Did you know that Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) is the most widely used form of welding today? It is a specialized welding technique utilized in arc welding to join metals together and is utilized by welders across multiple industries from aerospace to medical device fabrication. This important welding process is used to weld items such as high alloy materials, thin metals, and low-mid alloy steels.
According to a recent survey, GTAW is responsible for nearly 25% of all welding done in the United States, with over 2 million welders using it as of 201
So, what is gas tungsten arc welding and how does it work? Keep reading to find out!
Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) is one of the most precise and technically complex welding processes available. It is often called “TIG welding” — an abbreviation for tungsten inert gas welding. GTAW is more time-intensive and difficult to master than other welding methods, making it ideal for highly skilled craftsmen who need to produce precise, top-quality welds.
OverviewGTAW is a welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to create a weld. Inert gas (usually argon, but sometimes a mix of argon and helium) shields and cools the weld and the electrode, providing an intensely clean environment for welding.
The current and power can be adjusted to create a wide variety of welds. Another benefit of GTAW is its ability to produce precise welds that rarely require grinding or other post-weld finishing processes.
This is made possible by the very high temperature of the arc, which allows the weld to cool very quickly and form a clean, crystalline microstructure.
ApplicationGTAW is used primarily to join thin sections of stainless steel and non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, magnesium, and copper alloys. The process is also commonly used with other metals, such as nickel alloys, steel, and titanium alloys.
GTAW can also be used to weld exotic alloys, such as Hastelloy and Inconel. GTAW is useful for welding in hard-to-reach areas, for welding together components with different thicknesses and for welding thin sheet metal.
It is especially useful for welding small components, since the small tungsten electrode easily fits into tight spaces.
Materials UsedIn order to use GTAW, a few basic materials are necessary:
Tungsten ElectrodeThe tungsten electrode used in GTAW is available in different materials and sizes. A pure tungsten electrode has small grain structure and higher conductivity than an alloyed electrode.
Alloyed electrodes are more resistant to contamination and have longer service life.