GAS TUNGSTEN ARC WELDING

The necessary heat for Gas Tungsten-Arc Welding (GTAW), or TIG, is produced by an electric arc maintained
between a non-consumable Tungsten electrode and the part to be welded. The heated weld zone, the molten
metal, and the tungsten electrode are shielded from the atmosphere by a blanket of inert gas fed through the
torch. The GTAW process can produce temperatures of up to 35,000° F. The GTAW torch brings heat only to
the workpiece. If filler metal is desired, it may be added manually like in oxy-acetylene welding or an automatic filler metal feeding system can be utilized.

TIG Applications
The GTAW process has advantages over the other welding processes which in many cases make it more desirable to use. Some of these advantages are:
A. HIGHLY CONCENTRATED ARC:
This permits pinpoint control of heat allowing a narrow heat affected zone. A high concentration of heat is an
advantage when welding metals that possess high heat conductivity, such as aluminum and copper. Because of
the highly concentrated arc, some safety precautions should be observed:
1. Unprotected skin is quickly "sunburned" by the arc rays. Eyes should be properly protected by the correct
shade of filter lens. Other workers in the area must be protected from stray glare or flash.
2. When welding in confined areas, such as inside tanks or containers, concentrations of ozone and nitrous
oxides can easily reach an unsafe level. Precautions must be taken to ventilate these areas properly.
B. INERT GAS SHIELDING:
"Inert" means inactive or deficient in active chemical properties. The shielding gas serves only to blanket the
weld and exclude the active properties in the surrounding air. It does not burn, and adds nothing to or takes
anything from the metal. Inert gases like argon and helium, or a mixture of these two, do not chemically react
or combine with other gases. They possess no odor and are transparent permitting the operator maximum visibility of the arc.
C. NO FLUX OR SLAG:
There is no requirement for flux with this process, therefore, there is no slag to obscure the operator's vision of
the puddle. The finished weld will not have slag to remove between passes. Entrapment of slag in multiple
pass welds is not a problem.

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D. NO SMOKE OR FUMES:
The process itself does not produce smoke or injurious fumes. If the base metal contains coatings or elements
such as lead or zinc that produce fumes, these must be contended with as in any fusion welding process on
these materials. If the base metal contains oil, grease, paint or other contaminants, smoke and fumes will definitely be produced as the heat of the arc burns them away. The base material should be cleaned to make the
conditions most desirable.
E. NO SPARKS OR SPATTER:
In the GTAW process there is no transfer of metal across the arc. There are no molten globules of spatter to
contend with and no sparks produced if the material being welded is free of contaminants. This is advantageous where spatter would create a problem around the weld or on adjoining parts.
In summary, GTAW welding is a clean process. It is desirable from an operator point-of-view because of the
reasons outlined. The operator must maintain good welding conditions by properly cleaning material, using
clean filler metal, clean welding gloves, and keep oil, dirt and other contaminants away from the weld area.
Cleanliness cannot be overemphasized, particularly on aluminum and magnesium. These metals are more susceptible to contaminants than are ferrous metals. Porosity in aluminum welds has been shown to be caused by
hydrogen. Consequently, it is most important to eliminate any sources of hydrogen contamination such as
moisture and hydrocarbons.

EQUIPMENT FOR GAS TUNGSTEN ARC (GTAW) WELDING
The equipment required for the Gas Tungsten Arc Welding process may vary with specific applications, but
certain basic components are required, and will be discussed in this manual. The figure below illustrates the
basic components required for gas tungsten-arc welding.

Basic GTAW Equipment

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Page 3 . Each of these current types has its applications. and alternating current with high-voltage high-frequency arc stabilization. and its advantages and disadvantages. The power sources used may be the same ac or ac/dc machine used for SMAW or depending upon job requirements. Amperage requirements may range from a few amperes to several hundred amperes. A look at each type and its uses will help the operator select the best current type for the job. direct current electrode positive (reverse polarity). the operator has three choices of welding current. The type of current used will have a great effect on the penetration pattern as well as the bead configuration. GTAW Power Sources GAS TUNGSTEN ARC WELDING POWER When GTAW welding. Some automatic welding applications on aluminum are done with direct current. Direct current is usually preferred for the ferrous metals and other non-ferrous metals. Alternating current is normally used for manual welding of aluminum and magnesium. They are: direct current electrode negative (straight polarity).POWER SOURCE The constant current (drooping volt/amp curve) power source for GTAW welding may be either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). may be a sophisticated power supply capable of being programmed to complete welding automatically.

The torch is connected to the negative terminal of the power source and work lead is connected to the positive terminal. DIRECT CURRENT ELECTRODE POSITIVE (REVERSE POLARITY) When Direct Current Electrode Positive (DCEP) is used the torch is connected to the positive terminal. some disadvantages. a large diameter electrode must be used for relatively low amperage. therefore it operates at a lower temperature. Page 4 . The positive gas ions are now attracted to the negative workpiece. the electrode is now the positive side of the arc and the work is the negative side. this polarity would seem to be excellent for welding aluminum and magnesium. the resulting penetration pattern will prove to be shallow when using DCEP. would seem to be the best combination for welding aluminum. a 1/16” diameter electrode would be adequate. A compromise to obtain the advantages of both DCEN and DCEP is to use alternating current. When using this polarity. This accounts for the higher current capacity of a given size tungsten electrode with DCEN than with ac or DCEP. and are impinging on the electrode with the resulting heating effect. are attracted towards the negative electrode. Since most of the heat is liberated in the electrode. As was previously mentioned the tungsten electrode becomes very hot. Because of this beneficial oxide removal. The electrode must be large even when low amperages are used to prevent overheating and possibly melting the electrode. therefore the greatest amount of heat is distributed into the workpiece. This accounts for the deep penetration obtained when using DCEN for GTAW welding. They strike the work with sufficient energy to chip away the brittle aluminum oxides and provide "cleaning action. The electrons now are leaving the work with the same cooling effect as before. When the arc is established. As an example. In a dc arc approximately 70% of the heat will be concentrated at the positive side of the arc. There are. The small electrode produces a more highly concentrated arc resulting in the heat energy being confined to a smaller area. When used on aluminum the arc would be somewhat erratic as aluminum is not a good emitter of electrons. therefore. however." Cleaning action refers to the breaking up and removal of the oxide coating. electron flow is from the negative electrode to the positive workpiece. the electron flow is still from negative to positive. The large diameter electrode will naturally produce a wide puddle resulting in the heat being widely spread over the joint area. The workpiece receives a smaller amount of the total heat resulting in shallow penetration.DIRECT CURRENT ELECTRODE NEGATIVE (STRAIGHT POLARITY) Direct Current Electrode Negative (DCEN) is normally used for GTAW welding of practically all metals except aluminum and magnesium. a 1/4" diameter electrode would be necessary to weld with DCEP at 125 amperes. plus the stable arc and good penetration of electrode negative. The good cleaning action of electrode positive. The gas ions. however. and the ground or work lead is connected to the negative terminal. At the same time the electrons striking the work result in considerable heat being liberated at this point. which are positively charged. The electrode itself receives a smaller portion of the heat energy. The electron flow leaving the electrode results in a cooling effect on the tungsten. and will operate at a lower temperature than when using alternating current or direct current reverse polarity. If DCEN were used at 125 amperes. The electrode receives the greatest amount of heat and becomes very hot.

