gives it excellent out-ofposition characteristics. Back to Top 18. resulting in stubbing and porosity. If used on a constant current (CC) machine. resulting in gas marks. How can I eliminate this? First. and the diffusible hydrogen of the weld metal. Why is preheat sometimes required before welding? Preheating the steel to be welded slows the cooling rate in the weld area. Make sure these are within our recommended parameters. Gas marks are more commonly observed welding at high procedures under a high Argon blend shielding gas. Therefore. but can also trap gases under the slag as the weld solidifies. the carbon/alloy content of the steel. Back to Top 17. Switching to 100% CO2 shielding gas Lowering the welding procedure Cleaning the weld joint of paint. 5. Back to Top 16. 6. reducing the travel speed also helps minimize porosity. 3. oil. Vaporization of contaminants on the base metal such as moisture. 2. Gas marking and/or can be minimized by: 1.

Standard EXX18 electrodes should be supplied to welders twice per shift.AWS D1.1 Structural Steel Welding Code. they will pickup moisture and should be redried. . When the electrodes are exposed to the air. When a minimum interpass temperature is specified. Low hydrogen electrodes with the suffix "MR™" have a moisture resistant coating and may be left out up to 9 hours or as specified by code requirements. welding should not be performed when the base plate is below this temperature. Back to Top 19. when preheat is specified. E11018: 1 hour at 650º-750ºF 1 hour at 700º-800ºF If the electrodes come in direct contact with water or have been exposed to high humidity. they should be predried for 1-2 hours at 180º-220ºF first before following the above redrying procedure. A maximum interpass temperature may be specified to prevent deterioration of the weld metal and heat affected zone properties. What is interpass temperature? Interpass temperature refers to the temperature of the steel just prior to the depositing of an additional weld pass.6 states: Preheat and all subsequent minimum interpass temperatures shall be maintained during the welding operation for a distance at least equal to the thickness of the thickest welded part. In general. the entire part should be thoroughly heated so the minimum temperature found anywhere on that part will meet or exceed the specified preheat temperature. E9018. Back to Top 20. The steel must be heated back up before welding continues. but not less than 3 in. Electrodes exposed to the air for less than 1 week with no direct contact with water should be redried as follows: E7018: E8018. they should be stored in a cabinet at 250º-300ºF (121º-149ºC). E10018. Unopened Lincoln hermetically sealed containers provide excellent protection in good storage conditions. except that preheating is performed prior to any welding. It is identical to preheat. Section 5. Do I need an oven to store low hydrogen electrodes? All low-hydrogen consumables must be dry to perform properly. [75mm] in all directions from the point of welding. the steel must be below this temperature before welding continues. Once cans are opened. In this case.

try the two tests at the end of the article to help you determine polarity. changing its polarity 120 times per second with 60-hertz current. Alternating current (AC) flows half the time in one direction and half the time in the other. The Lincoln Electric Company. The effect of different chemicals in the covering may change this condition. the correct polarity must be used when welding with any given metallic electrode. Selecting the electrode with the correct polarity has a real effect on the strength and quality of your weld . Direct current (DC) flows in one direction. . Though AC itself has no polarity. or what polarity is set on the DC machine. The use of the AC transformer-type welder necessitated the development of an electrode that would work on either polarity. The latter terms are more descriptive and will be used throughout this article. Some machines have a switch to change polarity. or how they can be set for either polarity. With few exceptions. therefore. A welder should know the meaning of polarity. It is the ability to adjust polarity that lends DC welding kits versatility. overheating. due to the constant-changing of the polarity in the AC circuit. which works outstandingly better on positive polarity than on negative polarity. The high cellulose covered mild-steel rod. which will work correctly only on negative polarity. and good welding results. The terms "straight" and "reverse" polarity are used around the shop. and rapid burning of the electrode. If there is any question as to whether or not the correct polarity is being used.AC/DC: Understanding Polarity Source: adapted from New Lessons in Arc Welding. Some types of shielded electrodes function on either polarity. 1990 General Information Do you know what AC (Alternating Current) and DC (Direct Current) signify on your welder and electrodes? Well. such as Fleetweld 5P or Fleetweld 5P+. is recommended for use on positive polarity for general welding. The covering on the electrode designates which polarity is best and all manufacturers specify on the electrode container what polarity is recommended. excessive spatter. The second is to use Fleetweld 5P electrode. irregular bead shape. They may also be expressed as "electrode-negative" and "electrode-positive" polarity. Electrode-negative (straight polarity) results in faster melt-off of the electrode and. when AC electrodes are used on DC they usually operate best on one specific read on and make sure you know the difference! For that extra assurance. resulting in a constant polarity. Most machines are clearly marked as to what the terminals are. For proper penetration. there are two easily performed experiments that will tell you. uniform bead appearance. electrode-positive (reversed polarity) results in deeper penetration. The first is to use a DC carbon electrode. basically these terms describe the polarity of the electrical current that is created by the welder and runs through the electrode. whereas on others it is necessary to change the cable terminals. though some operate on only one polarity. Polarity results from the fact that an electrical circuit has a negative and a positive pole. Incorrect polarity will cause poor penetration. faster deposition rate. and recognize what effect it has on the welding process. difficulty in controlling the arc.

with normal arc length and amperage. Check out Lincoln's entire selection of DC and AC electrodes here Added Low Hydrogen Designators Don't Change Electrodes by Dennis Hartman. and conical in shape. Grip one electrode in the electrode holder close to the taper 4. The one used on negative polarity will burn off evenly. Set amperage at 135 to 150. easy to maintain. Adjust to either polarity.Testing Your Polarity: A. If the polarity is negative (straight) the arc will be stable. Examine the ends of the two electrodes and compare. the arc will be difficult to maintain and will leave a black carbon deposit on the surface of the base metal. With the wrong polarity. will produce a regular "crackling" sound. so they are identical with a gradual taper running back 2 or 3 inches from the arc tip. 5. 2. Cleveland. you will get many of the bad bead characteristics shown in Lesson 1.6. Clean beads and examine. affording an observation of the arc action. 4. 2. Strike an arc (use shield) and hold for a short time. Correct polarity. 3. Ohio Welders accustomed to using a low-hydrogen electrode with a particular classification are sometimes puzzled when they receive electrodes with added designations like “H4R. Repeat several times. Observe the arc action as before. Determine polarity by the metallic electrode (E6010) 1. 3. 9. Change the polarity. See above for characteristics of arc and bead when using metallic electrode on correct and incorrect polarity. Determine polarity by using the carbon electrode. Listen to the sound of the arc. Clean the base metal and position flat. Clean base metal and position flat. Hold normal arc length and standard electrode angle and run a bead. 6.” Lowhydrogen electrodes are generally used in more critical applications to begin with. If the polarity is positive (reverse). keeping its shape. with normal arc length and amperage setting will produce irregular "crackling" and "popping" with an unstable arc. The Lincoln Electric Company. 1. Observe the arc action. Strike an arc with the other electrode and hold for a similar length of time. 8. 8. Incorrect polarity. B. 6. until you can quickly recognize correct polarity. 7. Adjust to the other polarity and run another bead. Strike an arc. Shape the points of the two carbon electrodes on a grinding wheel. uniform. The electrode used on positive polarity will quickly burn off blunt. 7. and their concern is . 9. Consumables Research and Development. Set amperage at 130 to 145 for 5/32" electrode. Change arc length from short to long. the electrode negative. Adjust to either polarity. 5.

