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(1) Titanium is a soft, silvery white, medium strength metal with very good corrosion resistance. It has a high strength to weight ratio, and its tensile strength increases as the temperature decreases. Titanium has low impact and creep strengths. It has seizing tendencies at temperatures above 800°F (427°C).
(2) Titanium has a high affinity for oxygen and other gases at elevated temperatures, and for this reason, cannot be welded with any process that utilizes fluxes, or where heated metal is exposed to the atmosphere. Minor amounts of impurities cause titanium to become brittle.
(3) Titanium has the characteristic known as the ductile-brittle transition. This refers to a temperature at which the metal breaks in a brittle manner, rather than in a ductile fashion. The recrystallization of the metal during welding can raise the transition temperature. Contamination during the high temperate period and impurities can raise the transition temperature period and impurities can raise the transition temperature so that the material is brittle at room temperatures. If contamination occurs so that transition temperature is raised sufficiently, it will make the welding worthless. Gas contamination can occur at temperatures below the melting point of the metal. These temperatures range from 700°F (371°C) up to 1000°F (538°C).
(4) At room temperature, titanium has an impervious oxide coating that resists further reaction with air. The oxide coating melts at temperatures considerably higher than the melting point of the base metal and creates problems. The oxidized coating may enter molten weld metal and create discontinuities which greatly reduce the strength and ductility of the weld.
(5) The procedures for welding titanium and titanium alloys are similar to other metals. Some processes, such as oxyacetylene or arc welding processes using active gases, cannot be used due to the high chemical activity of titanium and its sensitivity to embrittlement by contamination. Processes that are satisfactory for welding titanium and titanium alloys include gas shielded metal-arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding, and spot, seam, flash, and pressure welding. Special procedures must be employed when using the gas shielded welding processes. These special procedures include the use of large gas nozzles and trailing shields to shield the face of the weld from air. Backing bars that provide inert gas to shield the back of the welds from air are also used. Not only the molten weld metal, but the material heated above 1000°F (538°C) by the weld must be adequately shielded in order to prevent embrittlement. All of these processes provide for shielding of the molten weld metal and heat affected zones. Prior to welding, titanium and its alloys must be free of all scale and other material that might cause weld contamination.
Welding Titanium : Surface Preparation
The nitric acid used to pre-clean titanium for inert gas shielded arc welding is highly toxic and corrosive. Goggles, rubber gloves, and rubber aprons must be worn when handling acid and acid solutions. Do not inhale gases and mists. When spilled on the body or clothing, wash immediately with large quantities of cold water, and seek medical help. Never pour water into acid when preparing the solution; instead, pour acid into water. Always mix acid and water slowly. Perform cleaning operations only in well ventilated places.The caustic chemicals (including sodium hydride) used to pre-clean titanium for inert gas shielded arc welding are highly toxic and corrosive. Goggles, rubber gloves, and rubber aprons must be worn when handling these chemicals. Do not inhale gases or mists. When spilled on the body or clothing, wash immediately with large quantities of cold water and seek medical help. Special care should be taken at all times to prevent any water from coming in contact with the molten bath or any other large amount of sodium hydride, as this will cause the formation of highly explosive hydrogen gas.
(1) Surface cleaning is important in preparing titanium and its alloys for welding. Proper surface cleaning prior to welding reduces contamination of the weld due to surface scale or other foreign materials. Small amounts of contamination can render titanium completely brittle.
(2) Several cleaning procedures are used, depending on the surface condition of the base and filler metals. Surface conditions most often encountered are as follows:(a) Scale free (as received from the mill).(b) Light scale (after hot forming or annealing at intermediate temperature; ie., less than 1300°F (704°C).(c) Heavy scale (after hot forming, annealing, or forging at high temperature).