The reason this occurs is because of the aluminum oxide on the workpiece. Once the dc component is back to the power source it is dissipated as heat in the main transformer. This results in a larger amount of current flow during the electrode negative half cycle than during the electrode positive half cycle. Tests show that the half cycles are unbalanced. The question arises. and is conducted by the welding leads back to the power source. much like a rectifier used in a welding power source to change ac to dc. Breakdown of insulation on the coils and core material. Decrease in efficiency of the transformer due to the higher resistance of the heated coils and core. Heating in the main transformer causes at least two serious problems: 1. Characteristics Of Current Types For Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Page 5 . In theory. which is at a much lower temperature.ALTERNATING CURRENT When using alternating current the terms positive and negative which were applied to the workpiece and electrode lose their significance. during a cycle there is a time when the work is positive and the electrode is negative and a time when the work is negative and the electrode is positive. When alternating current is applied to GTAW welding of aluminum. the electrode positive half cycle being of lesser magnitude. Therefore. The condition described is referred to as "dc component" and exists whenever welding is done on materials with an oxide coating like aluminum and magnesium. The oxide makes it difficult for the electrons to flow from the work to the electrode but has little affect on electron flow from the electrode to the work. The current is now alternating or changing its direction of flow. what happened to the other part of the electrode positive half cycle? It was rectified by the aluminum oxide and became direct current electrode negative. The high temperature incandescent tip of the tungsten electrode is a better electron emitter than the large aluminum surface. The surface oxide acts as a rectifier. this is not necessarily true. the half cycles of alternating current are of equal time and magnitude. 2. During a complete cycle of alternating current there is theoretically one half cycle of electrode negative and one half cycle of electrode positive.

and maximum cleaning is achieved. 2. but may melt the tungsten and possibly damage the torch. 3. Therefore. Modifying or changing the AC cycle produces what is known as an unbalanced sine wave. a more stable arc is possible. Adjusting the balance control to provide an increase in the negative half cycle will accomplish this. Page 6 . When welding with alternating current. the faster the transition is made between the two polarities.SQUARE WAVE ALTERNATING CURRENT BALANCED AND UNBALANCED WAVE FORMS Modern square wave AC GTAW solid state controlled power sources have the ability to rapidly make the transition between the positive and negative half cycles of alternating current. Note how the maximum cleaning setting ratio of positive to negative half cycle is much less at the maximum cleaning setting than it is at the maximum penetration setting. Higher currents can be used with a given size electrode because the positive half cycle that heats the electrode can be of less duration. Note that square wave ac balance occurs at the control setting of 30 rather than at 50. This is because as the control setting is moved toward maximum cleaning a point is reached where additional time in the positive half cycle is unproductive and will result in damage to the tungsten electrode or possibly the torch. This setting allows the current to spend more time in the positive half cycle where current flow is from the work to the tungsten. Increasing the time in the electrode positive half cycle beyond this point will not provide more cleaning. Deeper penetration than with the balanced wave because penetration occurs during the negative half cycle. and 32% electrode positive and 68% electrode negative for maximum penetration) Only a certain amount of total cleaning action is achievable with the electrode positive half cycle. (55% electrode positive and 45% electrode negative for maximum cleaning. There are advantages to welding on an unbalanced sine wave. UNBALANCED SQUARE WAVE AC ADVANTAGES: 1. The front panel squarewave balance control potentiometer controls these kinds of power sources and may allow the length of time the machine spends in either the positive or negative portion of the AC cycle to be changed. Excellent oxide cleaning is obtained because of the strong positive half cycle. most adjustable square wave machines will not permit adjustment beyond 55% electrode positive half cycle.

When it is desirable to use an existing power source for GTAW welding and high frequency is necessary. This is NOT true. When the work is negative the positive gas ion is attracted to it. This can be compared to a sandblasting operation and cleaning can easily be observed when welding aluminum. A "non-touch" start is essential on these materials.non touch starting. The high voltage promotes ionization of the shielding gas providing a good path for the current to follow. Machines which are specifically designed for GTAW welding usually have a "built-in" high frequency unit. capacitors. Aluminum and magnesium are such materials. or ac/dc rectifier type welders. with direct current it may also be desirable to establish the arc without touching the work. Several thousand volts but with a fraction of an ampere of current is imposed into the secondary circuit. A common misunderstanding is that the high frequency does the cleaning. This unit can be coupled to a dc or ac/dc motor generator. The main parts are a step-up transformer. plus water and gas controls. When welding steel. etc. Typical Process Connections Page 7 .aids starting and promotes cleaning action. ac transformer. High frequency serves to start the arc initially without making contact to the work with the electrode. The following figure illustrates such a unit which contains the components mentioned above. stainless steel. The high voltage is sufficient to reignite the positive half cycle which in turn provides the oxide removal. a set of spark gap points. About double the normal voltage will assure reignition. When GTAW welding with direct current the "scratch" start is frequently used. however. The arc is established by touching the electrode to the work much the same as striking an arc with a stick electrode. It serves to reignite the arc which does the oxide removal. and a coupling coil to induce the high frequency into the welding circuit. a rheostat. dc rectifier. The gas ion strikes with sufficient force to chip away the brittle aluminum oxides. a separate unit may be connected into the welding circuit. On materials sensitive to impurities touching the tungsten to the work will contaminate the work and the tungsten. A high frequency start may be used where the high frequency is on only until the arc is established and then is removed from the circuit automatically. the arc is stabilized by assuring reignition and the positive half cycle is available for oxide removal. Another purpose of high frequency is for gas ionization. It can be said then that high frequency has three important functions: (1) arc initiation . The ac cycle is still unbalanced.HIGH-VOLTAGE HIGH-FREQUENCY ARC STARTER AND STABILIZER Tests have shown that a higher open circuit voltage than the 70-80 volts normally available from the power source will assure reignition as the current passes through zero.reignition of the positive half cycle when ac welding and (3) gas ionization . This is where the high frequency high voltage source becomes necessary in the circuit. (2) arc stabilization . The term "ionization" means the gas atom has lost one or more of its electrons leaving the atom positively charged. brass. The unit contains several components.

