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Journal of Materials Processing Technology 209 (2009) 4716–4721

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Journal of Materials Processing Technology
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jmatprotec

Characteristics of alternate supply of shielding gases in aluminum GMA welding
B.Y. Kang a,∗ , Yarlagadda K.D.V. Prasad b , M.J. Kang a , H.J. Kim a , I.S. Kim c,∗
a b c

Korea Institute of Industrial Technology, 7-47 Songdo-dong, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon 406-840, South Korea School of Mechanical, Manufacturing and Medical Engineering, QUT, QLD, Australia Mokpo National University, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Mokpo, South Korea

a r t i c l e

i n f o

a b s t r a c t
Recently, unlike conventional method in supplying shielding gas, a newly method which alternately supplies different kinds of shielding gases in weld zone is developed and partly commercialized. However, literature related to the present status of the technology in the actual weld field is very scant. To give better understand on this technology, this study was performed. Compared with conventional gas supply method, the variations of weld porosity and weld shape in aluminum welding with alternate supply method of pure argon and pure helium were compared with conventional gas supply method with pure argon and argon + 67%helium mixture, respectively. As a result, compared with the welding by supplying pure argon and argon + 67%helium mixture by conventional method, the welding by supplying alternately pure argon and pure helium, produced lower degree of weld porosity and deeper and broader weld penetration profile. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Article history: Received 3 February 2004 Received in revised form 23 July 2008 Accepted 5 November 2008 Keywords: Alternate supply of shielding gas Argon Argon + 67%helium mixture Aluminum alloys Weld porosity Weld penetration Fluidity of weld pool High quality

1. Introduction Recently, productivity improvement is a major focus for the welding industry and its associated research community, especially in the push for higher weld quality and reduced manufacturing cost. Weld quality is dependent on arc stability and minimizing the effects of disturbances or changes in the operating condition commonly occurring during the welding process. For this purpose, recent trends of welding system are focused on the development of new process in order to achieve better quality, higher productivity and cost savings in welding. Several researchers (Novikov et al., 1989; Nsbarabokhin et al., 2000; Yeo, 1990) reported a new technology capable of achieving better quality and high efficiency using the physical properties of weld arc, which is produced by the periodical alternate supply of shielding gases in weld zone. A related apparatus was also partly commercialized. Novikov et al. (1989,1991, 1992) suggested for the first time an advanced technology related to alternate supply of shielding gases in GMA (gas metal arc) welding and GTA (gas tungsten arc) welding processes. They found that the defect incidence (porosity and crack) using alternate supply of Ar (pure

∗ Corresponding authors. E-mail address: kanbo@kitech.re.kr (B.Y. Kang). 0924-0136/$ – see front matter © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2008.11.036

argon) and He (pure helium) in 1420 and 1460 aluminum alloys has been decreased. Nsbarabokhin et al. (2000) found the increased strength and improved ductility properties of welded joints of 1460 aluminum alloy as alternate supply of argon and helium using the AC (alternate current) GTA welding machine has been carried out. Meanwhile, the practical applications of the related technology has been developed and commercialized. Yeo (1990) has employed a low heat input by argon gas technique for first pass and a high heat input by helium gas technique for second pass for joining the end plugs and cladding tube in order to avoid various types of weld defects, such as cracking, porosity, distortion of the tube adjacent to the inner extension of the end plug, and a reduction in the thickness of the tube adjacent to the weld. More recently, Nakamura et al. (2002) reported a GMA welding process that periodically controls shielding gas composition and a new welding torch that introduces locally and periodically CO2 into argon + 2%oxygen mixture to achieve high efficient welding was designed. As mentioned above, this technology can realize better quality and high efficiency of weld employed variations in the physical properties of welding arc produced by the alternate supply of shielding gases as a simple and economical way. In practical use, it is difficult but important to study more systematic and better understand on this technology of alternate supply of shielding gases unlike conventional gas supply method. However, literature related to the present status of the related technology in the actual weld field is very scant.