Read more about Damian Kotecki and the other Lincoln Experts. Stainless Steel by Lincoln's Stainless Expert. they should be stored in a rod oven until used. it is important to observe proper storage procedures. and 4 ml.) per 100 grams of weld metal. The actual AWS classification does not change when they are added. since they may not meet specifications if left open in high humidity. Nothing in the electrodes themselves has changed. This generally indicates that the electrode’s coating has been formulated with non-hygroscopic materials and will resist picking up moisture longer than electrodes with standard low-hydrogen coatings. but we wouldn't be The Welding ExpertsSM if it weren't for the expertise of our customers. This is an optional moisture resistant designator (R). Learn with us from questions submitted by real customers and answered by the real experts. in addition to appearing on the label. the supplier should be consulted for recommendations. With any low-hydrogen consumable. they must be imprinted on the electrode itself. This can be important when welding in humid areas. and H4. The levels are H16. However. Damian Kotecki Within the walls of The Lincoln Electric Company are some of the brightest minds in welding. . In case of doubt about lowhydrogen electrodes and their application. Low hydrogen is defined as less than 16 milliliters (ml. which indicates a low-hydrogen electrode’s ability to meet specific lowmoisture pickup limits under controlled humidification tests. although the product is identified by the full designation. an E7018 H4R product will still be classified as E7018. while a moisture-resistant coating can be safe to use for as long as 10 hours. 8. This classification has now been stratified into three levels. however. corresponding to 16. so the added designators make it easier to quickly determine how “dry” a particular electrode is. it’s simply a case of the manufacturer providing more information on the same electrode as before. Products such as the H4 electrodes come in a hermetically sealed can. Once opened. since a standard coating will be affected by moisture in about two hours. permitted by the AWS classification system.understandable. One additional designator may also be added. H8. These represent the maximum diffusible hydrogen levels obtainable with a specific product. per 100 grams of weld metal. When these suffixes are used. The added characters are optional designators. to clarify the low-hydrogen characteristics of carbon steel and low alloy steel manual electrodes. For example.

304. respectively. 302. Some 308L applications may be substituted with 309L filler metal. 316L (including ER316LSi) filler metal should be used with 316L and 316 base metals. The prefix "E" designates an arc welding electrode.or DC+ DC+ . Use 309L (including ER309LSi) when joining mild steel or low alloy steel to stainless steels. vertical down and overhead. Type 347 filler metal is also suitable most 308L filler metal applications. The last 2 digits taken together indicate the type of coating and the correct polarity or current to use. but 316L or 316 applications generally require molybdenum and 309L contains no molybdenum.000 psi tensile strength electrode. CF-8M and CF-3M are the cast equivalents of 316 and 316L. The "1" designates an all position electrode. AWS Classifications Explained The American Welding Society (AWS) numbering system can tell a welder quite a bit about a specific stick electrode including what application it works best in and how it should be used to maximize performance.000 psi tensile strength electrode while E10018 designates a 100. With that in mind. while "3" indicates an electrode that can be used for flat. The first two digits of a 4-digit number and the first three digits of 5-digit number indicate tensile strength. CG-12 is the cast equivalent of 309. 309L or 316L filler metal? 308L (including ER308LSi) is predominately used on austenitic stainless steels. horizontal. See chart below: Digit 10 11 12 13 14 15 Type of Coating High cellulose sodium High cellulose potassium High titania sodium High titania potassium iron powder titania low hydrogen sodium Welding Current DC+ AC or DC+ or DCAC or DCAC or DC+ AC or DC. E6010 is a 60. CF-8C is the cast equivalent of 347. Type 347 stainless steel filler metal is ideal for 347 and 321 base materials because it matches these stabilized grades. for joining dissimilar stainless steels such as 409 to itself or to 304L stainless. as well as for joining 309 base metal.Damian Kotecki When should I use 308L. the high carbon 308H electrode provides better creep resistance than does 308L. For example. let's take a look at the system and how it works. "2" is for flat and horizontal positions only. 305 and cast alloys CF-8 and CF-3. For high temperature applications such as in the electrical power industry. such as types 301. E Electrode 60 Tensile strength 1 Position "10" Type of Coating and Current The next to last digit indicates position.

Lincoln Fleetweld® 37 is most common of this type. Lincoln 5P+ sets the standard in this category. this is the most penetrating arc of all. The Lincoln products are typically Jetweld® LH-78 or our new Excalibur® 7018. A DC machine produces a smoother arc. oil. The "H4" is the diffusible hydrogen designator. E6013 This all-position. It is an all-position electrode that beginning welders usually find extremely difficult. an electrode may have additional numbers after it such as E8018-B2H4R. Lincoln has several electrodes in this category that are called Jetweld® 1. Other Electrodes Although not nearly as common. dirty.or DC+ AC or DC+ As a welder. but more commonly used for plate that is ½" and up. usually DC. Electrodes which are rated for AC welding are more forgiving and can also be used with a DC machine. E7024 Typically used to make a large weld downhand with AC in plate that is at least ¼" thick. Industrial users typically prefer Fleetweld 35.16 27 18 20 22 24 28 low hydrogen potassium iron powder iron oxide iron powder low hydrogen High iron oxide High iron oxide iron powder titania Low hydrogen potassium iron powder AC AC AC AC AC AC or or or or or or DC+ DC+ or DCDC+ DC+ or DCDCDC. DC rated electrodes will only run on a DC welding machine. AC electrode is used for welding clean. It is tops to dig through rust. Its soft arc has minimal spatter. In this case. which has better impact properties at temperatures below zero. which indicates the maximum diffusible hydrogen level obtained with the product. The most common Lincoln product is Fleetweld® 180 for hobby and novice users. It has a deep. or 3. there are certain electrodes that you will most likely see and use time and time again as you go about your daily operations. the "B2" indicates chemical composition of the weld metal deposit. lessthan-new metal. 2. E6011 This electrode is used for all-position AC welding or for welding on rusty. all-position electrode used when quality is an issue or for hard-to-weld metals. It has the capability of producing more uniform weld metal. paint or dirt. moderate penetration and an easy-to-clean slag. penetrating arc and is often the first choice for repair or maintenance work when DC is unavailable. new sheet metal. E7018 A low-hydrogen. . but is loved by pipeline welders world-wide. Here are some of the most common electrodes and how they are typically used: E6010 DC only and designed for putting the root bead on the inside of a piece of pipe. And "R" stands for the moisture resistant designator to indicate the electrode's ability to meet specific low moisture pickup limits under controlled humidification tests.

