The welding of aluminium and its alloys

TIG welding

6.1 Introduction

Tungsten arc inert gas shielded welding, EN process number 144 abbrevi­ated to TIG, TAGS or GTAW (USA), is an arc welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode and an inert gas shield to protect the electrode, arc column and weld pool, as illustrated in Fig. 6.1. The welding arc acts as a heat source only and the welding engineer has the choice of whether or not to add a filler wire. The weld pool is easily controlled such that unbacked root passes can be made, the arc is stable at very low welding currents enabling thin components to be welded and the process produces very good quality weld metal, although highly skilled welders are required for the best results. It has a lower travel speed and lower filler metal deposi­tion rate than MIG welding, making it less cost effective in some situations.

TIG tends to be limited to the thinner gauges of aluminium, up to perhaps 6 mm in thickness. It has a shallower penetration into the parent metal than MIG and difficulty is sometimes encountered penetrating into corners and into the root of fillet welds. Recommended weld preparations taken from BS 3019 ‘TIG Welding of Aluminium’ are given in Table 6.1.

The welding of aluminium and its alloys

Alloy designations: wrought products

Table A.4 BS EN BS EN Old BS/DTD Temperature (°C) numerical chemical number designation designation Liquidus Solidus IVIdUng range Al 99.99 1 660 660 0 AW-1080A Al 99.8 1A AW-1070A …

Principal alloy designations: cast products

Table A.3 BS EN numerical designation BS EN chemical designation Old BS number ANSI designation Temperature (°C) Liquidus Solidus Melting range Al 99.5 LM0 640 658 18 AC-46100 Al Si10Cu2Fe …

Physical, mechanical and chemical properties at 20°C

Table A.2 Property Aluminium Iron Nickel Copper Titanium Crystal structure FCC BCC FCC FCC HCP Density (gm/cm3) 2.7 7.85 8.9 8.93 4.5 Melting point (°C) 660 1536 1455 1083 1670 …

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