the apparatus called KR301 (KR301 is a trademark of KR Precision Co. respectively for conventional method and Ar to He for alternate method were employed. Fig. Kang et al. 2 shows a schematic diagram for sequence alternate supply of shielding gases by electromagnetic valve. which controls the flow rate. 1. Welding power source was the inverter type of 500-A grade.4 13.B. Experimental details 2.2. Three kinds of shielding gases. Shielding gases ware supplied to welding torch through solenoid valve orifice with 4 mm diameter in welding power source. and the other is the valve that operated by electromagnetic force for alternate supply of shielding gases.1. 2. the equipment is largely composed of two parts.Y. and is alternately supplied by the valve with return working. respectively. Wire feeding rate (m/min) 13. and supplies frequency of shielding gases. Alternate method. Two kinds of experiments were carried out. Welding tests Commercial 5083 Al–Mg aluminum alloy plates and ER 5356 (equivalent for AWS A 5. The apparatus for alternate supply of shielding gases: (a) outside view and (b) inside view. 2. welding was performed in welding conditions of Table 1. The welding paramTable 1 Welding conditions for the measurement of welding voltage waveforms. Apparatus for alternate supply of shielding gases In the present study.) is used for alternate supply of pure argon and pure helium. Welding voltage waveforms by supplying Ar and He.4 Welding voltage (V) 25 25 25 Welding speed (cm/min) 40 40 40 Flow rate (l/min) 20 20 15:5 Ar He Ar:He a b Conventional method. gas (A + B) and gas (B) and/or conversely. Ar and He. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 209 (2009) 4716–4721 4717 The purpose of the present study is not only to study the effect of alternate supply method of shielding gases in aluminum GMA welding using Ar and He. As shown in Fig. 1. several welding experiments have been carried out and compared with the method of supplying Ar and Ar + 67%He (argon + 67%helium mixture) with constant flow rate (hereafter called conventional method) and the developed method supplying alternately Ar and He with different flow rate (hereafter called alternate method). but also to investigate weld porosity and weld shape because aluminum alloys are the most susceptible to porosity and prone to produce the lack of fusion defect. In order to achieve this aim. The first experiment is to investigate the welding voltage waveforms to confirm the alternate supply of different gases in apparatus for alternate supply of shielding gases. in South Korea. and the extent of defects for a given situation. One is the electronic part. The frequency of alternate supply of shielding gases is controlled from 2 to 10 Hz. 2. The sequence of gas supply is gas (A). In the case of the former. Gas a a b Fig. Unlike the conventional method. Schematic diagram showing the alternate supply of shielding gases by electromagnetic valve.10) welding wire were used as the experimental materials. . which give an acceptable balance between production rate. which can be shown to be the best with respect to some standard and chosen combination of process parameters. Major welding conditions should define GMA welding process.4 13. Ltd. the alternate method uses the discrete gases (gas A and gas B) with a different flow rate. Fig. and the latter is the experiment to investigate the effect of alternate supply method of shielding gases on the weld porosity and weld shape in aluminum GMA welding. respectively with conventional method were compared with those by alternately supplying Ar and He by alternate method.