We will help you to decipher between the two processes. Very few welders have the skills to make picture perfect welds. but maybe stepping up to the 230 volt input machines with the option of welding thicker material(more than ¼") is a valid point. The inert gas usually continues to flow for some time after welding to . GMAW (MIG) or FCAW (flux-cored)? If you are like most novice welding operators. Molten metal is very reactive to oxygen. you may be confused as to the differences of these two choices. increase contact tip life and generally improve arc performance. the surface finish of what you are welding. you don't want to waste your money on a toy that goes out with the trash in a few weeks. The Definitions Gas Metal-Arc Welding: (GMAW) as identified by the American Welding Society. First. what you are welding.To view Lincoln's outstanding line of stick welders click here To view Lincoln's complete line of stick electrodes click here MIG vs. You think the decision-making process is over when you are hit with yet another question which welding process will you use? . is also popularly known as MIG (Metal Inert Gas) and uses a continuous solid wire electrode for filler metal and an externally supplied gas(typically from a high-pressure cylinder) for shielding. nitrogen and hydrogen from the atmosphere. you should attain success at making sound welds. where are you welding it. It is critical to have good eye/hand coordination and a steady hand. . With basic motor skills. Shielding gas flows through the gun and cable assembly and out the gun nozzle with the welding wire to shield and protect the molten weld pool. then describe advantages and disadvantages of each and wrap up by giving you usage tips. but you always wanted to step up to steel. You most likely are very comfortable building things from wood. The shielding gas. typically copper colored because it is electroplated with a thin layer of copper to protect it from rusting. so that it is very portable. Flux-Cored: Which Welding Process Is Right for You? You are about to make the plunge and buy your first wirefeed welder. The welder must be setup for DC positive polarity. which is usually carbon dioxide or mixtures of carbon dioxide and argon. And Third. improve electrical conductivity. we hope to help you decide on a solution that will give you the best results for your application. practice and patience. The best answer depends on 3 things. Being a toolguy (or gal). Second. You probably want to run it off of 115 volt input. . protects the molten metal from reacting with the atmosphere. Arc practice time is the only instructor that will teach you to truly set the machine properly. Welding is a skill and an art about 95% can learn to do. Ultimately. The suggestions here are conservative and should be attainable by a beginner.350 in the majors. The wire is usually mild steel. Very few baseball players are able to hit over . if exposed to it.

Aluminum MIG Welding aluminum requires much more than just changing to aluminum wire. The smallest wire(. Since aluminum is very soft. it is recommended to use a compact 115volt input (or 230 volt) MIG wirefeeder/welder indoors on clean new steel that is 24 to 12 gauge thick.035" NR®-211MP is often used for the 115 volt machines and the . General Usage Rules MIG As a rule of thumb. Self-shielded Flux-Cored Arc-Welding process (FCAW per the American Welding Society).045" Innershield NR-211MP is typically used in the 230 volt machines. The Innershield® . The properly made finished weld has no slag and virtually no spatter. The higher amperage range of this machine can . therefore welding outdoors is usually avoided unless special windscreens are erected. Wipe the material with acetone on a clean shop rag. Get comfortable welding steel first. It is a challenge. but it can be done. including low carbon steel. Drive roll tension and gun length must be minimized. We achieve a sound weld. The arc is forceful. A Teflon. is different in that it uses a wire which contains materials in its core that. Use stainless steel wire brushes that have only been used on aluminum.025") will make it the easiest to weld the thinnest(24 gauge) material. This type of welding is primarily performed on mild steel applications outdoors. Special gun movement techniques are often highly desirable. you will need the higher capacity compact machine which will require 230 volt input. when burned by the heat of the arc. A "push" gun angle is normally used to enhance gas coverage and get the best results. 12 gauge is a little less than 1/8" thick. The shielding is very positive and can endure a strong breeze. Farmers have found that these products can save a planting or harvest by repairing a broken machine out in the middle of the field in record time. or painted it must be cleaned by grinding until you see shiny bare metal. Cleanliness of the wire and base metal are critical. Special contact tips are often recommended. When finished. but in a very different way. and stainless steel and aluminum with potential for excellent success by a novice. If you need to weld 1/8" to ¼" thick material with MIG. the weld is covered with a slag that usually needs to be removed. it requires aluminum drive rolls that have a U-groove and no teeth to bite or cause wire flaking. or flux-cored for short. MIG welding may be used with all of the major commercial metals. rusty. but has spatter. produce shielding gases and fluxing agents to help produce a sound weld. 030" diameter wire will weld a little faster deposition rate. without need for the external shielding gas. Good technique will yield excellent results. 24 gauge is less than 1/16" thick. A "drag" angle for the gun is specified which improves operator visibility. However. if done properly.keep protecting the metal as it cools. Improper technique will have results that are magnified. nylon or similar gun liner is needed to minimize friction in feeding the wire and 100% pure Argon gas is required for shielding. The settings on the wirefeeder / power source are slightly more critical for this process. If the material you are welding is dirty. We have internal shielding instead of external shielding. operator appeal and weld appearance are excellent with MIG and it is most welders' favorite process to use. A slight breeze can blow the shielding away and cause porosity. low alloy steel. The .

this process is best for welding thicker materials with a single pass. To MIG weld material more than ¼" thick. A 115 volt flux-cored machine using an electrode such as . you need a higher capacity truly industrial machine. MIG . a bit thicker than the 24 gauge we said for MIG.045" Innershield NR-211MP. you can weld steel up to 1/2" thick. In general.035" diameter wire. With the proper electrode on a proper machine. a MIG machine that operates on 115 volts is probably your best bet for economic reasons in that a 230 volt input machine will be more expensive. such as . If most of your welding will be performed indoors on clean material that is less than 1/8" thick.035" Innershield NR-211-MP will generally allow you to weld steel up to ¼"thick. Note that NR-211MP requires that the machine be setup for DC negative polarity. The 230 volt machine could also run . especially if you need to weld outdoors such as to repair a tractor out in the field. Advantages/Disadvantages While there are advantages and disadvantages to both processes. we will try to outline for you some of the most common. and a 230 volt input machine.better handle your welding needs in a single pass and you may not have to waste time with second or third passes. Flux-Cored The flux-cored process is only recommended on materials as thin as 20 gauge. Note that this is more than double the thickness maximum of 12 gauge with MIG on 115 volts.

The arc is soft and less likely to burn through thin material. nickel alloys or aluminum. rust and any surface contamination. The lower spatter associated with MIG also means no slag to chip off and faster cleaning time. MIG has a soft arc which will not properly weld thicker materials (10 gauge would be the maximum thickness that MIG could soundly weld with the 115 volt compact wirefeed welders we are referring to or ¼" with the 230 volt input compact wirefeed machine. regulator. MIG can weld a wider range of material including thinner materials and different materials such as stainless. the risk of cold lapping also increases because the heat input needed for good fusion is just not possible with these small machines. Procedure settings are more forgiving. MIG also requires additional equipment such as a hose. MIG is the easiest type of welding to learn and is more forgiving if the operator is somewhat erratic in holding arc length or providing a steady travel speed. MIG may not be the process of choice if your are looking for something that offers portability and convenience. The welders first job is to prepare the surface by removing paint. and electrode. drive rolls. shielding gas. Disadvantages • Since a bottle of external shielding gas is required. • • Flux-Cored .) As the thickness of the material(steel) increases. If you are skilled and get specific proper guns. liners.Advantages • • • • The best choice when cosmetic appearance is an issue since it provides lower spatter levels than flux-cored. solenoid(electric valve) in the wire feeder and flowmeter.

Drive rolls. faster and easier. For a 230v MIG machine. 030" or even . and at the proper angle.035" diameter solid electrode such as . For a 110 volt input MIG machine. an electrode such as Lincoln's . A . so setting up is simpler. hardfacing to resist wear.030" or . the gun position is more critical in that it must be held consistently. A smaller wire makes it easier to weld thinner plate. gun liners and contact tips and procedure settings need to be addressed when changing processes. most people move up to Lincoln's . to create a good weld. In addition. most people are welding heavier plate and step up to the . When flux-cored welding. shielding gas. Disadvantages • • It is not recommended for very thin materials (less than 20 gauge). 030" SuperArc would weld slightly thicker material a little faster.025" SuperArc® L56™ is the smallest available size and the easiest to use on very thin material.035" wire (such as Lincoln's NR-211-MP) because this is the smallest size made and this is all the machine can run. An external shielding gas and additional equipment are not needed.035" Super Arc L-56 because they deposit weld metal faster and they can weld heavier plate. Electrodes for production welding. Proper electrode diameter is related to plate thickness and the welder you have. machine settings need to be precise. but they cannot do everything. • It should be noted that the same machine can be used to weld with both MIG and flux-cored processes though a special package is usually needed to change from one application to the other. Choosing Wire Another area that may cause the novice welder some concern is how to choose the best wire. You must be careful . Realize that these small machines are excellent at what they do.045" diameter Innershield NR-211MP for plate up to ½" thick. a 110v machine would run a . For fluxcored with the 230 volt input machine. and most specialty electrodes will exceed the capacity of these machines. This process creates spatter and slag that may need to be cleaned for painting or finishing. The flux-cored process is most suited for applications with thicker materials as it is less prone to cold lapping.Advantages • • The Self-Shielded electrodes are optimal for outdoor procedures since the flux is built into the wire for positive shielding even in windy conditions. A slight change in a knob position can make a big difference in the arc. For flux-cored.

