The density gradients and flow characteristics of the gas shield during gas metal arc welding (GMAW) of DH36, higher strength ‘construction steel’ were visualised using schlieren imaging. A systematic study was undertaken to determine the effect of shielding gas flow rate, as well as changes in the nozzle stand-off and angle, on the weld quality. The schlieren images were used to validate 2D and 3D magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) finite element models of the interaction between the Ar shielding gas, the arc and the ambient atmosphere. Weld porosity levels were determined through x-ray radiography. Sufficient shielding gas coverage was provided at a minimum of 9 l/min pure Ar, irrespective of relatively large increases in the nozzle stand-off and angle. Using 80% Ar/20% CO2 shielding gas, and 86% Ar/12% CO2/2% O2 shielding gas with flux cored arc welding (FCAW-G), achieved good quality welds down to 5 l/min. The introduction of 12 l/min in production welding has been implemented with no compromise in the weld quality and further reductions are feasible.
- finite element modelling
- shielding gas