Tips and Techniques for Welding Aluminum

March 20, 2019 10:20 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Aluminum fabrication has a variety of unique challenges that one must overcome to achieve their goals. Whether you’re interested in purchasing a single part or need a manufacturer for a large-scale project, it’s important to work with a steel construction company in Indiana that’s capable of getting around some of the difficulties associated with welding aluminum to create high-quality, reliable products for your use.

Here are just a few examples of some of the challenges that come with welding aluminum and some tips and techniques to get through the process safely and reliably.

Aluminum’s chemical composition is rather unstable

One of the biggest challenges associated with working with aluminum is that its chemical composition can easily start to come apart if it’s exposed to too much stress. During the welding process, aluminum will often react to the filler metal, which can result in breakage, cracking and extreme brittleness, which would make the metal more likely to break in the future even after the welding process is complete.

For this reason, to be able to prevent this sort of cracking and breakage during aluminum welding, it is crucial that the welder use a filler metal that has a chemical composition with a lower sensitivity to cracking and heat. The American Welding Society has plenty of classification information available for filler metals, to make selection easier for professional welders when dealing with finicky materials like aluminum.

Welding can cause discoloration in aluminum

After aluminum has been welded, it’s not uncommon for it to experience some discoloration. This is a result of the magnesium oxides collecting at the weld on the base material. To prevent this discoloration from occurring, the welder must be sure to use the correct filler metal, and operate at an appropriate contact-to-work distance while holding the welding gun at the correct angle. These tactics all ensure there will be less buildup of those oxides, which will go a long way toward preventing the discoloration often associated with aluminum welding.

Aluminum has a comparatively low melting point

Another one of the largest challenges associated with welding aluminum is its low melting point. There are other metals that melt at a higher temperature so melting isn’t as much of a concern during welding, but aluminum is much more likely to break, crack, warp and melt during the process.

To prevent warping, burning or other such issues, welders should use GMAW processes with pulsation capability. This sort of power source features a combination of high peak current and low background current in a rotational manner so the metal does not get nearly as hot, preventing potential melting, burn-through and other issues that could arise during the welding process.

For more information about some of the most common challenges associated with aluminum welding and how you can overcome those challenges with steel construction in Indiana, get in touch with the experts at Benchmark Fabricated Steel and we will be happy to answer any questions you have. We look forward to working with you soon!

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