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Aluminium-Welding GB Course Book

42,0410,0590 012003
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction 4

Materials 8

Cracking tendency 13

Easy identification of alloys “in situ” 18

Filler metals for aluminium welding 25

Processes 32

Special features of welding aluminium wires 36

Ignition comparison 39

SynchroPuls 41

Gases 43

Weld-seam preparation 46

Weld defects and cracking sensitivity 49

Applications in the automobile industry 55

Machine settings, program table 57

Except where expressly permitted, it is prohibited to pass on or duplicate this documentation or to


commercially exploit or communicate its contents.
Any infringement hereof shall render the infringing party liable to the payment of damages. Text
and illustrations technically correct at the time of going to print.

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INTRODUCTION
Discovered from H. Davy 1808. Aluminium has been in use as a light alloy since 1880. It is
produced by electrolysis of aluminium oxide obtained from bauxite.

Areas of use
Utilisation of aluminium and its alloys instead of steel materials is becoming more and more
widespread. Aluminium is thus now found in fields such as:

• Aerospace
• Automotive industry (commercial and passenger vehicles)
• Shipbuilding
• Rail vehicle construction as well as in classical structural-steel fields such
as:
• Hall construction
• Shelving construction
• Conservatories
• Windows etc.

Energy demand: ~1950 21KW/h for 1 kg Al
~1990 13KW/h for 1 kg Al
Why ? Always 3 electrodes necessary (in comparison Mg = only one)
Compared with iron, aluminium has the following characteristic differences:
Properties Al Fe
Atomic weight (g/Mol) 26.98 55.84
Crystal lattice Cubic face-centred Cubic body-centred
Density (g/cm³) 2.70 7.87
Modulus of elasticity (Mpa) 67 . 103 210 . 103
Coefficient of expansion (1/K) 24 . 10-6 12 . 10-6
Rp0,2 (Mpa) ~10 ~100
Rm (Mpa) ~50 ~200
Specific heat (J/kg.K) ~890 ~460
Fusion heat (J/g) ~390 ~272
Fusion temperature (°C) 660 1536
Thermal conductivity (W/m.K) 235 75
Electrical conductivity (m/Ω.mm²) 38 ~10
Oxides Al2O3 FeO / Fe2O3 / Fe3O4
 Fusion temperature (°C) 2050 1400 / 1455 / 1600

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Advantages of aluminium over steel

• Lower unit-weight (ρ = 2.7 g/cm³), yet great strength (up to 450 N/mm²
possible, Al 99.5 up 65N/mm² to 80 N/mm², depends on the cold-roll
strength,
AlMg 3 ~ 200 N/mm²)
• Resistant to climatic influences
• Good toughness at sub-zero temperatures
• Good-to-very-good suitability for the production of continuous-cast profiles

The most important alloying constituents of aluminium are:

• Magnesium Mg: 0.3 – 7 %, higher strength, finer granulation

• Manganese Mn: 0.3 – 1.2 %, better corrosion resistance (salt water), higher
strength

• Copper Cu: ~ 5 %, higher strength, less corrosion resistance, important for


hardenability

• Silicon Si: 12 %, lowers the melting point down to 577 °C, but the resultant metal

structure is coarse-grained

Coarse grain: - has the lowest shrinkage dimension,

- and thus less propensity to cracking, because

- coarse grain leads to

- fewer grain boundaries

- few impediments to the slip planes

- low strength, high ductility

Fine grain: - many grain boundaries

- many impediments to the slip planes

- increase in strength

- risk of micro-cracking

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TYPES OF ALUMINIUM
Electricity industry Al 99.5 1...

• Wires for power lines

• Wires for transformers

• Cooling fins

Jewellery industry

• Decorative items

• Motor-car trims

Aircraft industry AlCu 2...

AlMn 3…

Castings AlSi 4...

• Gearbox casings

• Engine blocks*

• Cylinder heads*

• Aluminium wheel rims for cars

* with bismuth and lead, due to the short length of the


shavings created during machining

Metal sheets, tubes AlMg 5...

• Tank construction, shipbuilding

• Dumper truck tipping buckets, apparatus

• Drink can

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Profiles AlMgSi 6...

• Supporting structure

• Windows, doors, fittings

• Vehicle superstructures

Military industry AlZn 7…

• Pioneer bridge

• Armor trough

• Aeronautical

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MATERIALS
Categorisation

Non-age-hardenable wrought alloys Age-hardenable wrought alloys

AlMgSi
Sheets AlMnMg AlZnMg Profiles
AlMgMn AlCuMg
AlMn AlZnMgCu Bad corrosion
Good corrosion
AlMg AlCuMg Li* characteristic
characteristic Wrought alloys
ALU
Casting alloys

With filler metal


Without filler
weldable
metal weldable G-AlSi G-AlMgSi
G-AlMg G-AlCuTi
G-AlSiMg

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Möglichkeiten zur Verfestigung von Aluminium

1. Rolling

Methods for work-hardening aluminium

Hard with no further after-treatment

Medium-soft is back-annealed after the hard-rolling process

Soft is back-annealed for rather longer after the hard-rolling process

2. Distortion of the lattice structure by impurity metals

e.g. Li = lithium, which causes strain  distortion  high strength, but low ductility (is used
in aerospace engineering)

3. Other impediments include precipitation at the grain boundaries.

This also increases the strength. Impurity atoms diffuse at the grain boundaries.

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Functional principle of age-hardening Al alloys

Artificial ageing will also depend upon the size of the weldment.
Railway wagons are naturally aged. Why? They wouldn’t fit in a hardening furnace!

