OxyFuel Welding Steel

The term “steel” may be applied to many ferrous metals which differ greatly in both chemical and physical properties. In general, they may be divided into plain carbon and alloy groups. By following the proper procedures, most steels can be successfully welded. However, parts fabricated by welding generally contain less than 0.30 percent carbon. Heat increases the carbon combining power of steel. Care must be taken during all welding processes to avoid carbon pickup.

OxyFuel Welding Process for Steel

Steel heated with an oxyacetylene flame becomes fluid between 2450 and 2750°F (1343 and 1510°C), depending on its composition. It passes through a soft range between the solid and liquid states. This soft range enables the operator to control the weld. To produce a weld with good fusion, the welding rod should be placed in the molten puddle. The rod and base metal should be melted together so that they will solidify to form a solid joint. Care should be taken to avoid heating a large portion of the joint. This will dissipate the heat and may cause some of the weld metal to adhere to but not fuse with the sides of the welded joint. The flare should be directed against the sides and bottom of the welded joint. This will allow penetration of the lower section of the joint. Weld metal should be added in sufficient quantities to fill the joint without leaving any undercut or overlap. Do not overheat. Overheating will burn the weld metal and weaken the finished joint.

Impurities when oxyfuel welding steel

Oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen impurities produce defective weld metal because they tend to increase porosity, blowholes, oxides, and slag inclusions.  When oxygen combines with steel to form iron oxides at high temperatures, care should be taken to ensure that all the oxides formed are removed by proper manipulation of the rod and torch flame. An oxidizing flame causes the steel to foam and give off sparks. The oxides formed are distributed through the metal and cause a brittle, porous weld. Oxides that form on the surface of the finished weld can be removed by wire brushing after cooling.

A carburizing flame adds carbon to the molten steel and causes boiling of the metal. Steel welds made with strongly carburizing flames are hard and brittle.

Nitrogen from the atmosphere will combine with molten steel to form nitrides of iron. These will impair its strength and ductility if included in sufficient quantities.

By controlling the melting rate of the base metal and welding rod, the size of the puddle, the speed of welding, and the flame adjustment, the inclusion of impurities from the above sources may be held to a minimum.

OxyFuel Welding Steel Plates

 In plates up to 3/16 in. (4.8 mm) in thickness, joints are prepared with a space between the edges equal to the plate thickness. This allows the flame and welding rod to penetrate to the root of the joint. Proper allowance should be made for expansion and contraction in order to eliminate warping of the plates or cracking of the weld.  The edges of heavy section steel plates (more than 3/16 in. (4.8 mm) thick) should be beveled to obtain full penetration of the weld metal and good fusion at the joint. Use the forehand method of welding.

Plates 1/2 to 3/4 in. (12.7 to 19.1 mm) thick should be prepared for a U type joint in all cases. The root face is provided at the base of the joint to cushion the first bead or layer of weld metal. The backhand method is generally used in welding these plates.


Welding of plates 1/2 to 3/4 in. (12.7 to 19.1 mm) thick is not recommended for oxyacetylene welding.

The edges of plates 3/4 in. (19.1 mm) or thicker are usually prepared by using the double V or double U type joint when welding can be done from both sides of the plate. A single V or single U joint is used for all plate thicknesses when welding is done from one side of the plate.

General Principles in OxyFuel Welding of Steel

 A well balanced neutral flame is used for welding most steels. To be sure that the flame is not oxidizing, it is sometimes used with a slight acetylene feather. A very slight excess of acetylene may be used for welding alloys with a high carbon, chromium, or nickel content. However, increased welding speeds are possible by using a slightly reducing flame. Avoid excessive gas pressure because it gives a harsh flame. This often results in cold shuts or laps, and makes molten metal control difficult. The tip size and volume of flame used should be sufficient to reduce the metal to a fully molten state and to produce complete joint penetration. Care should be taken to avoid the formation of molten metal drip heads from the bottom of the joint. The flame should bring the joint edges to the fusion point ahead of the puddle as the weld progresses.

The pool of the molten metal should progress evenly down the seam as the weld is being made.

The inner cone tip of the flame should not be permitted to come in contact with the welding rod, molten puddle, or base metal. The flame should be manipulated so that the molten metal is protected from the atmosphere by the envelope or outer flame.

The end of the welding rod should be melted by placing it in the puddle under the protection of the enveloping flame. The rod should not be melted above the puddle and allowed to drip into it.