. alternate method. wire feed rate of 13. three levels of flow rate (Ar and He) with 20 l/min for conventional method and flow rate of 15 l/min Ar to 5 l/min He with frequency of 2.4 13. 2. conventional method and (c) Ar to He. a plate of 12 mm in thickness. 100 mm in width and 250 mm in length as base metal and 90◦ in groove angle and 5 mm in depth as weld joint design were used. Specimen end faces were polished and etched using Keller solution (2 ml HF + 3 ml HCl + 5 ml HNO3 + 190 ml H2 O). conventional method. 4 represents welding voltage waveforms produced by welding according to the different type of shielding gas and type of shielding gas supply. 4. 3. 3(b) is a multi-pass weld. Alternate supply of shielding gases Welding voltage waveforms by supplying Ar and He. (b) He. welding speed of 25 cm/min. Welding voltage waveforms with the type of shielding gas and type of gas supply: (a) Ar. For multi-pass specimen. 3 shows a schematic diagram of weld joint to evaluate the weld porosity. In the case of multi-pass welding.4 Welding voltage (V) 25 25 25 Welding speed (cm/min) 25 25 25 Flow rate (l/min) 20 20 15:5 Ar Ar + He Ar:He a b Conventional method. Fig. Flow rate was respectively measured by flow rate gauge for Ar in Ar and Ar + 67%He. All other parameters except these were fixed.4 m/min. Alternate method. Ar and Ar + 67%He for conventional method and Ar to He for alternate method were employed. 4(a) and (b) is welding voltage waveforms Fig. In the nick break test. Welding was carried out at flat position by using the automatic GMA welding carriage. respectively with conventional method were compared with those by alternately supplying Ar and He with alternate method.3. Fig. However. wire feed rate of 13. a 100 mm × 200 mm specimen of 12 mm in thickness has been prepared and welded using welding conditions as shown in Table 2 under a shielding gas atmosphere supplying Ar and Ar + 67%He by conventional method and supplying alternately Ar and He by alternate method. three levels of flow rate (Ar and Ar + 67%He) with 20 l/min for the conventional method and flow rate of 15 l/min Ar to 5 l/min He with frequency of 2. Xray radiographic test for the completed bead-on-plate welds and the nick break test by three point bending method for completed multi-pass welds were performed.4 13. Schematic diagram of weld joint: (a) bead-on-plate weld specimen and (b) multi-pass weld specimen. In X-ray radiographic test for three specimens.1. In the case of the latter.4 m/min. To evaluate weld porosity. and the end faces were machined. all porosities on X-ray film for three specimens were investigated and then averaged regardless of size and shape. Kang et al. Fig. For bead-on-plate specimen. 3. To evaluate weld shape. Three kinds of shielding gases. eter used in the experiments were. Welding voltage waveforms were measured by arc monitoring system for 5 s at sampling rate of 10 kHz. Fig. welding voltage of 25 V. Observation of porosity For the observation of weld porosity for welded specimens. For the observations of the cross-section of welded specimen with each shielding gas. welding was performed under welding conditions as shown in Table 2.2 Hz for alternate method. 3(a) is a bead-on-plate weld and Fig. Gas a a b Wire feeding rate (m/min) 13. The welding parameter used in the experiments were. three specimens for each shielding gas in welding conditions as shown in Table 2 under a shielding gas atmosphere supplying Ar and Ar + 67%He by conventional method and supplying alternately Ar and He by alternate method were used. and for He in He. porosity on fracture surface was observed by the naked eye.2 Hz for alternate method. a 100 mm × 200 mm plate of 15 mm in thickness as base metal and 60◦ in groove angle and 5 mm in root gap as weld joint design is employed. welding speed of 40 cm/min. it is quite difficult to make sure whether Ar and He is alternately supplied with given sequence in torch side or not because the difference of density between Ar and He exists. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 209 (2009) 4716–4721 Table 2 Welding conditions for the investigation of weld porosity and weld shape. welding voltage of 25 V. the transverse sections of each weld were cut using a power hacksaw from the mid-length position of welds. Results and discussion 3. Fig.Y. the total number of weld bead was 4.4718 B.