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Age-hardenable wrought alloys
Aluminium alloys with magnesium and silicon, zinc or copper (e.g. AlMgSi 1, AlZn 4.5 Mg1
etc.) can be hardened to around 450 N/mm² by means of thermal treatment.

These materials are hardened by annealing (solution-annealing), then quenched and aged.
This leads to a strength-enhancing precipitation of the alloying elements in the aluminium
microstructure. Ageing can either be performed at room temperature over the course of
several days (natural ageing) or at temperatures of between 80°C and 160°C (artificial ageing)
in a short period, e.g. 60 h at 60 °C / 24 h at 120 °C. Artificial ageing will also depend upon
the size of the weldment. Railway wagons are naturally aged. Why? They wouldn’t fit in a
hardening furnace!

As a result of welding, hardened aluminium alloys lose their hardness in the heat-
affected zone. The greater the thermal input during welding, the more the heat of welding will
reverse the original hardening. Subsequent heat-treatment can give them back their original
strength values. The alloy AlZn 4.5 Mg1 is worth mentioning here - this alloy can be restored
to its original strength values after welding simply by being naturally aged.
⇒ Practical tip: Age-hardenable wrought alloys are most often used in cases where a steel
construction is to be replaced by one made of aluminium. Multiplying by 1.4 is usual.
Nevertheless, weight savings of 40% are possible.

Non-age-hardenable wrought alloys


Non-age-hardenable aluminium materials do not harden following heat treatment. They derive
their higher strength (as against pure aluminium) from solid-solution strengthening. By
alloying with magnesium and manganese, it is possible to increase the tensile strength to
around 280N/mm².
e.g. AlMg1/ AlMg3/ AlMg 4.5 Mn.
⇒ Practical tip: These are used where corrosion resistance is required (e.g. sea-water
resistance). For sheets, vehicle construction, chequered sheets.

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Aluminium casting materials
Aluminium casting materials are obtained by additional alloying of the aluminium with silicon.
As a rule, only repair welding jobs are carried out with these casting alloys (electric arc
welding with special rod electrodes, TIG or MIG shielding gas welding). These repair welding
jobs are performed using filler metals of the same composition as the base metal, especially
where the weld must not have any characteristics that differ from the cast grain structure.
Welding filler metals for these alloys must not have a high hydrogen content. After polishing,
the colour of the weld is the same as that of the base metal. In general, the weld seam will
have a slightly different coloration after anodic oxidation (anodisation). This is particularly
noticeable in the case of Si filler materials (becomes grey, due to the superior conductivity of
AlSi).
⇒ Practical tip: Because of the low melting point, there is more rapid wetting to the
sidewalls; this in turn means a high welding speed and a clean seam appearance.

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Cracking tendency of aluminium – is dependent upon the Si, Cu and Mg content
Warning: The above alloys tend to have a higher cracking tendency  use a crater-fill
program!
Zirconium counteracts hot cracking.
Cracking propensity

Mg

0 1 2 3 4 5 % a lloying content

Greatest risk of hot cracking: In the case of Mg, between 0.5 and 2.5%
In the case of Si, between 0.3 and 1.5%

Cracks
In order to prevent hot cracks, welding is usually performed with over-alloyed filler metals.
Crater cracks occur as a result of the large shrinkage dimension of aluminium. They can be
prevented by using a run-off plate or a crater-fill program (power source must be suitable for
such a program).

Clean seam preparation (deburring, degreasing) also helps to prevent cracking.

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The relative cracking sensitivity of a material is influenced by the filler metal. The use of
suitable base-metal / filler-metal combinations can reduce the proneness to cracking.

Fig. 3: Relative cracking sensitivity of selected base-metal / filler-metal combinations of


wrought aluminium alloys.

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Hot-cracking propensity of welded AlMg4.5Mn alloys and their behaviour when
subjected to various types of loading *)

By Z. Buray, E.Buray-Milhályi, I. Huber and M. Mórotz **)

1. Introduction
The advantageous properties of AlMg4.5Mn alloys have led to their widespread use for
welded constructions. They have proved particularly suitable for use in the construction of
aircraft and chemical plant, and as containers for the transport of LNG. Developed in Hungary
in the mid-1950’s, this alloy was first used in shipbuilding [1].
When computing the design of components, there is an increasing tendency towards
exploiting the load-bearing capacity of the material to the very full. However, this requires in-
depth knowledge of the behaviour of the material when subjected to various different types of
loading. In the case of AlMg4.5Mn, difficulties occur in that most Standards and regulations
dealing with the magnesium and manganese contents of this particular alloy allow a wide
tolerance range (4.0 % to 4.9 % Mg, 0.4 % to 1 % Mn). This may lead to unforeseeable
fluctuations in the mechanical properties, and thus to an inaccurate assessment of the load-
bearing capacity. Where this material is welded, the problem is exacerbated by the
microstructural anisotropy of the seam and the heat-affected zone [2], although for the
purposes of this paper, only the statical strength values were determined. It should thus also
be expected that the varied composition of the material will also have an influence upon its
weldability.

