TIG Welding Aluminum
TIG welding (Tungsten Inert Gas) or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) is frequently used for high quality, precision welding. In TIG welding, there is an arc that forms between the metal and the permanent non-melting tungsten electrode. Gas is fed through the torch, shielding the electrode and molten weld pool. If filler material is to be used, it is added separately to the weld pool.
Some of the benefits of TIG welding include superior quality welds, precise control of welding variables such as heat, freedom from splatter and low distortion. In addition, with TIG welding the process can be used at lower amperages for thinner metal and can be used on exotic metals. Some of the general drawbacks for TIG welding include the requirement for greater manual dexterity than other forms of welding, lower deposition rates and greater cost for welding thicker sections.
The commonly used power source for TIG welding is AC current. Direct current is sometimes used but due to high heat generation on the tungsten electrode and poor oxide cleaning its use is limited. Argon gas is most commonly used in TIG welding as the shielding gas. Just by changing the diameter of the tungsten electrode, welding may be performed within a wide range of heat input at different thicknesses, offering great flexibility in the process.
TIG welding can be used on many different types of metals, but is most commonly used with aluminum, especially with metals of a smaller thickness. Because of the popularity in automotive applications, TIG welding has become popular within the circles of professional racing teams along with being a favorite for auto enthusiasts and hobbyists as well.
In TIG welding, an acceptable weld is obtained only if the filler wire is clean and of high quality. If the filler wire is not clean, a large amount of contaminant may be introduced into the weld pool making for an unacceptable weld.