What is TIG Welding (GTAW) & How it Works
TIG welding, also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), is a welding process that uses a tungsten electrode to produce an electric arc that melts and fuses metal together. TIG welding is typically used for welding thin sections of stainless steel, aluminum, magnesium, and other non-ferrous metals, as well as for welding critical welds such as those found in aerospace, medical, and automotive applications.
TIG welding history
Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding, also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), has a relatively short but interesting history. Here's a brief overview:
- In the early 20th century, a French engineer named Edmond Foucault developed a welding process that used an electric arc to weld metals together. However, the process had some limitations and was not widely adopted.
- In the late 1920s, an American inventor named C.L. Coffin developed a process that used an electrode made of tungsten and a gas shield to protect the weld from contamination. This process was called Heliarc welding (a trademarked name), which later became known as TIG welding.
- During World War II, TIG welding was used by the aircraft industry to weld aluminum and magnesium alloys, which were difficult to weld using other methods. The process was also used to weld stainless steel and other exotic metals.
- After the war, TIG welding became more widely used in the aerospace industry, as well as in the automotive and other manufacturing industries. It was popular because it produced high-quality, precise welds that were free of defects and porosity.
- Over the years, TIG welding technology has continued to evolve, with improvements in power sources, welding torches, and other equipment. Today, TIG welding is widely used in a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, medical, and many others. It remains a popular choice for welding exotic metals and other materials that require a high degree of precision and control.
TIG Welding Equipments
The basic components of a TIG welding setup include a power source, a TIG torch with a tungsten electrode, a shielding gas source, and a ground clamp. When the TIG torch is triggered, the tungsten electrode produces a high-intensity electric arc that heats the metal to its melting point. As the metal melts, a filler rod is fed into the weld pool to add additional metal and strengthen the weld.
TIG welding is unique in that it uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the arc, whereas other welding processes typically use a consumable electrode. The tungsten electrode does not melt during welding, and instead remains in place to maintain the arc and provide a stable heat source. This allows for precise control of the welding process and the ability to produce high-quality welds with minimal distortion.
To protect the weld from atmospheric contamination, TIG welding uses a shielding gas such as argon or helium. The gas flows through the TIG torch and covers the weld area, preventing oxygen and other contaminants from interacting with the molten metal. The choice of shielding gas depends on the specific metal being welded and the desired characteristics of the weld.
Overall, TIG welding is a versatile and precise welding process that is often used in applications where high-quality welds are essential. Its ability to weld thin materials and produce minimal distortion makes it a popular choice in industries such as aerospace, automotive, and medical. However, TIG welding requires a higher level of skill and expertise compared to other welding processes, and can be more time-consuming and expensive due to the need for specialized equipment and shielding gas.