2. Experimental programme
It was decided to investigate the effects of the above fluctuations in the magnesium and
manganese contents of AlMg4.5Mn, with regard to:
a) the base metal (statical strength, fatigue behaviour and fracture properties)
b) the weldability (influence of the composition of the base and filler metals, the welding
process and the welding parameters on the propensity to hot cracking)
c) the welded joints (statical strength, fatigue behaviour and fracture properties)

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The investigations looked at five types of alloy (Table). We report below on how the weldability
was determined, and on the behaviour of the welded joints.
Alloy Chemical composition
Mg % Mn % Cr % Fe % Si % Ti %
AlMg4Mn0,4 4,0 0,47 0,18 0,20 0,06 0,01
AlMg4Mn1,0 3,95 0,99 0,18 0,19 0,15 0,03
AlMg4,9Mn0,4 4,9 0,42 0,19 0,18 0,11 0,02
AlMg4,9Mn1,0 4,85 1,0 0,19 0,21 0,17 0,02
AlMg4,7Mn0,7 4,65 0,65 0,20 0,23 0,16 0,02
SG-AlMg3 3,5 0,46 0,03 0,34 0,11 0,02
SG-AlMg4,5Mn 5,2 0,82 0,10 0,16 0,07 0,09
SG-AlMg5 5,1 0,31 0,17 0,42 0,14 0,08

3. Determining the weldability


3.1. Test procedure
The propensity to hot-cracking was determined in the “Fish-skeleton test”. This is performed
using a self-loading specimen with a stiffness that changes (i.e. decreases) in the longitudinal
direction of the seam. The shrinkage restraint perpendicular to the seam is large at the
beginning of welding, and decreases continuously towards the end of the weld-seam. The
crack length is thus a function of the stiffness of the specimen. The crack sensitivity A1 is
computed by the equation A1 = (measured crack length / weld-seam length) x 100 %. In
order to determine the crack sensitivity of the base metal, the specimens are TIG-welded with
no filler metal. In contrast, TIG and MIG weld-seams are tested using filler metal. The
specimens were 6 mm thick. In the case of TIG-welding with filler metal, a U-shaped groove
was prepared. The welding parameters are given in next table .

Test specimen

Apron plate

Schematic diagram of the “Fish-skeleton test”

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Weld process Weld filler metal Ø Welding Welding Welding
mm parameters 1) voltage speed
Welding amperage V m/min
A
“Fish-skeleton test”
Tungsten inert gas welding - - 340...3452) 15...18 0.25
Tungsten inert gas welding SG-AlMg5 2.4 330...3402) 15...18 0.25
Metal inert gas welding SG-AlMg5 1.2 160...165 24...25 0.25
Butt-seam
Metal inert gas welding SG-AlMg3 1.6 2753) 26.33) 0.4
3)
SG-AlMg3 1.6 300 26.43) 0.8
Metal inert gas welding SG-AlMg4,5Mn 1.6 2703) 25.83) 0.4
SG-AlMg4,5Mn 1.6 2903) 26.03) 0.8
Metal inert gas welding SG-AlMg5 1.6 2603) 24.83) 0.4
SG-AlMg5 1.6 2753) 25.03) 0.8
1)
Nozzle Ø 16 mm, argon flow-rate 16 l/min. 2) Ø of thorium-oxide-containing tungsten electrode 6.3 mm
3)
Average values

Pure aluminium
This has high corrosion resistance, but low tensile strength (approx. 80 N/mm²), which can
be increased to around 130 N/mm² by cold-working. In the weld-seam zone, however, the
effects of this strain hardening are lost during welding.
e.g. pure aluminium Al 99.9 / Al 99.5
⇒ Practical tip: Best attainable seam appearance, but lowest strength.

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EASY IDENTIFICATION OF ALLOYS “IN SITU”

When mixed with water, non-metallic oxides form acids, while metallic oxides form bases. The
aqueous solutions of metallic hydroxides are known as “lyes” or “caustic solutions”.
Example:
Sulphur trioxide SO3 and water react to form a colourless liquid – sulphuric acid H2SO4:
SO3 + H2O  H2SO4

Example:
Dissolved in water, solid white sodium oxide becomes sodium hydroxide (caustic soda
solution):
Na2O + H2O  2NaOH

Caustic solution test


(Separation of the alloy with copper, zinc, nickel and silicon)
e.g. test solution 1:
Caustic soda solution 25% (sodium hydroxide + water; Na2O + H2O  2NaOH.
Let one drop of the sample solution act upon the bright surface of the test specimen for 3 to
5 minutes, then wash it off with water and absorb the drops with filter paper.

Test solution 1 helps in determining the alloying constituents of AlSi. There are 9 different test
solutions, 1 for each of the various alloying compositions.

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Al, AlMn, AlMg = no discoloration
Pure aluminium and alloys with magnesium and manganese remain
bright, the difference can only be seen from the surface hardness (e.g.
scratch test with a marking tool, Brinell hardness test). If there is no
reaction, this means that the metal in question is not an Al alloy, but
pure magnesium.

G-AlMg Si = mixture of AlMg + Si = light grey

AlCuMg, AlZnMg = black, can be wiped off


If the alloy contains copper, zinc or nickel, then a black mark is left
behind.

G-AlSi = grey, cannot be wiped off


Where the alloy has a silicon content of over 3%, and none of the
above-mentioned heavy metals, a grey mark is left behind.

The most reliable method is always a spectroscopic analysis (drilling chips are sufficient). In
Austria, this can be performed by e.g. the Rübig company in A-4614 Marchtrenk.

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Alloy designations

Numerical Alphanumerical
(DIN EN 573 T1) (DIN EN 573 TZ)

EN AW-5456A EN AW-AlMg5Mn1(A)

1 2 3 4 1 2 5 67 64

1 Standardised abbreviation
2 Base metal + form in which supplied: AW = Al wrought alloy AC = Al casting alloy
3 1st digit: series designation
2nd digit: alloy modification minimum part f.e. 1050 = 99,50
1000 + 50
4 National variant
5 Main alloying component
6 Nominal contents
7 Further alloying element

The numerical system consists of 4 digits and corresponds to the designation registered by
the Aluminium Association, USA, giving information on the main alloying element.

