How Strong Is A Weld
When it comes to metal working, strength is everything! If you can’t hold onto your tool or work piece, then what good are you? You may be wondering how strong each type of weld is. Luckily, we have some hard facts here for you.
Welds that use filler metals usually don’t require much extra effort when it comes to strength. Because the filler material has a lower melting temperature than the base material, it will melt and flow with less resistance, making the joint more flexible. This means you don’t need to stress the weld very muchly- it already has enough resiliency built in!
This article will go into detail about the different types of welding and their strengths.
Types of welding
There are three main types of welding. They are gas tungsten arc, inert gas (argon or carbon dioxide) and oxyfuel welding. Each one is strong depending on what you want to weld and how much strength you need.
Inert gas welding is typically done with either argon or carbon dioxide used as an electrode (source of electrons that flow across the surface of the metal being melted). The electron flow melts the tip of the wire (or stick) by passing through it and onto the molten pool of metal at the end of the process.
Welding using pure oxygen as an electrode is called oxyfuel welding. Oxygen does not contain any electrons so it cannot be drawn into the liquid pool like other metals can. Instead, it acts as a filler material for the solidifying melt.
Gas tungsten arc welding (GWAC) was the first practical type of welding most people use today. It requires two different gases–one ionized filament source (the arc) and another non-ionized gaseutient (tungsten).
The tungsten atomizes the remaining unmelted part of the workpiece when hit by the arc. This happens very quickly leaving barely anything else but a thin layer of tungsten on top of the new piece.
There are several strengths in each style depending on the application and thickness needed.
Advantages of welding
We’ve discussed before here on ShinyThing how important it is to use good quality filler metal in your welds. That strong, heavy layer of metal helps prevent cracks and weakens in the base material.
Weld strength also depends on the type of heat used during the process. Shielded gas-tungsten arc (SGA) welding is one of the strongest methods. The arcing electrical current creates an extremely hot stream of plasma that melts the other materials.
But there’s another way to do it! Direct energy beam (DBW or DBE) welding uses a focused laser or electron beam to directly melt the workpiece. This can be done manually as well as automatically using robots and conveyor systems.
Both types of DBWs are typically much weaker than SGA because they don’t contain the additional filler metal. But you can increase their strength by adding more advanced wire feed technology.
Disadvantages of welding
One of the most important things to know about welds is that they are not necessarily strong. You can have a very solid looking weld, but if you try to pull on it or push on it, it may break down or even explode!
Welds will sometimes crack or break when stressed beyond their limits. This could be due to stress caused by trying to pull off the weld, or because there was too much heat being applied while welding which causes the metal to melt and then harden, creating extra strength but also stress.
Welds tend to lose some of their strength over time as well. This happens when atoms in the welded material move away from each other and create an empty space. The less dense area becomes weaker and more susceptible to breaking.
This is why it is so important to make sure your welds are done properly and correctly! If possible, check your welded pieces under heavy loads to see how sturdy they are.
Equipment needed for welding
To perform any kind of welding, you will need your torch, filler material, electrode (or stick) wire, and equipment to manipulate those components. There are several types of torches that welders use, so what type you choose is up to you!
We’ll go over the different torch types in more detail here, but first let us discuss some general welder equipment. You will probably have one or two of these already if you are experienced with welding, so make sure to check out the additional features of each piece before buying.
General welder equipment
These items are not specific to welding, but they play an important role in creating quality welds. Because welding can be such a large investment, it is very helpful to know how to use and maintain all of this equipment.
The most basic welder equipment is a metal working power supply. This device supplies electricity to your torch to help create the plasma process that melts metals. Make sure to research your model and test it out before investing in one for yourself or someone else.
Next comes a work bench. Many professionals have their own set-up where they keep all of their tools organized and accessible. Find a good size table or slab area away from heavy traffic to save space and invest in casings to protect your tabletop.
After that, get yourself a pair of steel wool rolls or burnishing brushes.
Process of welding
During most welding processes, you will need a source of fuel (metal) and oxygen to help break down the atoms of metal.
In shielded gas welding, an inert shielding material is used to protect the weld area from oxidation and burning. This protects your weld slightly by limiting exposure to air and introducing another element into the mix.
This article will focus mostly on tungsten-arc welding because it is one of the most common types of welding done in manufacturing. However, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s review the process of welding!
Process of welding
The process of welding begins with creating a good electrical connection between both electrodes. Once this is done, the electrode that provides the filler metal can be melted off and deposited onto the workpiece. Then, the two pieces are combined and solidified using heat supplied by the torch.
Tension should be maintained during all stages of welding to ensure consistency and quality of the finished product. Too much tension may cause the wire to melt or burn due to excess current. Too little pressure could result in poor penetration or even sticking of the metals together.
Quality of welds
There are two main things that make up the quality of your welder’s work: their consistency, and how strong they are. Consistency is something that you may or may not be familiar with, but strength is definitely one to look into!
Welding can easily get complicated, so it is important to have a basic understanding of what makes up the strength of your welding job. Luckily, there are some easy ways to evaluate the strength of your welding jobs.
The first thing people usually do when trying to determine the strength of their welds is to take a break after each pass. This is because as the metal melts and solidifies, more air gets absorbed in the mix. The more time spent breaking down the metals, the less dense the finished product, which means weaker joints.
Another way to check the strength of your welds is by holding an item made from the melted material away from the actual weld. For example, if your welded plate was used to make doors, hold the door frame apart at its longest point until it feels sturdy. If it doesn’t feel very stable, then try moving it closer together to see how much force it takes to separate them.
If you want even stronger joints, use thinner sheets of metal to weld instead of thick ones. That way, the extra heat can penetrate deeper, making for a tighter bond.
Certifications for welders
There are several different certifications that qualify someone to work as a welder in this country. Some of the most common include welding certificates, metal fabrication certification, gas tungsten arc (TIG) welding certificate, plasma cutting certificate, etc.
Welding is a very diverse field that requires individuals with various levels of expertise depending on what area of welding they want to pursue. To tell if someone has the right level of knowledge you would have to see their certification, test scores, and experience.
It is important to be aware of all types of welding before deciding whether or not to hire someone else to do it for you. You should also know how much money each certification costs so you can determine if this person is worth the cost.
Tips for welding
We’ve discussed some of the key components of welding, but there is one more important factor to consider when talking about weld strength- tip size!
Weld tips come in different shapes and sizes depending on what type of welding you are doing. When it comes down to it, the bigger the better!
Too small a tip will not properly melt the other material which can lead to poor quality joints or even breakage of the torch. A too large a tip could cause burn-through, where only the surface layer of the metal melts and runs away. This reduces the strength of the joint.
There are many types of welding done with various sized tapers. Make sure to do some research and test out several torches before choosing the best fit for your projects.