TIG Welding Advantages
One of the greatest advantages of TIG welding, (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding or Gas Tungsten Arc welding (GTAW) process is that it will weld more kinds of metals and metal alloys than any other arc welding process. TIG welding can be used to weld most metals, including aluminum, magnesium, copper, brass, bronze, stainless steel, nickel alloys like titanium, and even gold. Utilizing the TIG Welding process you can also weld dissimilar metals to each other, like copper to brass and stainless steel to mild steel.
TIG welding produces a concentrated welding arc
The TIG welding arc is concentrated, which enables pin point accuracy and complete control of heat input to the work piece, resulting in a much smaller heat-affected zone.
The high concentration of heat is an advantage when welding metals with high heat conductivity such as aluminum and copper, which readily disperse the heat applied to the base metal. A smaller heat-affected zone is an advantage when TIG welding, because it prevents the base metal from undergoing changes due to the super heating and fast cooling of the welding arc. The heat-affected zone is where a welded joint is weakest and is the area along the edge of a properly made weld bead that is most likely to break during destructive testing. The enhanced articulation of the TIG welding electrode enables finer control of the welding puddle.
TIG Welding = No Slag
With the TIG welding process there is no requirement for flux. Therefore, there is no slag to obscure the welder’s vision of the molten weld pool. The finished weld will not have slag to remove between passes. Entrapment of slag in multiple pass welds is rarely seen.
TIG Welding = No Sparks or Spatter
In the TIG Welding process there is no transfer of metal across the arc. There are no molten globules of spatter to contend with and no sparks produced if the material being welded is free of contaminants. Also under normal conditions the TIG welding arc is quiet without the usual cracks, pops, and buzzing of Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW or Stick) and Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW or MIG). Generally, the only time noise will be a factor is when a pulsed arc, or AC welding mode is being used.
TIG Welding = No Smoke or Fumes
The TIG welding process itself does not produce smoke or injurious fumes. If the base metal contains coatings or elements such as lead, zinc, nickel or copper that produce fumes, these must be dealt with, just as in any fusion welding process on these metals. If the base metal contains oil, grease, paint or other contaminants, smoke and fumes will definitely be produced as the heat of the arc burns them away. The base material should be cleaned to make the conditions most desirable.
TIG Welding Disadvantages
The main disadvantage of the TIG welding process is the low filler metal deposition rate, as filler rod is manually fed into the weld puddle.
Another disadvantage of TIG welding is that the hand-eye coordination necessary to accomplish the weld is more difficult to master, and requires a great deal of practice to become proficient in. The arc rays produced by the TIG welding process tend to be brighter than those produced by Shielded Metal Arc welding (SMAW ) and MIG welding or Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW). This is mostly due to the absence of visible fumes and smoke. The increased amounts of ultraviolet rays from the welding arc also cause the formation of ozone and nitrous oxides. Care should be taken to protect your skin with the proper clothing and protect your eyes with the correct shade lens in your welding helmet. When welding in confined areas, concentrations of shielding gas, like Argon may build up and being heavier than air will displace oxygen. Make sure that these areas are ventilated properly.
TIG welding Process Summary
TIG Welding is a clean process. TIG Welding is desirable because of the advantages outlined. When TIG welding, the welder must maintain excellent welding conditions by properly cleaning material, using clean filler metal and clean welding gloves, and by keeping oil, dirt and other contaminants away from the area to be welded.
Cleanliness when welding cannot be overemphasized, especially when welding aluminum or magnesium. These metals are more susceptible to contaminants than are ferrous metals.
Porosity in aluminum welds have been shown to be caused by hydrogen. For this reason, it is very important to eliminate all sources of hydrogen contamination such as moisture and hydrocarbons in the form of oils and paint.