The user is responsible for having a qualified electrician promptly correct any interference problem resulting from the installation. and communications equipment. The following identifies sources of high frequency radiation from incorrect installation and the correct installation. 1 4 5 Work Work Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) Gas Tungsten Arc Torch 2 High-Frequency Voltage Used to help arc jump air gap between torch and workpiece and/ or stabilize the arc. • • • • • Have only qualified person familiar with electronic equipment perform this installation. keep spark gaps at correct setting. torch. 2 3 1 Sources Of Reradiation Of High Frequency Ungrounded metal objects. S-0693 Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) Welding Process Requiring High Frequency 1 Weld Zone 3 50 ft (15 m) 3 3 High-frequency source (welding power source with built-in HF or separate HF unit). weld cables.HIGH FREQUENCY When high frequency is used with AC GTAW. and use grounding and shielding as shown in Figure 3 to minimize the possibility of interference. water pipe and fixtures. WARNING HIGH-FREQUENCY RADIATION can interfere with radio navigation. work clamp. line disconnect device. lighting. 3 2 1 3 Submerged Arc Welding Gun 4 Flux 5 High-Frequency Voltage Used to help arc reach workpiece through flux granules. If notified by the FCC about interference. 1 2 1 S-0694 Sources Of High Frequency Radiation From Incorrect Installation Page 8 . Have the installation regularly checked and maintained. external phone and power lines. wiring. and work table. certain precautions are required to prevent interference with communications equipment. stop using the equipment at once. safety services. and input supply wiring. Keep high-frequency source doors and panels tightly shut. computers. 2 3 Sources Of Direct High-Frequency Radiation Sources Of Conduction Of High Frequency Input power cable. workpiece.

Ground conduit every 50 ft (15 m).4 mm) mesh. and worktable. 10 Windows And Doorways Ground water pipe every 50 ft (15 m). 3 Welding Zone 5 Conduit Joint Bonding Electrically join (bond) all conduit sections using copper straps or braided wire.7 Weld Zone 3 50 ft (15 m) 50 ft (15 m) 5 1 6 2 9 4 9 Ground All Metal Objects And All Wiring In Welding Zone Using #12 AWG Wire Nonmetal Building Ground Workpiece If Required By Codes 8 9 9 11 Metal Building 10 S-0695 1 High-Frequency Source (Welder With Built-In HF Or Separate HF Unit) Ground metal machine case. Grounding Rod Consult the National Electrical Code for specifications. 6 Water Pipe And Fixtures 7 External Power Or Telephone Lines Locate high-frequency source at least 50 ft (15 m) away from power and phone lines. 8 4 Bolt or weld building panels together. and ground frame. Weld Output Cables 9 Metal Building Panel Bonding Methods Correct Installation Page 9 Cover all windows and doorways with grounded copper screen of not more than 1/4 in (6. input supply. A circle 50 ft (15 m) from center point in all directions. Keep cables short and close together. install copper straps or braided wire across seams. work output terminal. line disconnect device. 2 Center Point Of Welding Zone Midpoint between high-frequency source and welding torch. 11 Overhead Door Track Ground the track. .

The momentary spark created by these machines is like a static discharge. The high open circuit voltage of the power source is present as the tungsten touches the workpiece. Lift Arc Technique Page 10 . This allows low-amperage contact (touch) GTAW arc starting without sticking or contamination and without high frequency when using direct current. Pulse mode arc starting and stabilizer circuit machines utilize special circuitry to impose a short duration high intensity pulse of voltage on the output circuit when the output load voltage is at a specific value. As the electrode is brought near the work the voltage pulses help the arc jump the gap and welding begins. The scratch start technique creates an arc by scratching the tungsten lightly on the workpiece like a match. Capacitive discharge circuits on DC only machines produce a high voltage discharge from a bank of capacitors to establish the arc. When not welding. Or the tungsten may be touched to the workpiece and pulled away slightly to establish the arc. This creates the tendency to stick or weld itself to the workpiece. Lift Arc GTAW is a specially designed circuit that limits voltage to a low sensing voltage and the short circuit current is limited while the tungsten is touching the workpiece. After the tungsten is lifted and the arc is established. A machine provides or generates this pulse only when the output voltage is greater than 30 volts. Although capacitive discharge machines have good arc starting capability. Once the arc is started. The high intensity voltage pulses do affect other electronic circuitry in the immediate vicinity. but the effect is not as pronounced as that of a highvoltage high-frequency arc starter power source. the amperage goes to the amperage set on the power source. voltage (or pressure) is at maximum because no current is being allowed to flow and the pulsing circuitry is enabled. weld circuit load voltage typically drops to about 14 volts and the pulsing circuit senses this change and drops out. The pulse mode circuitry can also help stabilize the AC arc because it is enabled during times the voltage sine wave is transitioning through zero.OTHER METHODS OF ARC STARTING High frequency is not the only method of starting and stabilizing the welding arc. Lift Arc™ Welding where the use of high frequency for arc starting is not allowed or is not available may require a scratch or touch start technique. they do not have the arc stabilization properties of high frequency machines so these power sources are for only direct current.