. Weld joints are laps. 10) Make sure you observe and follow all welding safety precautions as specified in your Operators Manual. but you need to start by examining your application. 2) Put the welder on a separate circuit breaker that is properly fused as stated in your Operators Manual. . 1994. For more details. and proper ventilation. . Sure. consult ANSI Z 49. 5) Make sure the contact tip looks good(not elongated or melted) and it is tightened to the diffuser. You are melting steel at around 5. Pay special attention to the potential for electric shock. Don't even try. This is a very common mistake to overlook. This is especially critical on thin sheet metal. This means you should thoroughly clean or grind the surface of the metal where attaching the work clamp and use a tightly attached work clamp so electricity can easily flow through the workpiece and back to the welder. . You cannot weld with inadequate input power. 9) Relax and try to hold the gun as steady and smooth as possible. you know you have a weld to make. Remove them. Everybody's job is individual and has . Selecting Your Welding Process Source: Adapted from The Procedure Handbook of Arc Welding. Paint and rust are insulators. Don't sharply bend it. . fillets and butts. 6) Cut the wire at an angle to a point before starting to weld for better starts.1. 8) Make sure the driverolls feed smoothly with proper tension. The Lincoln Electric Company. 7) Use correct electrode stickout and maintain it as well as proper welding procedures. fire and explosion.that's the easy part. arc rays that can burn skin and eyes. This is not another strand of Christmas match the output voltage of your machine with the voltage of the electrode and the appropriate wire diameter and wire feed speeds to make sure you have a compatible system. Tips for All 1) It is very important to get a good. 3) Good fitup is a big plus. Happy Welding. 4) Keep the gun cable as straight as possible for smooth wire feeding. Avoid gaps whenever possible to minimize burnthrough problems.000 degrees F. solid work connection.

FastFollow (high arc speed and very small welds). 3.specific requirements. Fast-Freeze implies that a joint is out-of-position. and therefore requires quick solidification of the molten crater. Fast-Fill becomes a minor consideration when the weld is small. With some joints. and whether the base metal is thick or thin.) Finally. One or more of the processes are selected for further examination. such as those used in joining sheet metal. Fast-Follow suggests that the molten metal follows the arc at rapid travel speed. Not all semiautomatic processes can be used on fast-freeze joints. Therefore. the needs of any joint are expressed in four terms: Fast-Fill (high deposition rate). In welding.overhead or vertical).) The joint to be welded is analyzed in terms of its requirements. giving continuous. whether the joint is out-of-position or not. without "skips" or islands. well-shaped beads.Analysis of Joint Requirements. . However. 4. Penetration varies with the joint. if you're really confused the best idea is to consult a welding expert in person. just ask us online.) The joint requirements are matched with the capabilities of available processes. penetration must be deep to provide adequate mixing of the weld and base metal and with others it must be limited to prevent burnthrough or cracking. This trait is especially desirable on relatively small single-pass welds. Fast-Freeze (the joint is out-of-position . 2. and Penetration (the depth the weld penetrates the base metal) Fast-Fill is required when a large amount of weld metal is needed to fill the joint. However. the proposed process or processes deemed most efficient are reviewed with an informed representative of the equipment manufacturer for verification of suitability and for more information Step 1 . this article can help you with welding process selection in four easy steps: 1. If you still have questions after reading this article. The first thing to look at is whether your weld joint is large or small. A heavy weld bead can only be laid down in minimum arc time with a high deposition rate.) A checklist of variables is used to determine the ability of the selected processes(s) to meet the particular application.

a telephone call or email will bring the needed information. To determine the appropriate welding process. you'll be able to make these assessments more accurately and with less difficulty. Or. just one arc welding process is rare. required. et cetera . or productivity. Rule out a process if it does not provide the weld properties specified by the code governing the work. since the deposition rate and arc-speed characteristics of each process can be clearly defined. have your assessment reviewed by an experienced engineer or welder. flux lay-down and pickup equipment. exhaust systems. With time and experience. In fact. . A joint that requires. Will you have to train your operators in a new process? That adds cost! Auxiliary Equipment. they can be of great importance and a key factor in eliminating alternate processes. Weld Specifications. Many of these are specific to your job or welding shop. You must justify the cost of welding equipment by the amount of work. Operator Skill.Any joint can be categorized in terms of the previously mentioned four factors. To view some machines and consumables with various characteristics click here to view Lincoln Electric's product line. Availability and cost of necessary accessory equipment chipping hammers. keep your efforts focused on the requirements of the weld joint. which is sometimes the case? You create a checklist! Step 3 . the initial cost in changing to that process can be substantially reduced. Accessory Equipment.should be taken into account.Matching Joint Requirements With Processes Your equipment manufacturers' literature usually will give information on the ability of various processes to fulfill the needs of the joint.) A wrong answer is virtually impossible at this point. Organize these factors into a checklist and consider them one-by-one: Volume of Production. Since you have characterized your weld joint it is simply a matter of selecting the process that suits your characterization. Step 2 . the majority of joints usually are characterized by a combination of these requirements to varying degrees. or can be welded by. deslagging tools. However. Operators may develop skill with one process more rapidly than another. another application may be found to help offset the costs. Once you've determined your appropriate joint requirements and ranked them. So what do you do when you find that two or more processes are suitable. (Or. Every process has a recommended power source and other items of auxiliary equipment.The Checklist Considerations other than the joint itself have a bearing on selection decisions. If a process makes use of existing auxiliary equipment. if the work volume for one application is not great enough.

but creates a production bottleneck. but the talents of experts should be utilized. the checklist to be used is tailored by the user to his individual situation. Step 4 . . Arc Visibility. if there's no difficulty in correct placement of the weld bead. A change to a semiautomatic process requires some fixturing if productivity is to be realized. fit-up of the joint. oil. Rust. This may seem redundant. Human prejudice should not enter the selection process. If the process reduces unit fabrication cost. Systemizing the Systematic Approach.Review of the Application by Manufacturer's Representative. no headshield required and heat from the arc is reduced. Is there a problem following irregular seams? Then open-arc processes are advantageous. These factors could limit the usefulness of a particular process. Other items might include: • • • • • • • Protection Requirements Range of Weld Sizes Application Flexibility Seam Length Setup Time Requirements Initial Equipment Cost Cleanliness Requirements Evaluate these items realistically recognizing the peculiarities of the application as well as those of the process. Thus. The completed checklist should contain every factor known to affect the economics of the operation. its value is lost. Together. you should be able to confirm or modify the checklist. To contact a Lincoln Electric welding Expert click here. Fixturing Requirements. You know your application best and your welding expert knows his equipment best. On the other hand. and the equipment. otherwise objectivity is lost . Appraise the equipment to find out if it can adapt to processes. there are "operator-comfort" benefits with the submerged-arc process. Production Bottlenecks. weldability of the steel. Some may be specific to the weld job or weld shop.Base-Metal Conditions.when all other things are equal. Highly complicated equipment that requires frequent servicing by skilled technicians may slow up your actual production thereby diminishing its value. and other conditions must be considered. the guiding criterion should be overall cost.