Alloy groups – numerical system


1000 series Al ≥99.0% Naturally hard
2000 series Main alloying element = Cu Age-hardenable
3000 series Main alloying element = Mn Naturally hard
4000 series Main alloying element = Si Naturally hard
5000 series Main alloying element = Mg Naturally hard
6000 series Main alloying element = Mg+Si Age-hardenable
7000 series Main alloying element = Zn Age-hardenable
8000 series Main alloying element = other elements f.e. Lithium

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An aluminium material is completely defined by its alloy designation and temper designation.
The latter comes after the alloy designation, from which it is separated by a hyphen.

F As fabricated
O Annealed
H Strain hardened
H1x Only strain hardened, without any additional thermal treatment
H2x Strain hardened and re-cooled; slightly improved reformability
H3x Strain hardened and stabilised
H4x Strain hardened and stove-lacquered or painted

The temper designations for age-hardenable alloys are listed below:


T1 Cooled from an elevated temperature shaping process and naturally aged to a
substantially stable condition
T2 Cooled from an elevated temperature shaping process, cold worked and naturally
aged to a substantially stable condition
T3 Solution heat-treated, cold worked and naturally aged to a substantially stable
condition
T4 Solution heat-treated and naturally aged to a substantially stable condition
T5 Cooled from an elevated temperature shaping process and then artificially aged
T6 Solution heat-treated and then artificially aged
T7 Solution heat-treated and over-aged stabilised
T8 Solution heat-treated, cold worked and then artificially aged
T9 Solution heat-treated, artificially aged and then cold worked
T10 Warm worked, solution heat-treated, cold worked, artificially aged
Tx51 Stress relieved by stretching
Tx52 Stress relieved by compressing
Legend: shaping process solution heat-treated
temp.
cold worked cold cured
stabilised warm cured

time

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Overview of comparable material designations under various systems. (Composition is not
always exactly identical).
International F GB I
DIN-symbol (to Material n°. Internat. 1) ISO Symbol to Symbol to symbol
DIN 1700) (to DIN alloy Register NF A02-004 BS, BS-L, DT (convezionale) to
17007) (AA) (R 209) D 2) UNI 3)
Al 99.98R 3.0385 (1199) A-99 1
Al 99.8 2.0285 1080A Al 99.8 A-8 1A P-AlP 99.8
Al 99.7 3.0275 1070A Al 99.7 A-7 P-AlP 99.7
Al 99.5 3.0255 1050A Al 99.5 A-5 1B P-AlP 99.5
Al 99 3.0205 1200 Al 99 A-4 1C P-AlP 99.0
AlMn 3.0515 3103 Al-Mn 1 N3 P-AlMn 1.2
AlMnCu 3.0517 3003 Al-Mn 1 Cu A-M1
AlMn 0.5 Mg 0.5 3.0505 3105 N31
AlMn 1 Mg 0.5 3.0525 3005 A-MG0.5
AlMn 1 Mg 1 3.0526 3004 A-M1 G P-AlMn 1.2 Mg
AlMg 1 3.3315 5005 Al-Mg 1 A-G0.6 N41 P-AlMg 0.9
Al Mg 1.5 3.3316 (5050A) Al-Mg 1.5 A-G1.5 P-AlMg 1.5
Al Mg 2.5 3.3524 5052 Al-Mg 2.5 5052 P-AlMg 2.5
Al Mg 3 3.3535 5754 Al-Mg 3 A-G3M (P-AlMg 3.5)
AlMg 4.5 3.3345 5082 Al-Mg 4 P-AlMg 4.4
AlMg 5 3.3355 5356A Al-Mg 5 N6 P-AlMg 5
AlMg 2 Mn 0.3 3.3525 5221 Al-Mg 2 A-G2M N4
AlMg 2 Mn 0.8 3.3527 A-G2.5MC
AlMg 2.7 Mn 3.3537 5454 Al-Mg 3 Mn A-G3MC N51
AlMg 4 Mn 3.3545 5086 A-G4MC N5/6
AlMg 4.5 Mn 3.3547 5083 AlMg 4.5 Mn A-G4.5MC N8
AlMgSi 0.5 3.3206 6060 Al-MgSi A-GS H9
AlMgSi 0.8 4) 3.2316 (6005) A-SG0.5 H10 P-AlSi 0.5 Mg
AlMgSiCu 3.3214 6061 Al-Mg 1 SiCu A-GSUC H20 P-AlMg 1 SiCu
AlMgSi 1 3.2315 6082 Al-Si 1 Mg A-SGM0.7 H30 P-AlMgSi
AlMgSiPb 3.0615 (6262) A-SGPb P-AlSi 1 MgMn
AlCuBiPb 3.1645 2011 A-U5PbBi FC1
AlCuMgPb 3.1655 (2030) A-U4Pb P-AlCu 5.5 PbBi
AlCu 2.5 Mg 0.5 3.1305 2117 Al-Cu 2 Mg A-U2G 2L69
AlCuMg 1 3.1325 2017A Al-Cu 4 Mg A-U4G H14 P-AlCu 4 MgMn
AlCuMg 2 3.1355 2024 Al-Cu 4 Mg 1 A-U4G1 2L97/98 P-AlCu 4.5 MgMn
AlCuSiMn 3.1255 2014 Al-Cu 4 SiMg A-U4SG H15 P-AlCu4.4SiMnMg
AlZn 4.5 Mg 1 5) 3.4335 7020 A-Z5G P-AlZn 5 Mg
AlZnMgCu 0.5 3.4345 (7079) A-Z4GU
AlZnMgCu 1.5 3.4365 7075 Al-Zn 6 MgCu A-Z5GU 2L95/96 P-AlZn 5.8 MgCu
1)
The International Alloy Register (International Registration Record) is kept at the Aluminium Association (AA) in Washington. Most Western
European countries, together with Australia and Japan, are changing over their designations for wrought materials to this system; France
already has changed over (NF A 02-104). The 4-digit designations not enclosed in brackets have an identical composition to DIN.
2)
In BS, the type of wrought product is indicated by a preceding code letter in the case of pure aluminium, and in the case of alloys by a
code letter inserted between “N” (non-hardenable) or “H” (hardenable) and the number: S = sheet; E = extruded product; T = tube,
drawn; F = forgings; G = wire. Example: S1C = sheet Al 99; HE30 = extruded profile made of AlMgSi1.
3)
In Italy an abbreviated mode of notation (“contressegno”) is also usual, in which the symbols for the chemical elements are reduced to
one letter: Al = A; Mn = M; Mg = G; Cu = C, Si = S; Zn = Z; Example: P-AlZn 5.8 Mg Cu is now P-A/ 5,8 GC (P- = wrought material).
4)
Extruded profiles for wagons, age-hardening. If the manufacturer supplies AlMgSi 0.8 for bent components in a naturally hardened
temper, remember that at room temperature, the material will age-harden once again on its own, to a certain extent. Practical tip: Use
immediately, otherwise the material will become too stiff. N.B.: AlMgSi0.8 not standardised (only the extruded profiles are artificially aged)
5)
Self-hardening in 1960’s automobile construction (according to Ing. Ruip)