The water cooled torch is designed so that water is circulated through the torch cooling it and the power cable. a water cooled torch and cable assembly may be used. an electric motor. The figure below shows a typical cooling system such as would be used on a single torch. Where freezing conditions may be encountered. The power cable must be heavier than the cable in a water cooled torch. It consists of a pump. thereby cooling it. The type of cooling system termed "individual self-contained" consists of a tank. circulates through the torch. The water is brought to the torch through a hose.COOLING SYSTEMS When applications call for high amperages. The power cable may be wound around the gas carrying hose or inside the gas hose. and is returned through another hose. the fuse link will melt in two and prevent damage to other more expensive components. A safety device known as a "fuse assembly" can be installed in the power cable. This is possible because the cooling water returning from the torch cools the cable and allows it to carry a much higher amperage. This assembly contains a fuse link which is also cooled by the water. In this way the power cable can be relatively small making the entire cable assembly light and easily maneuverable by the operator. A torch manufacturer's specifications will designate the required amount of cooling water for a specific torch. A mix of distilled water and pure ethylene glycol has sufficient lubricative qualities for adequate pump lubrication. The pump runs all the time the machine is on and recirculates the water through the system. When using a water cooled torch a lack of cooling water or no cooling water at all will cause a heat build-up and will probably cause the polyethylene sheath to melt or possibly burn the power cable in two. a mix of distilled water and pure ethylene glycol may be used. welding can continue. or when welding continuously. Typical Single Torch Cooling System TORCHES The torch used for GTAW welding may be either water or air cooled. and the water returning from the torch flows around the power cable. The power cable is contained inside a hose. If there is no cooling water circulating. They require no additional cooling other than the surrounding air and the flow of the relatively cool shielding gas through the torch. Cooling water may be supplied from individual self-contained cooling systems. The fuse link is easily replaced. Air cooled torches are popular for lower amperage applications. The power cable will be considerably smaller than the work cable being used. Care must be taken to prevent water from freezing. When the fuse link is replaced and water flow is maintained. Page 11 . holding tank and radiator. which also contains the power cable. and a high pressure pump to circulate the water. This wouldn't be possible if it were not cooled. High production or high amperage torches are usually water cooled while lighter duty torches for low amperage applications may be air cooled.

Torch & Power Cable Connected to the welding machine's electrode or negative welding output terminal. Page 12 . Back Cap Secures tungsten by threading into torch head and tightening the collet against the collet body. Gas Cup (Nozzle) Attached to the collet body. Directs shielding gas flow to the weld area. either threaded or held in place by friction fit. Collet Inserted into collet body and secures the tungsten electrode by threading and tightening the back cap. collet body and gas cup (nozzle) size to correspond with the tungsten diameter size used.Required Torch Parts The tungsten electrode diameter and type will vary depending on the metal being welded and current requirements. Each diameter of tungsten will require a collet. Backcaps are sold in different lengths to allow the welder to access different joints and positions. Collet Body Threads into the head of the torch and aligns the tungsten in the gas cup (nozzle).

An understanding of the electrode materials and the types of electrodes and their recommended uses will enable the user to make the proper electrode selection. tungsten particles may be transferred across the arc. in cases where the wrong electrode type. the wrong current or technique is used. The tungsten electrode is not melted and used as filler metal as in the case with stick electrode welding. The power source used may affect the amount of tungsten which may be transferred across the arc. A machine designed specifically for GTAW welding will usually have a characteristic sine wave shape or volt/amp output characteristic advantageous for the process. Excessive current surges or "spikes" will cause "spitting" of tungsten. the wrong size of electrode. However. Excessive arc rectification on aluminum or magnesium will cause a "half-wave" effect. Page 13 . and cause particles of tungsten to be transferred across the arc. At least it is not intended to be melted and become part of the deposit.Torch Backcaps Torch Assembly 3 6 4 7 5 2 1 OR 8 1 Cup 2 Collet Body 3 Heat Shield 4 Torch Body 5 Standard Collet 6 O-Ring 7 Backcap 8 Reverse Collet 9 Tungsten Electrode Tungsten Installation Loosen Tighten 9 Distance = Tungsten Diameter ST-157 713-A Torch Assembly And Tungsten Installation TUNGSTEN ELECTRODES Electrodes used for GTAW welding differ greatly in many respects from electrodes used in shielded metal arc welding.

The extreme tip is the only part of the electrode which should be this hot. Tungsten has a high resistance to current flow and. Electrodes are manufactured to specifications and standards developed by the American Welding Society. many factors must be considered when selecting the electrode. Tungsten electrodes for GTAW welding come in a variety of types. Tungsten retains its hardness even at red heat.25 EWG Gray Not Specifiedb — — a. steel gray colored metal. dots.Tungsten is a very hard. One of the main considerations is the type and amount of welding current. at any point on the surface of the electrode. The "balled" tip is characteristic of pure tungsten and is most desirable for ac welding.700° F. Electrodes come in standard diameters from 0. The alloying elements used are thorium. All tungsten electrodes will do a welding job and may be used in a similar manner. electrode negative (straight polarity). cerium. less with alternating current and the least with direct current electrode positive (reverse polarity). heats up during welding. In a water cooled torch the heat is more rapidly dissipated from the collet assembly and helps cool the electrode. Page 14 . therefore.. They may be either pure tungsten or tungsten alloys. An electrode of a given diameter will have its greatest current carrying capacity with direct current. It has the highest melting point of all metals. Color Code And Alloying Elements For Various Tungsten Electrode Alloys AWS Classification Color* Alloying Element Alloying Oxide Nominal Weight Of Alloying Oxide Percent EWP Green — — — EWCe-2 Orange Cerium CeO2 2 EWLa-1 Black Lanthanum La2O3 1 EWTh-1 Yellow Thorium ThO2 1 EWTh-2 Red Thorium ThO2 2 EWZr-1 Brown Zirconium ZrO2 . The welding current will be determined by several factors including: base metal and thickness. Excessive current on a given size electrode will cause the tip to become excessively hot and melt. or zirconium oxide. Excessive electrode stickout beyond the collet will cause heat build-up in the electrode. It is a highly refractory (a melting point exceeding 3600° F) metal and does not melt or vaporize in the heat of the arc." SELECTION With the choice of several alloy types and a variety of types and sizes. joint design. and lengths. position. type of torch. etc. fit-up. The advantages and characteristics of each type will be discussed to aid in selecting the best electrode for the application. In some applications the extreme tip forms a molten hemisphere. and other job quality specifications.010" through 1/4" and lengths from 3" to 24. sizes. shielding gas. Color may be applied in the form of bands. Electrodes of each classification have distinct advantages with regard to operating characteristics and usability. b. It has a melting point of 6170° F. Manufacturer must identify the type and nominal content of the rare earth oxide addition. The remainder of the electrode should be kept cool. and the American Society for Testing and Materials. lanthanum. and a boiling point of 10.