or may not. it is necessary to look at the way stick electrodes are manufactured. Porosity looks "sponge like" or like tiny bubbles in the weld. but deep inside the weld. The flux coatings major task is to vaporize and form a shielding gas to protect the weld puddle from nitrogen. Porosity in a weld can be located using several different methods of non-destructive testing. ". a set of brushes removes coating to accommodate the electrode holder. Another set of brushes slightly tapers the work end of the electrode to expose the end of the steel core wire.strike the arc. Create a chart and follow the steps to determining process. The Lincoln Electric Company.. your operation will become more productive and your welding experience will be more fulfilling. Distributor Trainer. hydrogen and oxygen. as well as how they are used in the field. Porosity in a weld is considered poor quality. UT (ultrasonic) and die penetrate. it is possible and the solution itself may be simple. and it may be difficult to establish why this occurs. The steel core wire.A system is of no value unless it is used. In order to understand the real cause. Tapping the Low Hydrogen Porosity Problem By Dan Mahony. By taking the time to analyze each new weld joint. be visible to the naked eye. It also melts to become the filler metal. and Paul Gramp. 1994. The chemical coating that forms the flux layer is extruded on to the steel core wire and baked in a controlled oven to remove moisture. click here to print out and fax an order form. As the weld progresses. after the coating is applied and it is still soft and pliable. The Lincoln Electric Company. This exposed end allows a short circuit to be established when it touches the work at the start of the weld. To order a copy of Lincoln Electric's Procedure Handbook of Arc Welding or other welding textbooks and educational aids. porosity may exist. Source: Adapted from The Procedure Handbook of Arc Welding .. Porosity is often found when using low-hydrogen electrodes such as E-7018. Porosity may. Often. weld testing will show slight porosity at the beginning of a weld for no apparent reason." Although some porosity found at the beginning of a weld made with low hydrogen electrodes is not always apparent. even with an experienced welder. such as radiographic (x-ray). allowing a few drops of electrode to fall from the tip. During manufacturing. then lift the electrode up for a moment or two. Technical Salesman. the steel wire . as we know. Occasionally porosity can be found in the face of the weld while sometimes the face may appear porosity free. conducts electrical current from the electrode holder to the work .

since the core wire melts up inside the flux coating. commonly incorrectly called ground connections. allow a few drops of molten steel to fall from the tip of the electrode. Proper training is always important to achieving good results in welding. the weld will be properly shielded. This article will explain some of the ways to achieve a good work lead connection. affect the welding arc and the quality of the finished weld. The Lincoln Electric Company. Before striking an arc. some porosity may result at the beginning of the weld. having good work lead connections are important to minimize electrical shock hazards. the welder frequently taps the end of the electrode on the ground to break away flux at the tip. The Importance of Good Work Lead Connections When Welding Source: Adapted from The Procedure Handbook of Arc Welding . 1994. lift the electrode up a short distance from the work and holding it there for a second or two. Attaching the Work Lead to the Workpiece . Electrodes such as E-6010 and E-6011 use organic coatings (paper). sometimes resulting in porosity at the start of the weld. Then.burns slightly up inside the flux (approximately 1/8 of an inch). This practice is much more common with low hydrogen electrodes. Therefore. hence the need for good electrical connections. and porosity will be minimized. This condition also exists when re-striking an electrode that has already been used. however. an arc is established from the electrode to the workpiece. enabling the core wire to burn up inside the flux coating and initiate the gassing effect of the flux. This type of porosity can be avoided if the operator is trained to strike the arc correctly. creates conditions for improper arc shielding. when the electrode is lowered to the work. Training is even more critical when dealing with low hydrogen electrodes. Immediately after establishing the arc. Not only will good work lead connections. which is caused by insufficient amount of coating on the steel core wire. Breaking away the flux to expose the steel core wire. a smooth flow of electricity needs to complete the electrical circuit. so the coating melts to form the necessary shielding gas. the tapered coating at the end of the electrode provides only minimal shielding since some of the coating was intentionally removed to accommodate easier arc starting. In arc welding. The arc will bring the tip of the electrode up to operating temperature quickly. if the operator lowers the electrode into the puddle immediately. while helping to achieve the short circuit necessary to start the arc. which the coating tends to burn back enough to leave the end of the core wire exposed. Striking a new electrode. To do this. A little understanding of how these electrodes differ and the consequences of improper electrode handling will pay big dividends in better weld quality and fewer porosity defects.

The work lead clamp may be attached directly to the workpiece or to the fixture holding the workpiece. When grounding is through a sliding shoe. To assure trouble-free performance. A high production automotive part may benefit from more than one connection A work lead clamp is perhaps the common method to connect the work lead cable to the workpiece. The work lead clamp is bolted to the lug at the end of the work lead cable and has brass or copper jaws to ensure good electrical contact to the workpiece. Remember that the work lead cables or cables should be neatly organized. or sliding or rotating shoes. This is usually performed by using a work lead clamp (also. not strung about haphazardly. such as the reinforcement of another weld. Automatic circumferential welds usually use a work lead connection of Be careful not to allow the welding current to flow through sensitive electronic components. The work lead connection may vary with the welding process.To be effective. or granular flux. An improvement on sliding brushes. two or more shoes should always be used. or application. keep in mind that aluminum is poorly suited for this purpose. a piece of weld spatter. the contact area of the bearing should be sufficient to carry the current capacity of the welding cable used in the installation. the tapered bearings are usually fairly large. tapered roller bearings are excellent for rotating grounds. Also. or through copper-graphite brushes. brushes or rotating or sliding shoes with an electrically conductive lubricant. This will prevent interruptions of current in case one shoe loses contact by an unexpected surface protrusion. amperage. . Since most mechanized welding installations use two 4/0 cables in parallel. Automatic welding installations commonly use a permanent stationary connection. preloaded. the work lead must make good electrical contact with the workpiece. commonly incorrectly called ground clamp). as it quickly forms an oxide that is poor conductor of welding current.

This means that the area of contact must be free from any scale. The experienced welder knows that good work lead connections are essential for good welds and should not be overlooked. Cleaning the area of contact with sandpaper or a wire brush before making the connection is good practice. In-depth understanding of the physics of the arc is of little value to the welder. grease. . The arc itself is a very complex phenomenon. or dirt that may act as points of insulation. Using Steel Bars or Reinforcing Rods In some welding applications. When using steel bars. but some knowledge of its general characteristics can be useful. care must be taken to assure that the bar has adequate cross-sectional area to match the copper welding cable in total electrical conductivity. it should be a secure positive connection. rust. A rotating piece needs a special "moving" connection. a steel bar or a steel reinforcing rod may be used as a work lead connection or between two or more weldments. properly placed to minimize any welding interference or arc blow. oxides.Regardless of how the work lead connection is made. A bar that is inadequate in cross section may result in an overheated connection and result in poor welding performance. the cross-sectional area of the steel bar should be at least seven times the cross section of the welding cable conductor. Since the conductivity of copper is almost seven times that of mild steel. oil. Cleaning the Work Lead Connection Area A point to bear in mind is that the work lead clamping area should be at least equal to the cross-sectional area of the conductor.