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Overview comparing DIN EN Standards with old DIN Standards
DIN EN 573-3 Old DIN norm
Number Symbol Symbol
1098 Al99,98 Al99,98R*
1080A Al99,8(A) Al99,8
1070A Al99,7 Al99,7
1050A Al99,5 Al99,5
1200 Al99,0 Al99

1350A EA199,5(A) E-Al


2007 AlCu4PbMgMn AlCuMgPb
2011 AlCu6BiPb AlCuBiPb
2014 AlCu4SiMg AlCuSiMn
2017A AlCu4MgSi(A) AlCuMg1
2117 AlCu2,5Mg AlCu2,5Mg0,5

2024 AlCu4Mg1 AlCuMg2


3003 AlMn1Cu AlMnCu
3103 AlMn1 AlMn1
3004 AlMn1Mg1 AlMn1Mg1
3005 AlMn1Mg0,5 AlMn1Mg0,5

3105 AlMn0,5Mg0,5 AlMn0,5Mg0,5


3207 AlMn0,6 AlMn0,6
5005A AlMg1(C) AlMg1
5505 Al99,9Mg1 Al99,9Mg0,5
5305 Al99,85Mg1 Al99,85Mg1
5605 Al99,98Mg1 AlRMg1
5110 Al99,85Mg0,5 Al99,85Mg0,5

5310 Al99,98Mg0,5 AlMg0,5


5019 AlMg5 AlMg5
5049 AlMg2Mn0,8 AlMg2Mn0,8
5051A AlMg2(B) AlMg1,8
5251 AlMg2 AlMg2Mn0,3

5052 AlMg2,5 AlMg2,5


5454 AlMg3Mn AlMg2,7Mn
5754 AlMg3 AlMg3
5082 AlMg4,5 AlMg4,5
5182 AlMg4,5Mn0,4 AlMg5Mn

5083 AlMg4,5Mn0,7 AlMg4,5Mn


5086 AlMg4 AlMg4Mn
6101B EAlMgSi(B) E-AlMgSi0,5
6401 Al99,9MgSi Al99,9MgSi
6005A AlSiMg(A) AlMgSi0,7

6012 AlMgSiPb AlMgSiPb


6060 AlMgSi AlMgSi0,5

6061 AlMg1SiCu AlMg1SiCu


6082 AlSi1MgMn AlSi1MgMn
7020 AlZn4,5Mg1 AlZn4,5Mg1
7022 AlZn5Mg3Cu AlZnMgCu0,5
7072 AlZn1 AlZn1

7075 AlZn5,5MgCu AlZnMgCu1,5


8011A AlFeSi(A) AlFeSi
*) Composition is not identical with DIN EN

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DE 50 (SG-Al99,98R)* 1199 A99 - -
DE 51 SG-Al99,8 1080A A8 G1A -
DE 52 SG-Al99,5 1050A - G1B -
DE 53 SG-Al99,5Ti - - - -
DE 54 SG-AlMn1 3103 - NG3 -
DE 55 SG-AlMg2,5Mn0,8 (5049) - - -
DE 57 SG-AlMg2Mn0,8Zr
DE 56 SG-AlMg3 5754 - - -
DE 58 SG-AlMg5 5356 A-G5MC NG6 ER5356
DE 59 SG-AlSi5 4043 A-S5 NG21 ER4043
DE 60 SG-AlSi12 4047 A-S12 4047A ER4047
DE 61 SG-AlSi10Mg 4045 - -- -
DE 63 SG-AlMg4,5Mn 5183 (5556) A-G4,5MC 5183 ER5183
DE 64 SG-AlMg4,5MnZr (ER5556)
DE 65 SG-AlMg2,7Mn 5554 - NG52 ER5554
DE 67 SG-AlMg2,7MnZr
DE 68 (SG-AlSi7Mg)* - - - -
DE 76 (L-AlSi12)* - - - -