however. In many dc applications the electrode is ground to a taper or pointed. Most popular of the thoriated type are the 2% thoriated. but the current carrying capacity is lower than alloyed electrodes. Pure tungsten electrodes are identified by a green color band. Use EWTH-2/EWCe-2 electrodes.0 1/2 400-500 40-55 200-275 160-240 3/16 4.D.Recommended Tungsten Electrodesa And Gas Cups For Various Welding Currents Direct Current. The thorium alloyed tungsten electrode does not ball as does the pure tungsten.4 1/2 150-250 15-30 100-160 60-130 1/8 3.2 1/2 250-400 25-40 150-210 100-180 5/32 4. mm in. Starting characteristics are not as good as with the alloyed type. The addition of 1% to 2% thoria increases the maximum current carrying capacity by approximately 50% for a given size electrode on alternating current. there is more of a tendency to drop tungsten particles across the arc.4 3/4 750-1100 80-125 325-450 325-450 a. b. particularly at low amperages. The 1% thoriated are identified by a yellow band. A Unbalanced WaveC Balanced WaveC in. On critical applications.8 5/8 500-750 55-80 250-350 190-300 1/4 6. All values are based on the use of argon as the shielding gas. These are identified by a red color band. ZIRCONIUM ALLOYED (EWZr-1) Zirconium alloyed tungsten is desirable for ac welding applications because of its high resistance to contamination as well as good arc starting characteristics.010 0.040 1. Primarily these electrodes are recommended for welding conditions where the highest quality work is necessary and where even the smallest amounts of weld puddle contamination cannot Page 15 .25 1/4 up to 15 up to 15 up to 15 0. This electrode is usually preferred for direct current applications. They can also be used with direct current. THORIATED TUNGSTEN (EWTH) The addition of a small percentage of thorium oxide (thoria) adds desirable characteristics to the electrode. They provide good arc stability on ac with both argon and helium shielding.00 3/8 15-80 10-60 20-30 1/16 1. These electrodes form a hemispherical or "balled" end like the pure tungsten. When used on ac the arc wanders between the multiple projections or nodes and is often times undesirable for proper welding. Electrode Negativeb Electrode Positiveb DCEP Alternating Current. c. Thoria increases the electron emission qualities of the electrode which gives it a better starting characteristic and a higher current carrying capacity. The thorium alloyed tungsten electrode will retain the desired shape in these applications where the pure tungsten would melt back and form the ball end. pure tungsten has reasonably good resistance to contamination. Use EWP/EWZr-1 electrodes. DCEN 0. rather it forms several small projections across the face of the electrode when used on alternating current.020 0.6 3/8 70-150 10-20 50-100 30-80 3/32 2.50 1/4 5-20 5-15 10-20 0. A Electrode Diameter Use Gas Cup I. PURE TUNGSTEN (EWP) Pure tungsten electrodes are usually preferred for ac welding of aluminum and magnesium because they form the ball or hemispherical end.

Zirconium alloyed tungsten produces a stable arc and resists arc spitting.020” * * 15-35 5-20 . Amperage Range . The figures listed are intended as a guide and are a composite of recommendations from American Welding Society (AWS) and electrode manufacturers.010” * * Up to 20 Up to 15 . S-0009 Tungsten Size Page 16 . Up to 15 * Up to 15 Up to 10 .020” 15-40 * 15-35 5-20 2% Thorium Alloyed Tungsten (Red Band) . Their current carrying capacity is equal to or slightly greater than an equal size thorium alloyed electrode.Polarity DC – Argon – Electrode Negative/Straight Polarity DC – Argon – Electrode Positive/Reverse Polarity AC – Argon – Using High Frequency AC – Argon – Balanced Wave Using High Freq.020” 5-20 * 5-20 10-20 .040” * * 20-80 20-60 1/16” * * 50-150 60-120 3/32” * * 130-250 100-180 Zirconium Alloyed Tungsten (Brown Band) 1/8” * * 225-360 160-250 5/32” * * 300-450 200-320 3/16” * * 400-550 290-390 1/4” * * 600-800 340-525 ♦Typical argon shielding gas flow rates are 15 to 35 cfh (cubic feet per hour).Gas Type♦ .040” 15-80 * 10-60 20-30 1/16” 70-150 10-20 50-100 30-80 3/32” 125-225 15-30 100-160 60-130 Electrode Diameter Pure Tungsten (Green Band) .010” 1/8” 225-360 25-40 150-210 100-180 5/32” 360-450 40-55 200-275 160-240 3/16” 450-720 55-80 250-350 190-300 1/4” 720-950 80-125 325-450 250-400 .040” 25-85 * 20-80 20-60 1/16” 50-160 10-20 50-150 60-120 3/32” 135-235 15-30 130-250 100-180 1/8” 250-400 25-40 225-360 160-250 5/32” 400-500 40-55 300-450 200-320 3/16” 500-750 55-80 400-500 290-390 1/4” 750-1000 80-125 600-800 340-525 .be tolerated. These electrodes are identified by a brown color band. *Not Recommended.010” Up to 25 * Up to 20 Up to 15 .