This can be shown from the process of formation weld porosity in aluminum welds.. Considering that Ar and He is simultaneously supplied for a short time. it is known that most porosity of in aluminum welds is to be produced in the latter. Howden and Milner. 6 represents the solubility curve of hydrogen with temperature with kind of shielding gas and type of shielding gas supply. However. 4(a) represents welding voltage waveforms for a mixed type of short circuit transfer mode and instantaneous short circuit transfer mode in a gas atmosphere supplying Ar by conventional method. the case of Ar showing the fastest cooling rate in three types of shielding gases produces the largest difference of solubility of hydrogen. 6. and Ar + 67%He. Ar + 67%He produces the lowest amount of gas bubbles as weld porosity sources. in melting temperature region. a short circuit transfer mode and spray transfer mode in welding voltage waveforms in a shielding gas atmosphere supplying alternately Ar and He by alternate method periodically appear as shown in Fig. but it is beyond the scope of this study. helium has higher arc energy. the difference of slow cooling rate produces that of solubility of hydrogen. This gas is immediately distributed to the entire weld zone by various types of convective fluid flow. alternate supply gas of Ar to He. the amount of weld metal porosity would tend to decrease at the high values of heat . gas is rejected and forms gas bubbles by heterogeneous nucleation. Ar + 67%He produces the most amount of gas bubbles as weld porosity sources. As a rule. 1963): hydrogen introduced into arc atmosphere from hydrogen sources is dissociated by arc heat and absorbed into high temperature zone just below arc. Meanwhile. Shirus. and Ar. 6. the case of Ar + 67%He by conventional with the lowest amount of gas bubbles as weld porosity sources and higher heat input must be show lower porosity.2 Hz. Gas bubbles grow and coalesce. 1958. considering that most porosity in aluminum welds is to be produced in melting temperature region. as illustrated in Fig. in liquid temperature range. As mention above. and thus gives higher heat input in weld (Hilton and Norrish. when molten metal of the weld contains more hydrogen than can be maintained in solution. compared with argon. From these results. Meanwhile. 1978. compared with conventional method with Ar and Ar + 67%He. alternate supply gas of Ar to He. This result is similar to other researcher’s work (Collins. Effect of alternate supply of argon and helium on weld porosity Fig. 1994. Devletian and Wood. the range of metal transfer mode equivalent to a mixed gas of Ar and He is expected to be shown in welding voltage waveforms of Fig. summarized as follows (Howden. 5 shows the number of weld porosity observed from bead-on-plate specimens welded under a shielding gas supplying alternately Ar and He by alternate method and supplying Ar and Ar + 67%He by conventional method. 5. Accordingly. Fig. Ramirez et al. these get trapped in weld metal. However. and thus during solidification of molten pool. Fig. 1971.2. They also explained that reduced porosity levels with the Ar–He mixture are attributed to a more efficient oxide removal mechanism as well as providing a more stable spray transfer than argon alone. the alternate method with Ar and He shows the lowest porosity level.B.Y. Experimental results showed that shielding gas affects molten metal transfer mode in welding. As the result. While in a gas atmosphere supplying He by conventional method as shown in Fig. However. The process of formation of is Fig. 4(c). while Fig. In the case of conventional method. and then in the course of escaping by buoyancy of gas bubbles. Therefore. welding voltage waveforms show spray transfer mode. respectively by conventional method. Salter and Dye. One is to be produced due to the difference of solubility in hydrogen in the liquid temperature region (boiling point to melting point) and the other is to be produced due to the increased concentration of hydrogen in front of solid–liquid interface in melting temperature region. 1969. 4(c) is those of a 15 l/min Ar and He 5 l/min flow rate of shielding gas supplying alternately by alternate method. the heat input is expected to increase in the following order: Ar + 67%He. 3. compared with alternate supply gas of Ar and He by alternate method. Porosity formed in aluminum welds is classified as two types. In flat position welding. and Ar. 4(c). Kennedy. alternate supply gas of Ar and He. Brosilow. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 209 (2009) 4716–4721 4719 measured under a 20 l/min flow rate of Ar and He shielding gas. It might be concluded that the detailed analysis of welding voltage waveforms is required. 1970). Schematic diagram showing the difference of hydrogen solubility with temperature with type of gas and type of gas supply. It was confirmed that apparatus used in the present study alternately supplies Ar and He with a frequency of about 2. 1983. Comparison of number of porosity with type of shielding gas and type of gas supply. Kang et al. During solidification of molten pool. Hilton and Norrish. Fig. 1988. As the result. They were found that the Ar–He shielding gas mixture for GTA and GMA welding processes in aluminum welding reduces the degree of porosity. Therefore. amount of rejected gas is produced in the following order: Ar + 67%He. the number of porosity for Ar + 67%He produced less porosity level than those for Ar. 4(b). amount of rejected gas bubbles is produced in the following order: Ar. 1971. 1988).

