Shielding gas is used to protect the weld pool against contamination by elements in the atmosphere. Atmospheric gases like oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen can react with the weld pool and cause problems such as spatter or porosity. The shielding gas also impacts weld penetration, arc stability, and can even influence the mechanical properties of the end weld.
Choosing industrial gases for shielding is therefore important, but it isn’t always easy. The most common gases used for shielding are: carbon dioxide, argon, helium, and oxygen, but mixes of gases are often used too. Some gases work better than others depending on the material being cut, the appearance of the weld, and even the type of welding being performed. MIG, TIG, and Flux welding all have different performance factors and shielding gas needs.
Use the four steps outlined below to get a general idea of your job demands, and then call Josef Gas for shielding gas recommendations. Our in-house experts will walk you through your project needs to help you choose the right gas for the job.
4 Steps To Your Perfect Shielding Gas
- Determine The Material Type. Not all gases work with all materials and some materials and gases work better together than others. Are you cutting carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, nickel alloys, copper alloys or something else? Argon is popular for welding aluminum, magnesium and titanium because it produces a stable arc. Helium is best for non-ferrous materials.
- Determine Material Thicknesses And Condition. How thick is the material that you’ll be cutting through? Is the material clean or does it have scale or oil build-up that must be taken into account? Contaminants can affect weld quality and might also react with certain industrial gases. You’ll need to know what’s on your metal so you can choose a non-reactive gas. Carbon dioxide, for example, provides deep weld penetration but tends to spatter.
- Determine The Welding Position. Shielding gas and weld position affect the metal transfer, which impacts efficiency and weld quality. Helium creates a hot arc, which improves cut speed and productivity, but it’s expensive. Comparable productivity gains could be had by the welder position and skill.
- Review The Requirements Of The Job. To determine which gas to use, it can help to start at the end and work your way backwards. Ask yourself “What are the requirements of the finished weld?” This can help you make a decision from a cost or operational perspective since there are many more factors than just the shielding gas that go into a finished weld. Operator skill, equipment, budget restraints, post-weld clean up needs should all play a role in your industrial gas selection. Oxygen can oxidize certain metals for example, which may not be desired.
Additional Questions To Ask Yourself
Other things to think about include:
- Weld appearance. How important is appearance to the end product?
- Is spatter a concern? Sometimes spatter is acceptable, other times it isn’t.
- What is the level of penetration needed? Do you need deep penetration or shallow to minimize burn through?
- Are fumes of concern?
Count On Josef Gas For All Your Industrial Gases
Josef Gas is here to help you with all of your welding needs. We have a deep history in welding and even have staff members with formal schooling in welding, ready to answer all your technical questions. We can help you find the right shielding gas for your project, saving you time and money!
Contact our team at 416.658.1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org today!