The alternating shielding gas technique is a method of achieving transient arc characteristics during arc welding; however the complex flow that occurs through its use has not been investigated previously. A schlieren system was used to image density gradients that arise when alternating argon and helium shield gases, under varying flow parameters, with gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). A theoretical analysis was carried out to determine the conditions under which the technique facilitates arc pulsing, in particular to avoid mixing the shield gases in the delivery pipe prior to the welding nozzle. At appropriate pulsing frequency and flow rates, a stable horizontal region of helium was obseved in the weld region, maintained in position by the denser argon from the preceding pulse. This higher than average mass fraction of helium when applying the shielding gases alternately, compare to a premixed gas with the same volume of argon and helium, increased the weld penetration by 13% on average, suggesting a modest improvement in heat transfer.
- alternating shielding gases
- Schlieren visualisation