For example basic materials


2014 AlCu4SiMg 3003 AlMn1Cu
1060 Al99,6 2036 AlCu2Mg0,5 3004 AlMn1Mg1
1100 Al99,0Cu 2219 AlCu6Mn
1350A EAl99,5(A)

5101 EAlMgSi 7005 AlZn4,5Mg1,5Mn


5005 AlMg1(B) 6005 AlSiMg 7020 AlZn4,5Mg1
5050 AlMg1,5(C) 6063 AlMg0,7Si 7021 AlZn5,5Mg1,5
5052 AlMg2,5 6201 EAlMg0,7Si 7039 AlZn4Mg3
5454 AlMg3Mn 6351 AlSiMg0,5Mn 7046/7146 AlZn7Mg1
5086 AlMg4 6061 AlMg1SiCu
5083 AlMg4,5Mn0,7 6082 AlSi1MgMn
5456A AlMg5Mn1(A)
5356 AlMg5Cr(A)
For example filler metals
2319 AlCu6Mn(A) 3003 AlMn1Cu 5554 AlMg3Mn(A)
1080A Al99,8(A) 5654 AlMg3,5Cr
4043A AlSi5(A) 1050A Al99,5 5183 AlMg4,5Mn0,7(A)
4145 AlSi10Cu 1450 Al99,5Ti 5356 AlMg5Cr(A)
4047A AlSi12(A) 5556A AlMg5Mn

Standards & datasheets: - Filler metals, DIN 1732 Part 1


- Weld-seam preparation, DIN 8552 Part 1
- MIG welding of Al; Datasheets DVS 0913 and DVS 0933

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FILLER METALS FOR ALUMINIUM WELDING

DVS Datasheet 1608 lays down the strengths of the combinations, although these only apply
to artificially aged tempers.
Al99.9 S-Al99.9
Al99.8
Al99.7
Al99.5 S-Al99.5 S-Al99.5
Al99 S-Al99.5Ti S-Al99.5Ti
AlMnCu S-Al99.5Ti S-Al99.5Ti S-AlSi5
S-AlMn S-AlMn
AlMg1 S-Al99.5Ti S-Al99.5Ti S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3
AlMg1.5 S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3
AlMg1.8
AlMg2.5
AlMg3 S-Al99.5Ti S-Al99.5Ti S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3
AlMg5 S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3
AlMg2.7Mn S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3
AlMg2Mn0.3
AlMg2Mn0.8
AlMg4Mn S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3 S-AlMg5 S-AlMg5 S-AlMg5 S-AlMg5 S-AlMg4.5Mn
AlMg4.5Mn S-AlMg4.5MnS-AlMg4.5Mn S-AlMg4.5Mn
AlMg4Mn S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3 S-AlMg3 S-AlMg5 S-AlSi5
AlMg4.5Mn A-AlSi5 A-AlSi5 A-AlSi5 S-AlMg5 S-AlMg4.5Mn S-AlMg3
AlZn4.5Mg1 S-AlMg5 S-AlMg5 S-AlMg5 S-AlMg5 S-AlMg5 S-AlMg5 S-AlMg4.5Mn S-AlMg4.5Mn S-AlMg4.5Mn
S-AlMg4.5MnS-AlMg4.5Mn S-AlMg4.5Mn S-AlMg5
Al99.9 Al99.5 AlMn AlMg1 AlMg3 AlMg2.7Mn AlMg4Mn AlMgSi0.5 AlZn4.5Mg1
Al99.8 Al99 AlMnCu AlMg1.5 AlMg5 AlMg2Mn0.3 AlMg4.5Mn AlMgSi1.0
BASE METAL Al99.7 AlMg1.8 AlMg2Mn0.8
AlMg2.5

Overview table
Filler metal Available diameter Base materials
designation MIG TIG DIN-designation
SG - Al 99.5 0.8mm Al 99.5
DIN 1732 1.0mm 2.0mm Al 99
W.Nr. 3.0259 1.2mm 3.0mm Al 99.8
AWS ER 1100 1.6mm Al 99.7
AlMg 5, AlMg 3, AlMgMn, AlZnMg 1
SG - AlMg 5 0.8mm Cast alloys with magnesium as main
DIN 1732 1.0mm 2.0mm alloying-constituent.
W.Nr. 3.3556 1.2mm 3.0mm G-AlMg 3, G-AlMg 3 Si, G-AlMg 5, G-AlMg
AWS ER 5356 1.6mm 5 Si, G-AlMg 10, G-AlMg 3 (Cu), AlMgSi 1
AlSi 5, AlMgSi 0.5; AlMgSi 0.8; AlMgSi 1
SG - AlSi 5 0.8mm Pure aluminium and Al alloys whose main
DIN 1732 1.0mm 2.0mm alloying constituents account for less than
W.Nr. 3.2245 1.2mm 3.0mm 2 % by weight.
AWS ER 4043 1.6mm Al casting alloys with up to ~7% Si. With
over 7%, use AlSi 12 !

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Essentially, all weldable aluminium base materials can be processed with the above alloys.
When selecting the optimum filler metal for a particular application, it is important to choose
an alloy of the same type as the base metal wherever possible.
Remember that when the workpiece is given subsequent anodic treatment, you should never
use filler wires that contain silicon, as this would cause a dark discoloration of the weld-
seams!

The choice of the filler metal will depend on the type of base metal, having regard to the
mechanical and chemical stresses to be expected.
e.g. ICE base metal AlMgSi 0.7; filler metal AlMg 4.5Mn Zr

Filler metal Base metal


Al 99.5 Ti Al 99.8
Al 99.5
AlMn
AlMg 5 Al 99.5
AlMg 4.5 Mn
AlMg 3
AlMg 5
AlMgSi 1
AlZn 4.5 Mg
AlCuMg
AlSi 5 AlMgSi 1
AlZn 4.5 Mg
AlCuMg
G-AlSiMg
G-AlSiCu
AlSi 12 G-AlSi 12
G-AlSiMg
G-AlSiCu

Consideration should be given to the price differences obtaining between 1.0 and 1.2 mm
wire electrodes on the one hand, and 1.6 mm wires on the other. If you are working with a
high-grade pulsing power source, you can change over to the next larger diameter. Another
advantage of thicker wires is that they are easier to feed!

