Resistance Welding Aluminum

Resistance Welding Aluminum. The resistance welding processes (spot, seam, and flash welding) are important in fabricating aluminum alloys. These processes are especially useful in joining the high strength heat treatable alloys, which are difficult to join by fusion welding, but can be joined by the resistance welding process with practically no loss in strength. The natural oxide coating on aluminum has a rather high and erratic electrical resistance. To obtain spot or seam welds of the highest strength and consistency, it is usually necessary to reduce this oxide coating prior to welding.

(2) Spot welding Aluminum. Welds of uniformly high strength and good appearance depend upon a consistently low surface resistance between the workplaces. For most applications, some cleaning operations are necessary before spot or seam welding aluminum. Surface preparation for welding generally consists of removal of grease, oil, dirt, or identification markings, and reduction and improvement of consistency of the oxide film on the aluminum surface. Satisfactory performance of spot welds in service depends to a great extent upon joint design. Spot welds should always be designed to carry shear loads. However, when tension or combined loadings may be expected, special tests should be conducted to determine the actual strength of the joint under service loading. The strength of spot welds in direct tension may vary from 20 to 90 percent of the shear strength.

(3) Seam welding Aluminum. Seam welding of aluminum and its alloys is very similar to spot welding, except that the electrodes are replaced by wheels. The spots made by a seam welding machine can be overlapped to form a gas or liquid tight joint. By adjusting the timing, the seam welding machine can produce uniformly spaced spot welds equal in quality to those produced on a regular spot welding machine, and at a faster rate. This procedure is called roll spot or intermittent seam welding.

(4) Flash welding Aluminum. All aluminum alloys may be joined by the flash welding process. This process is particularly adapted to making butt or miter joints between two parts of similar cross section. It has been adapted to joining aluminum to copper in the form of bars and tubing. The joints so produced fail outside of the weld area when tension loads are applied.