Also. Arc Welding Safety. Safety in Welding and Cutting. Safety The hazard of electrical shock is one of the most serious and immediate risks facing personnel working in the welding area. When in doubt. If a "hot" section of the cable is felt. this is good time to inspect the electrical cables connected to the welding power source and determine if the cables can be safely used or needs to repaired or replaced. This may cause poor arc starting. With this in mind. Contact with metal parts that are "electrically hot" can cause injury or death. Published by the Lincoln Electric Company. For everyone's safety. In addition. always keep your cables in good condition. If the hot section is near a terminal. Troubleshooting Poor work lead connections may arc and weld the connection to the workpiece. it is probably undersized for the welding current being used. If any of these conditions occur. if any place along the cable. The Lincoln . E205.Testing the Circuit A simple way to test the soundness of the circuit is to run a hand over the length of the cable from the power source to the electrode. For safety. poor connections reduce the voltage at the welding arc. This should be performed immediately after an hour or more of welding after the power source is disconnected. refer to the equipment's operation manual or call a qualified electrician. Ohio 44117 Articles Latest Articles Search Articles by Topic View Full Article List What is Preheat? by Scott Funderburk. Suggested Reading ANSI/ASC Standard Z49.1. Cleveland. the connection at the terminal is suspect. always unplug the input power cord or disconnect the main power before attempting to inspect or service electrical problems. poor bead shape. inspect your work lead connections immediately. this is a potential problem as it's an area of increased electrical resistance. If the entire cable is hot to touch. Engineering Services. excessive spatter. the cause is probably damaged strands within the cable. and reduced weld quality. always make sure the power is off before performing this test.

Electric Company, May, 1998.

Preheat - Introduction This new department is a response to our readers and was inspired by a discussion regarding the need to emphasize the significance of welding engineering fundamentals. Our purpose here is not to reveal "ground-breaking material; rather, the goal is to reexamine a series of topics essential to the science, mathematics, and technology of welding. In this inaugural column, we will explore the purpose and importance of preheat and its role in the fabrication of welded members. What is Preheat? Preheating involves heating the base metal, either in its entirety or just the region surrounding the joint, to a specific desired temperature, called the preheat temperature, prior to welding, Heating may be continued during the welding process, but frequently the heat from welding is sufficient to maintain the desired temperature without a continuation of the external heat source. The interpass temperature, defined as the temperature between the first and last welding passes, can not fall below the preheat temperature, Interpass temperature will not be discussed further here; however, it will be the subject of a future column. Preheating can produce many beneficial effects; however, without a working knowledge of the fundamentals involved one risks wasting money, or even worse, degrading the integrity of the weldment. Why Preheat? There are four primary reasons to utilize preheat: (1) it lowers the cooling rate in the weld metal and base metal, producing a more ductile metallurgical structure with greater resistant to cracking; (2) the slower cooling rate provides an opportunity for any hydrogen that may be present to diffuse out harmlessly without causing cracking; (3) it reduces the shrinkage stresses in the weld and adjacent base metal, which is especially important in highly restrained joints and (4) it raises some steels above the temperature at which brittle fracture would occur in fabrication. Additionally, preheat can be used to help ensure specific mechanical properties, such as notch toughness. When Should Preheat be Used? In determining whether or not to preheat, the following array of factors should be considered: code requirements, section thickness, base metal chemistry, restraint, ambient temperature, filler metal hydrogen content and previous cracking problems.

If a welding code must be followed, then the code generally will specify the minimum preheat temperature for a given base metal, welding process and section thickness. This minimum value must be attained regardless of the restraint or variation in base metal chemistry; however, the minimum value may be increased if necessary. An example is illustrated in the next section. When there are no codes governing the welding, one must determine whether preheat is required, and if so, what preheat temperature will be appropriate. In general, preheat usually is not required on low carbon steels less than 1 in, (25 mm) thick. However, as the chemistry, diffusible hydrogen level of the weld metal, restraint or section thickness increases, the demand for preheat also increases. There are several methods to determine the required preheat temperature for a given base metal and section thickness that will be discussed in the next section. What Preheat Temperature is Required? Welding codes generally specify minimum values for the preheat temperature, which may or may not be adequate to prohibit cracking in every application. For example, if a bed-to-column connection is to be fabricated with a low-hydrogen electrode made of ASTM A572-Gr50 and A36 jumbo sections (thickness ranging from 4 to 5 in.), then a minimum prequalified preheat of 225F (107 C) is required (AWS D1.1-96, Table 3.2). However, for making butt splices in jumbo sections, it is advisable to increase the preheat temperate beyond the minimum prequalified level to that required by AISC for making butt splices in jumbo sections, namely 350F (175 C) (AISC LRFD J2.8). This conservative recommendation acknowledges that the minimum preheat requirements prescribed by AWS D1.1 may not be adequate for these highly restrained connections. When no welding codes are specified, and the need for preheat has been established, how does one determine an appropriate preheat temperature? As a basis for discussion, consider AWS D1.1-96, Annex XI: "Guideline on Alternative Methods for Determining Preheat'' which presents two procedures for establishing a preheat temperature developed primarily from laboratory cracking tests. These techniques are beneficial when the risk of cracking is increased due to composition, restraint, hydrogen level or lower welding heat input. The two methods outlined in Annex XI of AWS D1.1-96 are: (1) heat affected zone (HAZ) hardness control and (2) hydrogen control. The HAZ hardness control method, which is restricted to fillet welds, is based on the assumption that cracking will not occur if the

hardness of the HAZ is kept below some critical value. This is achieved by controlling the cooling rate. The critical cooling rate for a given hardness can be related to the carbon equivalent of the steel, which is defined as: (Mc + Si) (Cr + Mo + V) @i + Cu) CE = C + N ' + N ' + 6 5 15 From the critical cooling rate, a minimum preheat temperature can then be calculated. (Blodgett's paper entitled "Calculating Cooling Rates by Computer Programming'' outlines a calculation procedure based on cooling rate, heat input, plate thickness, temperature at which cooling rate is critical, preheat temperature, thermal conductivity and specific heat.) It should be pointed out, however, that "although the method can be used to determine a preheat level, its main value is in determining the minimum heat input (and hence minimum weld size) that prevents excessive hardening'' (Annex XI, paragraph 3.4,AWS D1.1-96.) The hydrogen control method is based on the assumption that cracking will not occur if the amount of hydrogen remaining in the joint after it has cooled down to about 120F (50C) does not exceed a critical value dependent on the composition of the steel and the restraint. This procedure is extremely useful for high strength, low-alloy steels that have high hardenability. However, the calculated preheat may be too conservative for carbon steels. The three basic steps of the hydrogen control method are: (1) Calculate a composition parameter similar to the carbon equivalent; (2) Calculate a susceptibility index as a function of the composition parameter and the filler metal diffusible hydrogen content; and (3) Determine the minimum preheat temperature from the restraint level, material thickness, and susceptibility index. How is Preheat Applied? The material thickness, size of the weldment and available heating equipment should be considered when choosing a method for applying preheat. For example, small production assemblies may be heated most effectively in a furnace. However, large structural components often require banks of heating torches, electrical strip heaters, or induction or radiant heaters. A high level of accuracy generally is not required for preheating carbon steels. Although it is important that the work be heated to a minimum temperate, it is acceptable to exceed that temperature by approximately IOOF (40C). However, this is not the

