TIG welding is a high-precision process that allows for welding thin materials and creating precise welds with a clean, aesthetically pleasing appearance.
TIG welding can weld various metals, including steel, stainless steel, and non-ferrous metals like nickel and titanium. Generally, metals that can be TIG welded have a high melting point and good weldability. They should also have low thermal conductivity to minimize heat loss during the welding process.
Some other characteristics that make a metal suitable for TIG welding include a stable arc, low spatter, and good bead appearance. TIG welding is often used in aerospace, automotive, and jewelry manufacturing, where precision and aesthetics are important considerations.
Metals That Cannot Be Tig Welded
Several metals cannot be TIG welded due to their physical and chemical properties. These metals include:
- Aluminum: Aluminum has a high melting point and is highly conductive, which makes it difficult to TIG weld. The high thermal conductivity of aluminum causes the heat generated during TIG welding to be quickly dissipated, resulting in a weak and porous weld. Additionally, aluminum forms an oxide layer on its surface, which can interfere with welding.
- Copper: Copper is a highly conductive metal with a high melting point and good weldability. However, it isn’t easy to TIG weld due to its high thermal conductivity, which causes the heat generated during welding to be quickly dissipated. Copper also forms an oxide layer on its surface, which can interfere with welding.
- Brass: Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc with properties similar to copper. It has a high melting point, good weldability, and high thermal conductivity, which makes it difficult to TIG weld.
- Lead is a soft, malleable metal with a low melting point. While it can be TIG welded, it is not typically done due to the health risks associated with lead exposure. Lead fumes and dust generated during TIG welding can harm workers if inhaled.
These metals can be challenging to TIG weld due to their high melting points, poor weldability, and high thermal conductivity. Alternative welding techniques, such as MIG welding for aluminum and soldering or brazing for copper and brass, may be used.
Reasons for Inability to Tig Weld These Metals
There are several reasons why certain metals, including aluminum, copper, brass, and lead, cannot be TIG welded effectively. These reasons include the following:
- High melting point: Metals with a high melting point, such as aluminum and copper, are difficult to TIG weld due to the high temperatures required to melt them. The high melting point of these metals means that more heat must be applied to the weld area, which can be challenging to control and result in a weak or porous weld.
- Poor weldability: Some metals, such as brass, have poor weldability due to their chemical composition and physical properties. These metals may be prone to cracking or melting during the welding process, which can result in a poor-quality weld.
- High thermal conductivity: Metals with high thermal conductivity, such as aluminum and copper, tend to dissipate heat quickly during the TIG welding process. This can make it difficult to maintain a stable arc and achieve a strong, reliable weld.
Alternative Welding Techniques for These Metals
Several alternative welding techniques can be used for metals that cannot be effectively TIG welded. These techniques include:
- MIG welding for aluminum: MIG welding, also known as gas metal arc welding (GMAW), is a popular alternative to TIG welding. MIG welding uses a wire electrode fed through a welding gun, producing an electric arc that melts and fuses the metal. MIG welding is a faster process than TIG welding and is less sensitive to the high thermal conductivity of aluminum.
- Soldering for copper and brass: Soldering is a process that uses a filler material to join two metal surfaces together. It is often used for copper and brass due to their high melting points and poor weldability. Soldering is a low-temperature process suitable for joining thin metal sheets or making electrical connections.
- Brazing for lead: Brazing is a process that uses a filler material to join two metal surfaces together at a temperature above 450°C but below the melting point of the base metal. Due to its low melting point and poor weldability, brazing is often used for lead. Brazing is a suitable alternative to TIG welding for lead because it does not produce harmful fumes or dust, which makes it a safer option for workers.
These alternative welding techniques can join metals that cannot be effectively TIG welded due to their high melting points, poor weldability, or high thermal conductivity. It is important to select the appropriate welding technique based on the specific properties of the metal being welded and the application’s requirements.
In conclusion, TIG welding is a high-precision process suitable for welding various metals, including steel, stainless steel, and non-ferrous metals, such as nickel and titanium. However, some metals cannot be TIG welded due to their physical and chemical properties, including aluminum, copper, brass, and lead. These metals have high melting points, poor weldability, and high thermal conductivity, making it difficult to TIG weld effectively.
Alternative welding techniques, such as MIG welding for aluminum, soldering for copper and brass, and brazing for lead, may be used. It is important to select the appropriate welding technique based on the specific properties of the metal being welded and the application’s requirements. TIG welding is a useful tool for producing high-quality, aesthetically pleasing welds in various industries. Still, it has limitations regarding the types of metals that can be welded.
It’s been years since I got into welding as a side hustle. It’s been so long since Doing All kinds of welds for business and pleasure as this is my hobby. Being in this field I have learned from hands-on-experience also came to know what gears work and what doesn’t. The Tig Welder is my own platform where I use to share my experience.