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Welding Process of Stainless Steel

  1. Welding Process of Stainless SteelWelding process. Warped metal, charcoal colored welds, and setbacks; These are some things that may happen when welding stainless steel. Although it contains elements similar to carbon steel, alloy elements such as chromium and molybdenum are added to stainless steel. When two or more pieces of stainless steel are fused instead of carbon steel, it will bring completely different challenges. 
  2. Oxygen around the stainless steel bath must be kept to an absolute minimum. The behavior of the weld pool will be different from that of aluminum or carbon steel. The thermal conductivity of stainless steel is much smaller, which makes deformation and heat input a big problem. Although there are many items to consider when welding stainless steel, one of the most important decisions is what welding process to use.
  3. Next, we discuss the most popular stainless steel welding process.

Metal inert gas (MIG) welding process/ gas metal arc welding process  (GMAW)
  1. MIG welding, or gas metal arc welding, as it is more formally known, is a more popular way to weld stainless steel. There are many similarities between MIG welded stainless steel and welded carbon steel. There is no need to use special drive rollers, and the polarity of electricity is the same. However, the composition of the shielding gas is usually different. When welding stainless steel, a low amount of oxygen is allowed, so the level of O2 or CO2 should be maintained at about 2% or less. 
  2. When MIG welding stainless steel, it is common to use a three mixture shielding gas containing argon, helium, carbon dioxide or oxygen. Since the weld and base metal usually need corrosion resistance, stainless steel welding wire must be used. In addition, in order to prevent cracking, filler wires and base stainless steel should be low-carbon versions, or have stabilizers in them, such as tantalum or niobium. Using pulse welding waveform can also help users to MIG weld stainless steel more successfully.

  1. Argon tungsten arc welding, more formally known as gas argon tungsten arc welding process , is another process often used to weld stainless steel. This process also has similarities when it is used to weld carbon steel and when it is used to weld stainless steel. Both materials require a DC electrode negative (DCEN). 
  2. Generally, argon or helium shielding gas is used for almost 100%. Like MIG welding, TIG welding requires stainless steel filler metal to prevent the production of welds that are prone to corrosion. Stainless steel of low carbon or stable grade shall be used as filler metal, and the base metal shall also be low carbon or stable. When welding stainless steel, deformation may be a major problem. Therefore, when TIG welding stainless steel, it is necessary to maintain fast walking speed and low heat input.

Flux cored wire welding

Generally speaking, the welding process using flux is not suitable for welding stainless steel. In other words, it is possible to weld stainless steel with cored welding process. Special gas mixtures are required. Gas shielded flux cored arc welding is usually a better process choice for welding stainless steel than flux cored arc welding, because it relies less on liquid medicine than the latter process to protect the weld metal from the atmosphere.

Metal clad arc welding

A better alternative to self shielded flux cored arc welding and gas shielded flux cored arc welding process is metal cored arc welding. This is mainly because metal core arc welding does not rely on flux at all. Although there are some kinds of deoxidizers in the metal core of the filling material, most of them are filled with powdered metal to increase deposition. With proper shielding gas and wire feeding system, metal clad arc welding can be used to weld stainless steel with high quality. In most cases, using metal envelope arc welding to produce high-quality stainless steel welds requires pulse waveform or jet transmission arc.

Laser beam welding process  (LBW)

Laser beam welding is often used to connect stainless steel with very fast moving speed and very low heat input. When using laser welding, care must be taken to avoid pores and cracks. Cracks and pores can be avoided by reducing the amount of oxygen through the optimization of shielding gas and welding parameters. Laser beam welding is by no means a manual operation. Therefore, if it is selected as the process of welding stainless steel, automation must be realized.

Other welding processes for stainless steel

The process mentioned above is probably the most common process for welding  process  stainless steel. There are many other, less popular processes in the industry that can be used to weld stainless steel. They include plasma arc welding (PAW), electron beam welding (EBW), shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), friction stir welding (FSW) and resistance welding (RW). This list is not exhaustive. There are many welding processes that can weld stainless steel together and achieve varying degrees of success.

Welding Process of Stainless Steel

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