7(b). 8. Effect of alternate supply of argon and helium on weld shape input (Devletian and Wood. alternate. 7(b). a great deal of weld porosity was observed whereas in the case of supplying Ar + 67%He by conventional method and Ar and He by alternate method comparatively showed sound welds.. Fig. Consequently. the result of this study is not so. the increase of the fluidity of weld pool helps in escaping of hydrogen gas bubbles. On supplying Ar. supplying alternately Ar and He by alternate method is considered to show higher fluidity. 7(a) shows the behavior of weld pool and the variation of arc pressure because of electromagnetic force supplied by Ar + 67%He in flow rate of 20 l/min by conventional method. Alternate supply of Ar and He produces peak of arc pressures in between whenever there is a change in shielding gas from Ar to He or vice versa. Fig. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 209 (2009) 4716–4721 Fig. On welding by supplying Ar by conventional method. Comparison of weld shape with type of gas and type of gas supply. (b) Ar + 67%He. To do this. It is considered that this result was due to the increased fluidity of molten pool in alternate method. Fig. He with conventional method. respectively by alternate method is shown in Fig.Y. Kang et al. (1978) reported that turbulent convective fluid flow during solidification produces a substantial reduction in porosity in 5083 and 5052 aluminum welds deposited by the GTAW process. Adonyi et al. it can be inferred that in the alternate method. and thus arc pressure increases as arc pressure is changes depending upon the type of supplied gas (Kazuo et al. 7. 7 shows the behavior of weld pool and arc pressure with type of shielding gas supply. Fig.3. Matsuda et al. . Fig. As illustrated in Fig. conventional and (c) Ar to He. Arc pressure is constant with time and works downwards so that the fluidity of weld pool moves only downwards. the nick break test by three point bending method for completed multi-pass welds was performed. which is the cause of weld porosity in weld pool. 9 shows macroscopic views of the cross-section and the variation of the depth and width of weld penetration measured Fig. 3. welding current increases. The behavior of weld pool and the variation of arc pressure observed on supplying alternately Ar and He in flow rate of 15 l/min and 5 l/min. the variations of arc pressure gives rise to the variation in the behavior of weld pool. Supplying alternately Ar with higher arc pressure and He with lower pressure causes weld pool to move downwards and vice versa. respectively. 8 shows the fracture surface produced by the nick break test of multi-pass welded specimen. when compared to supplying Ar + 67%. Schematic diagram showing the variation of arc pressure and weld pool behavior with type of shielding gas and type of gas supply: (a) Ar + 67%He. 1983). 9. alternate. The similar result was also observed in the multi-pass welds.. conventional and (b) Ar to He. Views of fracture surface of multi-pass welded specimens: (a) Ar. In spite of this fact. 1985. Weld porosity in multi-pass welds was observed by the naked eye for fracture surface of specimen welded. 1992). Accordingly.4720 B. conventional.