maintaining an arc on a scrap piece of material for a period of time may vaporize the deposit off the electrode. causing a small ball to form. If the end is excessively large. A general rule for post-flow is one second for each ten amperes of welding current. This means the surrounding atmosphere oxidized the electrode while still hot. Forming A Ball On The Electrode The electrode tip can be balled by striking an arc on a copper block or other suitable material using AC or DCEP. If this is not too serious. Grinding techniques are important and many times poor grinding techniques can cause problems. leaving a hemispherical ball on the end of the tungsten electrode. This aspirates atmospheric air into the arc area causing contamination. Loss of shielding gas or contamination of the shielding gas due to leaking connections or damaged gas hoses causes electrode contamination. If it appears dull. The surface of the ball should be shiny and bright. This is normally adequate to protect the tungsten until it cools below its oxidizing temperature. GRINDING Grinding of electrodes is common practice and is sometimes used to remove contamination. an excess of current is indicated. The current is decreased and turned off. and the current is decreased before the molten tip drops off. there is the possibility of it dropping off to contaminate the weld. Ball end of tungsten before welding by applying either an AC amperage slightly higher than what is recommended for a given electrode diameter. or a DC electrode positive amperage. the diameter of the end should not exceed the diameter of the electrode by more than 1-1/2 times. If it becomes larger than this because of excessive current. There are many misconceptions about tungsten electrodes and their correct use. there is insufficient post-flow of the shielding gas. Continuing to weld with this condition can only result in the oxide flaking off and ending up in the weld deposit. Preparing Tungsten For AC Welding On electrodes that form a hemisphere or ball end. hard abrasive wheel. As an example. If welding conditions are correct. The arc becomes very hard to control as it wanders from side to side.PREPARING. the contaminated portion should be broken off and the electrode re-shaped as desired. The most common form of contamination is contact between electrode and weld puddle or electrode and filler rod. Excessive gas flow rates and nozzles that are dirty. If the contamination cannot be removed in this manner. how the electrode is used and maintained will determine its performance and life. If it appears blue to purple or blackened. chipped or broken cause turbulence of the shielding gas. and it is now contaminated. a visual observation of the electrode should reveal a ball end of uniform shape and the proper size. the arc tends to wander around on the large surface of the electrode tip. Arc current is increased until the end of the electrode turns white hot and begins to melt. a 1/8" electrode should only form a 3/16" diameter end. Page 17 . Grinding should be done on a fine grit. USE AND CARE OF TUNGSTEN ELECTRODES After the proper size and type of electrode has been selected. Contamination of the electrode can occur in several ways in addition to the lack of post-flow shielding gas. The following information is intended to serve as a guideline to "common sense" decisions about tungsten electrodes. The electrode that has been contaminated by contact with the puddle or filler rod will have a deposit of the metal on the electrode.

it is chipped away rather than cut away.Tungsten is harder than most grinding wheels." In other applications a slightly blunted end is preferred because the extreme point may be melted off and end up in the deposit. Needle pointed electrodes are usually preferred also on very thin metals in the range of 0. In some applications a sharp needle point is preferred to aid low amperage starting.005" to 0.1 9/91 Preparing Tungsten For DC Electrode Negative (DCEN) Welding CHEMICAL SHARPENING Chemical sharpening consists of submerging or dipping the red-hot end of tungsten electrode into a container of sodium nitrate.040. The grinding wheel used on tungsten electrodes should be used for no other material. In many applications pointing is done where actually a smaller electrode should be used. Using this rule for a 1/8" electrode the ground surface would be 1/4 to 5/16" long. If the stone used for grinding is not clean. The chemical reaction between the hot tungsten end and the sodium nitrate will cause the tungsten to erode at a uniform rate all around the circumference of the electrode. warn2. contaminating particles can be lodged in the grinding crevices and dislodged during welding. Keep flammables away. Repeated heating and dipping will form a tapered tip. Page 18 . The grinding marks should run lengthwise with the point. and body protection. hand. there are a series of ridges on the surface of the ground area. There is a possibility of the small ridges melting off and floating across the arc. CAUTION FLYING SPARKS AND HOT METAL can cause injury and start fires. • • Shape tungsten electrode only on grinder with proper guards in a safe location wearing proper face. and end up in the deposit. therefore. A common practice in pointing electrodes is to grind the taper for a distance of 2 to 2-1/2 electrode diameters in length. If the grinding is done on a coarse stone and the grinding marks are concentric with the electrode.

the arc voltage with argon will be less than with helium. Each of these gases have characteristics which must be understood in making a selection of a shielding gas for a particular application.i. Argon after leaving the torch nozzle tends to form a blanket over the weld area whereas helium tends to rise rapidly from the arc area. The combustion of the fuel gas and oxygen provided. The arc column is more flared out than the arc column with argon. carbon dioxide and water vapor. and also contribute to stabilization of the arc. The more flared out the arc column the more work surface area is being heated. When large volumes are required a bulk liquid supply is most desirable and economical. an external source of shielding is necessary. Primarily two inert gases are used for shielding purposes. From the time the oxy-acetylene process was first used. gaseous products such as carbon monoxide. can move more readily downward towards the colder metal at the bottom of the workpiece. at 70° F. therefore.5 volts. With the GTAW process no flame is present to produce any shielding effect and there is not a flux coating of any kind to form a shielding gas. argon will be at a temperature of slightly below -300° F. This results in a deeper penetrating arc. or a mixture of the two. Argon with an atomic weight of 40 is about one and one third times as heavy as air and ten times as heavy as helium with an atomic weight of 4. gas shielding was an inherent characteristic. The purity is normally held to 99. They are argon. With a given arc length. With argon this energy is confined to a narrow area or "pinpointed" in a small area. The correct flow rate is an adequate amount to shield the "molten weld pool area" and protect the tungsten electrode. As a liquid. Consequently. Helium has excellent thermal conductivity. This results in a higher arc density. flow rates for helium are usually two to three times that of argon. in addition to heat. An examination of the characteristics of each gas and a comparison of these characteristics will serve as a guide to shielding gas selection. helium. Argon has low thermal conductivity which means it is not a good conductor of heat. The primary function of the gas is to exclude the active properties in the surrounding air from the weld area. The correct flow rate in cubic feet per hour (CFH) is influenced by many variables that must be considered on each application. The chief factor influencing the effectiveness of a shielding gas is the gas density. Each gallon of liquid will produce approximately 112 cubic feet of gaseous argon. Page 19 .7 volts. When covered electrodes were developed.SHIELDING GASES The use of gas shielding to prevent contact of the surrounding atmosphere and the molten metal during welding is not new. The helium arc column will expand under the heat of the arc reducing the arc density. In order to obtain equivalent shielding. The heat at the center of the arc. ARGON Argon may be obtained in the gaseous state in cylinders or as a liquid in specially constructed cylinders or bulk tanks. The ionization potential of argon is 15. They serve as shielding media. These gases served the function of protecting the molten weld metal. The same is true of helium-argon mixtures. Argon provides excellent arc stability and cleaning action even at low amperages. HELIUM The ionization potential of helium is 24. The type of gas also has an influence on the characteristics and behavior of the arc and resultant weld. They must be of high purity for welding applications. elements were incorporated into the coating which when decomposed in the heat of the arc produced mainly carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. The most commonly used size of cylinder contains 330 cubic feet at 2640 p. especially those with high helium content. Arc density refers to the concentration of energy in the arc. Ionization potential is the voltage necessary to remove an electron from the gas atom making it an ion or charged atom. Any greater flow than this is a waste.s.995%.