1.2 mm diameter wire has 44% more volume than wire of 1.0 mm diameter
• less oxidation surface and thus
• less contamination of the surface

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Treatment of the wire:
• Store at room temperature
• Should be used as immediately as possible
• After you have finished welding, repack the wire in a hermetically sealed container. (Tip:
add silica gel or rice to absorb any moisture in the container)
• Protect wire from dirt and contamination

These measures will reduce hydrogen absorption (which can lead to porosity, hot cracking,
ageing, hardness) and thus increase the quality of your welding results.

Corrosion resistance
When welding joints are made on pure aluminium and non-age-hardenable alloys, little or no
reduction takes place in their corrosion resistance. “Little or no” reduction, because in the
case of materials with a high Mg content (>3.5% Mg), the welding heat means that there will
not normally be any microstructural changes which would reduce the corrosion resistance of
these materials. In fact anodic precipitations (Al8Mg5 phase) could theoretically form at the
grain boundaries if the metal were left too long in the 100 °C – 230 °C temperature range, and
these anodic precipitations would impair the material’s resistance to intercrystalline (stress)
corrosion. However, relatively long holding times in the critical temperature range would be
needed in order to bring this about, which is why it is highly unlikely to occur in the course of
normal welding.

With many age-hardenable aluminium alloys, the highest resistance to stress corrosion is
achieved by artificial ageing or even overageing. For this reason, the corrosion resistance of
these alloys is adversely affected by the welding heat (especially in the HAZ).

Furthermore, a deterioration of corrosion resistance may also be caused by a potential


difference between the base metal and the filler metal. For example, on 7000-series materials,
a suitably influenced HAZ will react in a strongly anodic manner to the base metal and to a
5000-series filler metal. The result is an intensified local corrosion attack.

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Weldability
Material-specific peculiarities
The welding of aluminium is fundamentally different from that of steel. The melting
temperature of steel is around 1500 °C, that of aluminium around 660 °C and that of Al alloys
around 570 °C – 660 °C.
• Al 99.5: 658 °C – 659°C (almost at fusion point): The pores cannot degas in time.
• AlMg 4.5Mn: 575 °C – 640 °C (longer solidification range): The longer time period enables
the pores to degas better.
• The thermal conductivity is four times as high, necessitating high thermal input during
welding.
• Because the thermal expansion is around twice as large, increased tension and distortion
occur in the weldment.
Another problem that must be taken into account is the high-melting oxide layer (fusion
temperature around 2040 °C) which envelops the weldment and impedes welding.
Aluminium cannot become brittle, or age-harden in the heat-affected zone. On the contrary –
a loss of strength may be expected on strain-hardened and age-hardenable alloys.

Pure aluminium (Al 99.9; Al 99.5; etc.) Good weldability


Naturally hard alloys (AlMg and AlSi alloys) Good weldability
Age-hardenable alloys (AlMgSi and AlZnMg) Good weldability
AlCu (approx. 6 % Cu and Zr) AlCuMg and AlZnMgCu Only limited suitability
(approx. 1.4 – 3.0 % Cu hot cracking)

Casting alloys are basically weldable, although this will be affected by the presence and
nature of any casting defects (except in the case of die-casting).

Physical properties of common aluminium materials:


Material abbreviation Electrical conductivity Thermal conductivity Solidification range
at 20°C at 20°C °C
S m/mm² W/cm K
Al 99.5 33.5...35.5 2.26...2.29 659...658
AlMg 5 14.0...19.0 1.20...1.34 625...590
AlMg 4.5Mn 15.0...19.0 1.20...1.30 640...575
AlMgSi 0.5 26.0...35.0 2.00...2.40 650...615
AlMg 1 SiCu 23.0...26.0 1.63 640...595
AlZn 4.5 Mg 1 21.0...25.0 1.54...1.67 655...610
G-AlSi 12 17.0...26.0 1.30...1.90 580...570
G-AlSi 10 Mg 17.0...26.0 1.30...1.90 600...550

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Influence of the electrical conductivity of different wire-electrode alloys on the seam
geometry:
1 = SG-AlMg 5 2 = SG-AlSi 5 3 = SG-Al99.5 Ti
Trial:
carried out at constant
- wirefeed speed
- welding speed
- power-source settings

and with a different filler


metal in each case.

Electr. conductivity Sm*)/mm² 15...19 24...32 34...36


Welding amperage **) A 250 300 340
Welding voltage V 26 28 29

1 Sm = 1/p p= resistivity Ω/mm²


i.e.: the higher the Sm, the better the current transfer in the material.

Result:
The penetration profile depends very much on the type of filler metal that is used !

*) Siemens
**) The changes in the amperage arise as a result of the different electrical conductivities of the filler metal alloys.

