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How Is Argon Used in Welding?

Jul 9, 2021 ·
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Welding is a process used in a number of industries, and there are several different processes welders can use depending on what kind of project they’re working on.

If you like working with your hands and are detail-oriented, you might consider a career in the field. Universal Technical Institute (UTI) teaches four major types of arc welding processes, including gas metal arc welding (GMAW) and gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), which both use shielding gases to help protect welds from contaminants.

Pure argon or an argon mix is often the choice when it comes to the shielding gases used for these methods. Keep reading to find out more about how argon works.

GMAW and GTAW

There are two primary welding methods that employ the use of a shielding gas — GMAW, also known as metal inert gas (MIG) welding, and GTAW, otherwise known as tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding.

GMAW

During the GMAW process, an electric arc is formed between the metal being worked on and a wire electrode. As the wire electrode travels through the welding gun, a shielding gas, commonly argon, is used to protect the weld pool from contamination.

GMAW can be utilized on a range of metals, including thick and thin sheets and nonferrous (not containing iron) materials.

GTAW

The GTAW welding process works similarly to GMAW welding — an electric arc is also formed during the process. However, with GTAW welds a nonconsumable tungsten electrode is utilized instead of a continuously fed wire.

The tungsten electrode works to heat objects enough so a bond can be formed between the two, meaning no filler material or wire is needed like with GMAW welds.

GTAW welds also use inert shielding gases, like argon, to help prevent damage and pollution.

Purpose of a Shielding Gas

There are several reasons why shielding gases are used for different types of welds. They help protect the weld pool from airborne contaminants. The shielding gas can also help shape the penetration profile of the weldment, to stabilize the electric arc.

Shielding gases play a role in the quality of the weld, as well as the productivity and efficiency achieved during the process. Protecting the weld from oxygenation and moisture in the air helps increase how durable a weld is and prevents corrosion.

The shielding gas used can be inert or active:

  • Inert gases are nonreactive, meaning they will have no effect on the final weld since they don’t react with other elements. They are used to protect the arc/weld pool from contaminants.
  • Active gases will have an effect on the welding process and are used in certain cases depending on the material being used, especially if deep penetration of a weld is needed.

There are a few different options to choose from when it comes to shielding gases. Four of the most common are argon, helium, carbon dioxide and oxygen.

Both argon and helium are inert shielding gases, whereas carbon dioxide and oxygen are active.

What Argon Is Used for in Welding

Although there are several options when it comes to shielding gases, argon often comes out on top as one of the most used for GMAW and GTAW welds.

During the welding process, metals are exposed to temperatures that often exceed 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Argon is nontoxic and nonflammable, meaning it can handle those extremes. Pure argon is utilized to weld aluminum and magnesium alloys with the GMAW process, whereas for the GTAW process, pure argon is standard for all applications.

Argon Blends

There are a few types of argon gases and blends used by welders during shielded welding processes.

The most commonly used standard for GTAW is 99.996% pure argon, which is one of the most efficient levels welders can use.

Sometimes, a welder will choose a blend of 75% argon and 25% carbon dioxide for GMAW projects. Since carbon dioxide can cause oxidation around the tungsten electrode, the blend is avoided for GTAW.

However, with GMAW welds, the combination of argon with carbon dioxide can help produce a hotter weld puddle, as well as deeper penetration of the weld.

Sometimes, a mixture of 75% argon and 25% helium is used in both GMAW and GTAW welds, but it’s not as common and is typically used only in industrial settings.

Learn Argon Welding Methods at UTI

The welding industry is growing. You can prepare for an exciting career by attending the Welding Technology program at UTI.1

You’ll learn both GMAW and GTAW techniques and become familiar with using argon as a shielding gas. Additionally, you’ll learn flux-cored arc welding (FCAW) and shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) methods that are also commonly used in the field.

Request more information here to get connected with an Admissions Representative and see how you can get trained in just 36 weeks.

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By submitting this form, I agree that Universal Technical Institute, Inc., Custom Training Group, Inc., and their representatives may email, call, and / or text me with marketing messages about educational programs and services, as well as for school - related communications, at any phone number I provide, including a wireless number, using prerecorded calls or automated technology. I understand that my consent is not required to apply, enroll or make any purchase.

By submitting this form, I further understand and agree that all information provided is subject to UTI's Privacy Policy available at uti.edu/privacy-policy

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