used on applications where the torch is machine guided or held. especially at lower amperages. or other mechanical methods. With the increased flow rate. flow rates are usually two or three times that of argon for equivalent shielding. When Page 20 . For this reason helium is not as desirable as argon for manual operations. total arc power. consequently. If a wire brush for example were used on rusty steel.It was mentioned previously that with an equivalent arc length helium will produce a higher arc voltage than will argon. On small weldments the entire part may heat up to a point that requires reduction of amperage from the original setting. When the electrode is positive and the work is negative (reverse polarity or during one half of ac cycle) the positively charged gas ions are attracted to the negative workpiece. paint. Mechanical cleaning may be done with abrasive wheels. Since the total power is a product of voltage and amperage. Another frequent source of contamination is the filler metal. Contamination from the backside or between butting edges can be drawn into the arc area. High speed photographs and films of the arc let us observe the oxide removal. Because helium is a light gas. or any other materials that will hinder proper fusion. The heat is rapidly conducted away from the arc area and spread over the workpiece. With helium shielding any slight variation of arc length can have quite an effect on arc voltage and. It is recommended that both sides of the joint be cleaned if it contains foreign material. Helium or argon-helium mixtures are desirable on thick material and where high travel speeds are desired. ALUMINUM PREPARATION OF ALUMINUM FOR WELDING This requires more consideration than it is often times given. The vigorous brushing can impregnate the contaminants carried in the brush into the aluminum. The operator sometimes transfers contaminants from dirty welding gloves onto the filler rod and consequently into the weld area. Remote foot amperage controls are advantageous in these situations. Deep penetration DCEN welding of aluminum is done with 2% thoriated tungsten and helium gas shielding. These ions strike with sufficient force to chip away at the brittle oxide much like a miniature sandblasting operation. WELDING Aluminum is a very good conductor of heat. Argon is exclusively used when welding below 150 amperes. therefore. First of all aluminum has a surface oxide which must be removed. The cost must be weighed against increased penetration on thick material. There have been various theories as to how the arc action actually provides the cleaning action. Helium is. The electron flow from the work to the electrode lifts the loosened oxide leaving clean base metal to be welded. This cleaning action should not be relied upon to do all the cleaning. Mechanical cleaning methods should be employed to remove heavy oxide. This oxide removal was mentioned briefly when discussing the different current types. it is apparent that more heat energy is available with helium. and oil. Aluminum is very susceptible to contaminants which can cause considerable problems when welding. the brush can carry contaminants from one piece to another. grease. and the increased travel speed attainable. Another problem sometimes encountered occurs when only the side of the joint being welded is cleaned. Special abrasive wheels are available for aluminum and stainless steel wire brushes are recommended. The use of 2:1 helium to argon gas mixtures has also been shown to yield lower porosity welds in production by allowing the use of wider variation in welding parameters. The important point is that the abrasive wheels and wire brushes should be used only on the material being cleaned. It is also harder to establish an arc in a helium atmosphere. If it is severe enough the rod must be cleaned prior to use. The same is true of the abrasive wheel and equipment used to cut and form aluminum. total cost of shielding goes up sharply. wire brushes. Aluminum filler wire and rod oxidizes just like the base metal. and then on aluminum.

therefore. There are magnetic and non-magnetic types. The heat conductivity of these steels are about 50% that of mild steels. heat input can be critical. Rings. and proper precautions taken to prevent contamination during welding. A check with the manufacturer is recommended when in doubt about the specific properties of an alloy. In the weld and heat affected zone a metallurgical change takes place known as carbide precipitation. This increases the tendency for distortion on thin sections. the heat is concentrated in the weld area rather than being dissipated throughout the work. Protective paper or plastic coatings are applied to many stainless sheets. Joint Design and Fit-up 2. flow rates. On many applications it is desired to keep the heat input as low as possible. The electrode stickout beyond the cup may vary from approximately 1/16" on butt joints to possibly 1/2" in joints where it is difficult to position the torch. Normally the welding does not adversely affect the strength or ductility of the deposit. similar composition to the base metal. Some of these job conditions are: 1. The normal minimum recommended arc length is approximately the same as the electrode diameter. Operator Metallurgically. Any wire brushing should be done with stainless stelel wire brushes to prevent iron pick-up on the stainless steel surfaces. Thermal expansion is usually about 50% greater than mild steel. Page 21 . The filler metal used should be of a compatible. Many job conditions will affect actual amperages. Foreign material may cause porosity in welds and carburation of the surface which will lessen corrosion resisting properties. As with other welding procedures. Job Specifications 3. Bars) 4. clean dry filler metal should be used.welding out-of-position the amperage shown may be decreased by about 15%. Use of Backing (Gas. or fusion zone. EWP EWZr-1 Alternating Current Gas Ion Flow Electron Flow Al Oxide Aluminum STAINLESS STEEL "Stainless Steel" is a common term used when referring to chromium alloyed and chromium-nickel alloyed steels. The weld area should be thoroughly cleaned. The chromium-nickel stainless steels are considered readily weldable. There are a large number of alloy types and each possess some specific properties as to corrosion resistance and strength. parent metal. Specific Alloy 5. Some general characteristics of stainless steels will be discussed. A water cooled torch is recommended for amperage over 150 or when a smaller profile torch is needed. filler rod and tungsten types and diameter used.