. B.R.. Hiraoka. 33–45.596. K. Salter.R. 64–72.H. D. 66–67. Brosilow. Matsuda. Makarov. macroscopic views of cross-section of specimen.. Conclusion An investigation to find the effect of alternate supply of shielding gases in aluminum GMA welding was carried out. Apparatus and method for producing multi-level heat input for weld formation using a single current level power supply. et al. I. Hilton. U..E. K. 1958. R. G. compared with the welding by supplying Ar and Ar + 67%He by conventional method. Porosity in aluminum alloy. Investigation of arc force effects in subsurface GTA welding. The editorial assistance of Mr. respectively by alternate method and supplying Ar and Ar + 67%He with flow rate of 20 l/min by conventional method. 2. WRC Bulletin. Yeo.. J. Selecting gas mixtures for MIG welding. 1985.. respectively is shown well such results.A. F. the welding by supplying alternately Ar and He. H. This difference in characteristics of arc strongly affects the weld bead profile.. Br. Meanwhile. Met. Novikov.. 14 (6). Whereas arc plasma in Ar + 67%He expands and has higher arc energy and thus the arc heat contributes to the depth and width of weld penetration.N.. the heat transfer in weld pool is larger in the direction of the width of weld pool than in the direction of the depth of weld pool because of greater thermal conductivity of aluminum. 4.. 38–52. produced the lowest degree of weld porosity. The shielding gas may have a pronounced effect on the weld shape in both GTA and GMA welding processes.. Michio. JWS 20 (2). 304–316. 1991. Patent No.. 9. An up to date look at porosity formation in aluminum weldments. Baeslack.. Salter and Dye. NY. 1971. The following conclusions were made: (1) Under the same welding conditions.G. 2285–2294.R. J. J. Ramirez. J.. Y. Liu. 7(b). (2) Under the same welding conditions. Praveen Posinasetti is also gratefully acknowledged. The argon arc plasma is characterized by a very high-energy inner core and an outer mantle of lesser heat energy (Hilton and Norrish. Devletian. N. Sasaki. As shown in Fig. Howden. Nsbarabokhin. Metal.V. O. (3) Compared with Ar + 67%He. Richardson. Nakata. Kennedy. Kazakov. Jpn. 1963. T. D.. 1983. compared with the welding by supplying Ar and Ar + 67%He by conventional method. 1971. 1994. Trans... References Adonyi. Sanbo Pre. The reason for it is as follows: although the arc plasma with arc energy in pure argon is concentrated.Y. the case of Ar + 67%He in conventional method and alternate supply gas of Ar to He in alternate method showed deeper and broader penetration compared with Ar. JWS 3 (2). Wood. Kang et al. V. 1. Fabrication 5 (6. Weld. the deepest and broadest weld profile was produced. Novikov. 10. J.. Weld.. 290.R. T.. M.. et al. Welds. No. J. 37 (6). there was large difference observed in the width of weld. 468–470. 1970. Shulgina. 1978. Factors Affecting Porosity in Aluminum Welds—A Review. Aust. W. produced the deepest and broadest weld penetration profile. Shielding gases for arc welding. J. O.W. D. J.. 189–196. Acknowledgements This work was performed under the auspices of ARC (Australian Research Council) Research Fund in Australia and the Ministry of Commerce.M. Effect of helium gas on arc characteristic in gas tungsten arc welding.V. Jpn. Therefore.G.. 6. 1989. Kennedy. Bushuev. Des.. 1970). 1992. S. O. 1969.. Weld. Brosilow. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 209 (2009) 4716–4721 4721 from specimen welded under a shielding atmosphere supplying alternately Ar and pure He with flow rate of 15 l/min and 5 l/min. Ar + 67%He produces deeper and wider weld penetration. (September). Mater. In present study. 4.. 1971.. Gas mixtures in welding. but the depth of weld penetration did not largely show the difference.. D. JWRI 7 (2).. Weld. Weld. Weld. Y.. Introduction of arc phenomenon in welding. D. Akira. 2000.816.. alternate supply of Ar and He gives the advantage of reducing weld porosity and improved weld shape. Fabrication (October). 230–233. Novikov. Russian Patent No. Miyanage.. J. J. Kazuo. E..153. Kayano. Weld. Industry and Energy Research Fund in Korea.M..563. C. Br. Gases for shield metal arc welding.008.. .E. 1978. 25A.. 1978. (September). J. W.808. 1. The authors would like to thank KR Precision Corporation for the support of experimental apparatus (model:KR301) to this work. Technological special features of welding 1460 highstrength aluminum alloy. Collins.B. Nakamura. T.. K. Milner. Hydrogen absorption in arc welding. Norrish. R. 112–114. 1988. GMA welding process with periodically controlling shielding gas composition. J. Constr. et al. It is considered that this is due to the combine effect of the characteristics of the arc concentration of Ar and the arc expansion of He under acting of arc pressure of impulse with alternate supply of shielding gas as shown in Fig. Dye.A.. 1988. J. The helium arc produces a deep and broad weld bead whereas argon arc produces a bead profile most often characterized by a papillary (nipple) type penetration pattern. 589–593.G. Russian Patent No. Effect of electromagnetic stirring on weld solidification structure of aluminum alloys. 5–10. Howden. Weld.. Russian Patent No.. and thus the lower depth of weld penetration is due to the dispersion of arc heat. Welding Research Council.918. Weld. 1992. Met. Comparing Ar with Ar + 67%He in conventional method. O. Pure helium gas possesses higher thermal conductivity than argon and also produces arc plasma in which the arc energy is more uniformly dispersed. in the case of alternate method. O.287.M. S. Tuskamoto.. Dudryashov. 321–330.. O.. the welding by supplying alternately Ar and He.S. 237–245. Int. J.A. 2002.. 50 (2). Shirus.U. Han. Trans. 1990. J.M.). Effect of welding variables and solidification substructure on weld metal porosity. F. Y.E. Takahashi.