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Atomic hydrogen welding (AHW)

1. The electric arc produced in the process efficiently breaks up the molecules of hydrogen
that later recombine through an extreme release of heat.
2. Atomic hydrogen welding (AHW) is an arc welding process that makes use of an arc
between two tungsten metal electrodes within an atmosphere composed of hydrogen.
Shielding is obtained from the hydrogen.
3. Equipments and Parameters required in AHW
 Filler rod if needed.
 300 V AC power supply machine with controller.
 Electrode holder or torch.
 Hydrogen gas cylinder with regulator and hose.
 2 tungsten electrodes.
4. The work pieces are cleaned to remove dirt, oxides and other impurities to obtain a sound
weld. Hydrogen gas supply and welding current are switched ON.
5. A transformer with an open circuit voltage of 300 volts is required to strike and maintain
the arc.
6. AC power source is suitable compared to DC, because equal amount of heat will be
available at both the electrodes.
7. Recombination takes place as the atomic hydrogen touches the cold work piece liberating
a large amount of heat. H + H = H2 + 422 KJ (Exothermic reaction)
8. As the jet of hydrogen gas passes through the electric arc, it disassociates into atomic
hydrogen by absorbing large amounts of heat supplied by the electric arc. H2 = H + H –
422KJ (endothermic reaction)
9. An arc is stuck by bringing the two tungsten electrodes in contact with each other and
instantaneously separated by a small distance, say 1.5 mm, such that the arc still remains
between the two electrodes.

Advantages of AHW

Welding is faster

Separate flux / shielding gas is not required. The hydrogen envelop itself prevents oxidation of the
metal and the tungsten electrode.

Work piece do not form a part of the electric circuit. Hence, problems like striking the arc and
maintaining the arc column are eliminated.

Intense flame is obtained which can be concentrated at the joint. Hence, less distortion.


Hydrogen is highly inflammable gas so it should be taken care.

Due to advances in inert gases AHW may be limited.

Skilled welder is required.

Because of the high levels of heat produced in this welding process, welders need to be even more
aware of the dangers they are exposed to.

Welding is limited to flat positions only

Cost of welding by this process is slightly higher than with the other process.

Applications of AHW

Can be applied almost to any metal, especially in light gauge metal, special ferrous alloys, and most
non ferrous metals and alloys.

For thick as well as thin sheets or small diameter wires (2-10mm).

For most of the ferrous and non ferrous metals.

Atomic hydrogen welding is used in those applications where rapid welding is necessary, as for
stainless steels and other special alloys.