the AWS D1. since welding on overheated Q&T steels may be detrimental in the heat affected zone. • • • • • • • • • . et al. 1975.1-96 Structural Welding Code: Steel. and what temperature will be required for a given base metal and section thickness. (75 mm) in all directions from the point of welding. Carbon steels do not require precise temperature accuracy. "Calculating Cooling Rates by Computer Programming. Weldability of Ferritic Steels. March 1984. N.1 code requires that the minimum preheat temperature be established at a distance that is at least equal to the thickness of the thickest member. 1995. 0. electrical strip heaters. Annex XI of AWS D1. N. Bailey. Summary Preheat can prevent cracking and/or ensure specific mechanical properties such as notch toughness.. or the hydrogen control method. Bailey. The American Welding Society. Therefore. Graville. To ensure that the full material volume surrounding the joint is heated. Q&T steels require that maximum and minimum preheat temperatures be established and closely followed.1-96 provides guidelines for alternative methods of determining proper amounts of preheat: the HAZ hardness control method. 1996. Bibliography ANSI/AWS D1. The Principles of Cold Cracking Control in Welds. The Welding Institute. when no codes apply to a given situation. When heating the joint to be welded. 1973. Finally. Preheat must be used whenever applicable codes so specify. The Welding Institute. Dominion Bridge Company Ltd. but induction or radium for quenched and tempered (Q&T) steels. or induction or radiant heaters. Blodgett. or by using heating torches. maximum and minimum preheat temperatures must be followed closely for quenched and tempered steels. it is recommended practice to heat the side opposite of that which is to be welded and to measure the surface temperature adjacent to the joint. B. but not less than 3 in. the steel temperature should be checked to verify that the minimum preheat temperature has been established just prior to initiating the arc for each pass. Preheat may be applied in a furnace. the welding engineer must determine whether or not preheat is needed." Welding Journal. Welding Steels Without Hydrogen Cracking.A.

This method of identification allows the welder to ensure that the proper electrode is being used for the metal to be welded. since AWS does not perform any testing of its own. J. Our focus for this article is on carbon and low alloy steel electrodes.• • Irving.g. The A5 group of specifications provides requirements for: • • • Electrode classification including mechanical properties and the composition of the weld metal or the filler metal itself Electrode sizes and identification Manufacturer's identification and packaging This article concentrates on the electrode classification certificate. .D. "Preheat: The Main Defense against Hydrogen Cracking.D. as these are the types of metals most frequently welded. which are completed under a uniform set of conditions and to a rigid set of standards laid out in the specification that covers this particular consumable group (e. W." Welding Journal. B. • Understanding the AWS Certificate By M. Weldability of Steels. 1971. First we must clarify how an electrode is classified. R. Morlock of The Lincoln Electric Company The American Welding Society (AWS) publishes specifications for a wide variety of welding filler metals. 1994.. the manufacturer must conduct the testing specified. the manufacturer is certifying that the product meets the requirements of that classification. AWS A5. These specifications are a series of rules and standards used by the welding industry to classify welding electrodes. The James F. To make this designation. July 1992. what it means and how it is used. The Procedure Handbook of Arc Welding.1 Specification for Carbon Steel Electrodes for Shielded Metal Arc Welding). Stout. and Doty. When the manufacturer attaches the AWS specification and classification to the electrode package or places the classification on the product. Welding Research Council. The results that are reported on the AWS typical certificate are from the welding test(s) and the laboratory analysis. This certificate is sometimes referred to as a typical cert. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation. AWS certificate or certificate of conformance.

The certificate does not provide specific results from a particular manufacturing run. In short. The specification dictates the minimum tensile strength. the classification would be E4918. solid and cored welding wires. other shielded metal arc electrodes. welding procedure and weld joint configuration. their minimum tensile strength and usability. E Electrode • • • 70 Tensile Strength 1 Position 8 Flux Coating & Current The "E" designates that this is an electrode as opposed to a rod or flux. . submerged arc flux/wire combinations and other types of welding consumables are also classified. Using a similar system. yield strength. The "70" describes the minimum tensile strength as 70 ksi. stated in US customary units. potassium-bearing iron powder electrode suitable for welding mild steel with both AC and DC electrode positive current. Charpy impact energy and weld deposit analysis using a specified electrode size. "Typical Electrode Classification. If this designation had been in metric SI units. A complete explanation of each portion of the classification is shown in the side bar. they are certifying it meets all of the specification requirements. • A properly prepared certificate of conformance lists the requirements for the electrode classification and the test results for the diameter(s) required. Classification provides a standard for identifying welding consumables. batch or lot of product. in this case. this more specific type of testing could be a definition of "lot testing". When the electrode manufacturer provides the classification for their products and displays it along with the AWS specification on the package. not every size of every product is tested and the test results do not need to be published on the certificate for these other sizes.A certification document is not required by the AWS A5 specification but it is the most convenient way to provide proof of classification to the public. These other sizes can be classified providing the electrode that has been tested meets the specification requirements. the percent of elongation. Lastly the "8" signifies the type of flux coating and current type/polarity applicable. Typical Electrode Classification This example is for "low hydrogen". A certificate reports the outcome of the tests performed using representative or typical material for the product being classified. AWS electrode specifications are designed to classify electrodes. not how a particular batch of product performed against a set of standards. The result of this testing is the necessary evidence that the product meets the stated classification.1 standard. Representative materials for the sizes stipulated by the given specification are tested as a method of determining the electrode characteristics. The "1" identifies that this electrode can be used for welding in all positions." This is a Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) electrode often referred to as "stick electrode" that is classified in the A5. The next digit indicates the general usability of the electrode classification.

The fabricator can include the certificates for the consumables used for a weldment as part of the documentation of proper construction. 2005 certificate was recently published. 3 years or longer. 2004 is shown on this certificate. A certificate is good for the material manufactured from the test completion date forward until such time as the required testing is performed again. This is a construction code requirement for steel bridge fabricators. • Is a certificate of conformance document required for classified products? The AWS filler metal specifications do not require a certificate. Depending on what other specifications are in use and what type of structure the welding consumable is intended for use on will dictate the length of time a certificate is valid. the results shown on the certificate are "typical" results that are representative of the manufactured product for a given classification. For some projects. 2004.Certificates of conformance do not actually expire. 2005. it is a convenient way to document compliance. a certificate of conformance referencing the appropriate SFA specification and showing the product's AWS classification provides the necessary classification documentation for the corresponding ASME SFA . 2005 a distributor sells a package of the 1/8-inch size of product "A" manufactured on April 30. State and Federal highway construction codes or contracts require. 2004 the testing for the typical certificate of conformance for product "A" was completed and the test completion date of April 15. if the diameter(s) required to be tested by the AWS specification have passed the required testing then all sizes of that product are classified and the AWS certificate applies. A certificate is valid conformation of classification for the life of the electrode that is manufactured during its validation period. However. but a certificate of conformance does not expire. Fabrication or construction specifications and other governing bodies may dictate the frequency that the classification needs to be reconfirmed. a certificate of conformance for each welding product used. • Do AWS certificates expire? No. AWS does not stipulate a retest frequency. Having documented proof that an electrode meets the stipulated specification requirements is the primary use of certificates of conformance. Another certificate for product "A" was completed on April 1. As an example: on April 15. On May 3. Frequently Asked Questions • Are electrode sizes other than those tested classified and covered by that product's typical certificate? Yes. • Does an AWS typical certificate satisfy the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) SFA requirements? Yes. On April 30. 2004. even though the April 1. The proper certificate for this product is the one with the test completion date of April 15. 2004 a production run of the 1/8-inch size of product "A" is manufactured. a certificate showing the actual results of testing for a controlled lot of a specific size of a product may be required. as a minimum. An AWS typical certificate is used as proof that the electrode of a given classification meets the minimum requirements for that class. Testing was not necessarily conducted on samples of the specific material shipped. • Does the electrode classification certificate provide data for a specific production run of electrode? No. a certificate never expires for the electrode that was manufactured during its validation period regardless if the electrode is not used for 1 year. However.