When GTAW welding. Rust. electrode negative (straight polarity) is recommended with high frequency start. Rapid cooling through this range will help keep precipitation at a minimum. such as ER-70S-2. A 2% thoriated or ceriated tungsten is recommended. It will appear in the form of bubbles in the weld puddle. Killed steel has had more of this oxygen removed and presents less of a problem while welding. For best results this should be removed. It is important that the filler metal used is of the same general analysis as the material being welded. The material itself should be mechanically cleaned prior to welding. it will be noticed that some of the corrosion resistance properties are lost in the weld and adjacent areas that were heated above the temperature where carbide precipitation occurs (800-1400° F). This group of steels is available in many different alloys and types. however. this oxygen can cause problems. the greater the precipitation. All types of alloy steels may also be welded with this process. Often times the filler wire is referred to as being double or triple deoxidized(containing titanium. A filler wire with sufficient silicon and manganese added as deoxidizers is necessary. Direct current. The familiar structural shapes. This term means the steel has been partially deoxidized during manufacture. paint. Move Electrode To Leading Edge Of Pool Technique For Manual Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Page 22 . Direction Of Welding A. zirconium. commonly referred to as mild steels. or any surface contaminants should be removed.If corrosion resistance is a big factor in service. Lower grade filler rods used for oxyacetylene welding of many hot rolled products are not suitable for making high quality GTAW welds. Develop The Pool With Circular Or Side-To-Side Motion 15° 15° B. oil and grease. A touch or scratch start can be used if it does not pose a contamination problem. and aluminum). and hot rolled sheet metal are usually of a semi-killed steel. and possibly porosity in the finished weld. it still contains oxygen. Keep Rod In Shield Gas Stream D. if the correct procedure and filler metal are used. On some alloys of stainless steel columbium or titanium are added to prevent carbide precipitation. The longer the work is at the 800-1200° F temperature. A point or taper on the electrode can be used. MILD STEEL Low carbon steels. plate and pipe may contain a heavy mill scale. which should be removed before welding for best results. “Black” pipe usually contains a varnish-type coating. are readily welded by the gas tungsten-arc process. Hot rolled products such as angle iron. plates. Move Electrode To Trailing Edge Of Pool C. Withdraw Rod Add Filler Metal To Center Of Leading Edge Of Pool Keep Rod In Shield Gas Stream E. Keeping heat input to a minimum is necessary in this situation.

NOTE: If used. the molten puddle shrinks and partially solidifies.GTAW . Set the background amperage to 1/4 of the average current. The Peak amperage should be set at 150% of the average amperage. Thin materials can be welded with less warpage. HOW TO SET PULSER CONTROLS: If the amperage needed for a weld is known for non-pulsed GTAW. Set the Pulse frequency (Pulses-per-second) control to one-pulse-per second as a trial value. For out-of-position welding it may prevent weld metal sagging or drop through. As an example. This limits the pulse Peak amperage. conversely a decrease in this setting will decrease the average amperage. (1/4 of 180 average amperes equals 45 amps Background amperage). In this example 1-1/2 x 180 amperes equals 270 amps peak amperage. Wide pulses and narrow cooling times may provide the best results. 180 average amps may be used for Pulsed GTAW. As a good starting value. Amperage has the greatest effect on penetration-increase average amperage to increase penetration.Pulsed is the changing of welding current from a high (Peak) amperage to a low (Background) amperage rapidly and repeatedly. Establish an arc and adjust the pulse parameters to coordinate torch travel speed and weld nugget fusion overlap. penetration etc. Qualify procedures and document for future recall. An increase from this setting will increase the average current. A faster torch travel speed may require a higher pulse frequency. a foot or torch mounted remote amperage control limits the peak pulse amperage of the power source. conversely a decrease in this setting will decrease the average amperage. Page 23 . To begin parameter setting. An increase from this setting will increase the average current. set the Peak amperage required at the welding power source. set "Per Cent" (%) on time control at 60%. NOTE: ALL CONTROLS MAY BE ADJUSTED WHILE WELDING. 200 amps is needed for nonpulsed GTAW.PULSED GTAW . This process is useful whenever welding heat input must be minimized or penetration accurately and repetitively controlled. If tungsten melts excessively due to high peak amperages increase the diameter of the tungsten. During the cooling time of the low current (Background amperage). A series of over lapping weld fusion nuggets are formed by the pulse Peak amperages as the torch moves along the weld axis. For a given travel speed the pulse frequency should produce overlapping fusion weld nuggets. . These two settings will provide pulsing between 270 amps Peak amperage and 45 amps Background amperage. the average current for GTAW-Pulsed may be slightly less than that used for non-pulsed GTAW.

5 Percent (%) Peak Time Control Setting Pulsed Output Waveforms PPS (50%) Pulsing refers to the alternating raising and lowering of the weld output at a specific rate. Peak amperage (3–400 amps). These pulses and the lower amperage level between them (called the background amperage) alternately heat and cool the molten weld puddle. and frequency. Control is used to determine appearance of weld bead.0 pps (pulses per second). Peak Amp More Time At Peak Amperage More Time At Background Amperage Pulsed Output Waveforms Example shows affect changing the Peak Time control has on the pulsed output waveform. 4 Peak Time A range of 5–95% of each pulse cycle can be spent at the peak amperage level. undercutting. and heat input. which cools the weld puddle and affects overall heat input. forming pulses of weld output. Controls can be adjusted while welding. The combined effect gives the operator better control of penetration. Peak amperage is the highest welding amperage allowed to occur in the pulse cycle. (20%) Setting A Pulse TIG Welding Condition Page 24 . 2 Background Amps Use Background Amps control to set the low pulse of the weld amperage. 3 (CE Nameplate Only) 1 2 3 4 Pulse Frequency A range from 0. is set with the Amperage Adjustment control (see Section A). Background Amps is set as a percentage of peak amperage. Weld penetration varies directly with peak amperage. Application: Bkg Amp Balanced 5 (80%) Pulsing can also be used for filler material addition technique training. crowning. The raised portions of the weld output are controlled in width. height.25–10.1 1 2 3 4 On/Off Switch Use switch to turn pulse function On and Off. bead width.