travel speed. "If there is something left to guess. Having a written procedure is an important recipe for success.all of those things will lead to weld quality problems if you don't follow correct practice." Once you ensure that the welders are qualified and you have well-defined welding procedures in place. "As with everything. That's a tough thing to control. . product manager. Reprinted with permission from Equipment Today Magazine-October 2004 Managing variables in the welding process is critical to ensuring weld quality. The welder must be capable of meeting the applicable mandated code requirements. you have from A to Z in terms of capabilities. preheat ." he says. etc. "One program that has been very effective in raising the bar is the American Institute of Steel Construction's Erector Certification Program. We are constructing buildings where we measure the perimeters in feet or thousands of feet. Welder qualifications and a strict adherence to welding procedures are both critical to quality." says Miller. This certification (see sidebar) looks at issues such as compliance with welding procedure specifications. the condition of the welding equipment and the verification of meter accuracy. emphasizes that a welding procedure specification (WPS) and welder performance qualification (WPQ) are the foundations for quality. there is something wrong with the procedure. proper procedure and equipment influence the end result. The WPS covers amperage." says Duane Miller. WPQ is used to determine if the welder himself has the skill required to perform the weldment. "It is used to define the variables involved with producing a sound weldment.TIPS TO MAXIMIZE WELD QUALITY Welder Qualification. welding design engineer. the attention turns to the actual welding equipment." says Leisner." says Miller. Lincoln Electric. "Field erection is a tough business. we are talking about sixteenths of an inch. "WPS determines through testing that the weld being made will serve its intended purpose. But when it comes to weld joints. wire feed speed. filler metal classification. pre-heat. Miller Electric." John Leisner. post-heat. the cleanliness of the joint. Perhaps the largest variable is the individual performing the welding. "Tolerances of the fitup of the joint.

"You will walk up and it may be at 300 amps. the codes usually spell out time tables for exposure. Hobart Brothers Co. "It basically wants to soak up all of the humidity that is around it. such as the E7018 Series. ask the manufacturer if extended exposure data is available and how to store and maintain the electrode. and the limitations you have for exposure and in rebaking/reprocessing the electrodes if they have been overexposed. you may be changing the chemical composition of the deposit." says Leisner." notes Leisner.and GMAW-electrodes designed for low diffusible hydrogen levels is a whole different issue. "Most of the codes are not black and white on tubular wire storage as compared to SMAW electrode handling and storage. but typically say 'follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. For instance. "If you are welding to the codes using a SMAW electrode. consider a self-shielded wire recommended up to 220 amps." says Dean Phillips. you must be aware of proper handling and storage procedures. The solution is strict adherence to welding codes. For this reason. these electrodes should never be left lying around on the jobsite." This results in increased hydrogen levels.' If you buy a tubular electrode with low diffusible characteristics. Since it is a voltage-sensitive wire. "The flux coatings on the outside of these rods are hydroscopic. which can cause cracking in the weld. Storage and handling of tubular FCAW. "Most of the codes will have some suggestive recommendations.Storage and Use of Filler Materials When you stick weld with low-hydrogen electrodes. I have noted that some people don't pay attention at all." Proper voltage and amperage Manufacturer-recommended voltage and amperage ranges for filler materials also deserve close attention. "With flux-cored welding. manager of welding engineering." says Phillips. .

" However. this is not the case when using prequalified welding procedures. such as in the D1. and you may see an amperage recommendation. "As long as the fabricator/erector has tested a PQR test plate. Voltage drop in the cables is another issue that can lead to poor weld quality.1 code. wire is always properly stored prior to use. "When you are outside of those parameters. Too much or too little stick out may cause weld discontinuity and possible defects." The manufacturer provides all of the necessary parameters." says Phillips." notes Leisner. "Typically." says Phillips. "If the fabricator/erector is using prequalified welding procedures. it is fine. operating outside of the manufacturer's recommended parameters is not always a problem. but be within all of the code prequalified requirements and conditions. then that is another story. it is important to maintain the recommended electrode stick out. "The fabricator/erector may operate outside the manufacturer's recommendations." If you are using voltage-sensitive wires. and the test results meet the requirements and are accepted by the EOR (Engineer of Record)." But with proper testing.You may not reach the desired mechanical properties because you poured too much energy into it. "Some people will call in and try to figure out why they can't get enough power to where they . you will see a voltage and a wire-feed speed recommendation. "The fabricators/erectors not only must stay within the manufacturer's recommendations. you really don't know what is going to happen. To avoid problems with weld quality due to exposure.

" Other common causes of voltage drops include increased resistance from poorly kept leads and old leads where some of the copper strands might have been broken. Some newer machines can also increase weld quality vs. The longer the cables. The . If you change your arc length a little bit. Feedback circuits on modern engine-driven welders compensate for changes in the environment. with a self-shielded flux cored wire process. one way or is it two ways?' " There is a difference between the length from the machine to the work and the lead length. 'Is that 100 ft." says Leisner. that means the voltage is allowed to fluctuate. CMW Welding has four two-man crews utilizing 1-ton pickups equipped with Miller Electric Trailblazer multiprocess welder/generators. we want to use a CV (Constant Voltage) type machine. "What we want to find out is the distance from the positive electrode to the work and back to the machine. "A complete weld circuit is what helps us determine how much voltage drop they will have in the cables. "They may say it is 100 ft.are welding. your voltage changes." says Leisner. CV machines are suited for voltage-sensitive wire. But Leisner reports that he still sees some people welding voltage-sensitive wire with CC (Constant Current) type machines. Select for the Task What you plan to do with the welder has a major influence on the correct machine for your application. the more resistance." says Leisner. which is why selecting the proper size cable is so important. CV. "Typically. That is the complete weld circuit. older units. "The reason that scares me is if we have a constant current power supply. This is when the question of lead length often comes up." There are a lot of power sources that are capable of doing both. and we ask. Your risk of defects increases significantly when you use CC vs.

when you rectify it." says Miller. lighter weight and more portable. They are also more energy efficient. Inverters promise many advantages in the field. three-phase power.000 Hz and more. Miller adds. take another look. "That is where pulse welding and wave shape controls are going." If you have steered away from inverters because you had a bad experience in the distant past. you have tens of thousands of signals." he states. we can chop those signals up and build them into wave shapes. and the ability to control the output characteristics of the inverter is outstanding.power characteristics of older machines would actually change as they warmed up. lower spatter and overall better weld quality with the inverter-based machine designs today vs." . the previous inverters and." Inverters operate at 20. "With high-speed switches. vs. "With today's technology. with the modern equipment that should not be a restriction. "Certainly." says Miller. you can certainly get very similar types of output and control as what you would have for the shops. "Perhaps the first advantage is that they are smaller. the conventional transformer/rectifier machines." says Miller. "Instead of having 360 signals a second. "We can get better arc transfer. you have 360 signals a second that you can play with in terms of manipulating the output." says Miller." This allows you to more effectively build the kinds of output characteristics that are ideal for metal transfer. more importantly. "If you have typical 60-Hz. "giving the arc the power when it needs it and backing off when it doesn't need it.

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