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Physical properties
a.) The expansion coefficient is twice as big as with steel. This means severe distortion and
high internal stresses:
Counter-measures:
• Optimised welding sequence (Back-step): Transverse welding ahead of the
longitudinal seam
• Choice of weld process
• Transverse shrinkage should be possible (as long as possible)
b.) The thermal conductivity is 4 times as great as in steel. There is a risk of fusion defects on
thick sheets, and of gas inclusions in the melt. Attention should also be paid to the
quenching behaviour of AlZn 4.5 Mg 1.
Important: With AlZnMg alloys, traverse the 200 °C – 300 °C range as quickly as
possible!
The Rm drops from 390 N/mm²
⇒ to 350 N/mm² after 2 min
⇒ to 320 N/mm² after 6 min
⇒ to 280N/mm² after 10 min
Maintaining the temperature for too long leads to a coarse-grained microstructure = risk of
intercrystalline corrosion  Caution! Do not input too much heat

High temp.: Low temp.:


Do not overheat the metal! Loss of strength! Why?
Because the grain boundaries serve as a natural impediment to the slip planes. If the
metal becomes too hot, the grain size changes (becomes larger). For this reason, the
intergranular surface becomes smaller, there is a lack of slip-plane impediments and the
metal has lost its strength.
Alternative: Re-ageing at a later stage
Counter-measures: per DVS 1608
• Do not pre-heat to more than the recommended temperature
150 °C = 80% of the strength at room temperature
200 °C = 60% of the strength at room temperature
at 400 °C, only 10% of the strength at room temperature !

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100%

80%

60%

10%

150 200 400°C

• Use measuring apparatus:


Thermometers, thermal marker pins, thermal chalks or fluxes with the desired reaction
temperature
In-situ solution: Small piece of spruce wood (350 °C = light brown, 400 °C = brown,
450 °C dark brown, 500 °C = black)
• Use a reducing C2H2 flame

Influence of the oxide layer


The oxide layer (Al2O3) can cause fusion defects, leads to a notch effect from flushed-in oxide
particles (warning: has the same effect as slag inclusions in steel) and favours the formation
of pores, as the oxide layer is only liquid in the immediate vicinity of the MIG arc and also
solidifies immediately.
Counter-measures:
• Mechanical removal of the oxide layer (grinding, brushing, scraping)
• Chemical removal (pickling)
• Cleansing action of the arc (positive polarity)
• Fluxes (gas, electrode or submerged-arc powders, solders etc.)
• Deburring the sheets

NOTE:
The weld process influences the heat input, the cleansing action of the arc (AC) and
the energy concentration.

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PROCESSES

The decision as to which weld process to use for aluminium welding will be influenced by the
following factors:
• Quality requirements
• Cost effectiveness
• Welding position
• Type of workpiece
• Thickness of material

TIG AC welding
In TIG welding of aluminium and its alloys, AC (alternating current) is generally used. This is
necessary because the aluminium base metal (melting point approx. 550 °C – 660 °C) is
overlain by a higher-melting oxide layer (melting temperature approx. 2040 °C – 2100 °C).

This layer is removed during the plus half-wave of the AC (with reference to the torch), in order
to permit proper fusion of the base metal in the subsequent minus phase.

This periodic alternation of the welding current makes two demands of the power source:
Firstly, to ensure re-ignition of the arc after the zero crossing; and secondly, to keep the noise
emissions from the arc column as small as possible.

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Advantages:
• Controlled through-welding from one side without weld-pool backup
• Good positional weldability
• Very good weld-seam appearance
• No re-working needed

Disadvantages:
• Low welding speed
• Difficult root fusion on fillet welds
• Preheating is advisable for wall thicknesses of 8 mm and upward
• High distortion
• Relatively wide softening zones

TIG DC helium welding


TIG DC welding with a negatively poled electrode was first patented in the USA in the early
1940’s, under helium shielding gas.

The high heat concentration (70% of the arc energy is concentrated on the workpiece) quickly
creates a small, fluid weld-pool from which the oxides are forced aside by surface tension.
The surface of the seam thus mostly has a dull grey appearance. TIG welding with DC is
mostly performed in a mechanised manner.

Advantages:
• High welding speed
• Low weld reinforcement
• Low distortion
• Insignificant de-hardening in the HAZ, as there is only low thermal-input
• Low risk of porosity and fusion defects
• Deep penetration
Disadvantages:
• Required arc length must be exactly ensured
• Exact weld-seam preparation is needed

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Aluminium manual electrode (MMA) welding
The flux and arc-stabilising additives needed for MMA welding of aluminium are provided by
the coating of the melting rod electrode. Welding is performed with DC, and the workpiece is
connected to the minus pole.

As the seams welded by manual electrode welding solidify very quickly, they are heavily
infiltrated with gas inclusions and so are considerably inferior in quality to seams welded by
gas-arc welding. For this reason, manual electrode welding is irrelevant to welded structures.
It is used for repairing castings made of AlSi alloys. Electrodes are practically only available in
S-AlSi 12 and S-AlSi 5.

MIG welding
In this case, it is mainly the pulsed-arc technique that is used. Where the parameters have
been correctly selected, exactly one droplet of filler metal per pulse is detached from the wire
electrode. The result is virtually spatter-free welding.

Investigations have shown that for different filler metals and shielding gases, differentiated
pulse-forms greatly improve the welding result. Particularly in the field of aluminium, where the
thicknesses of the material are becoming ever smaller, the central requirement made of the
power source is that it should deliver a very steady arc at the lower end of the power range
(approx. 30 A). It is just as important here to be able to set a low background current as it is
to have a fast-responding arc-length regulation facility, i.e. when the wire stick-out length is
changed, the length of the arc must remain constant.
I

2 3 2 3
IKrit
IM

1 4 1 4
t

1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4

Variable pulse form

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x
x
x

Arc-length regulation

Advantages:
• Small material-thicknesses can be welded (0.8 mm)
• Wires of bigger diameter can be used (better wirefeed properties)
• Good positional weldability
• Low heat input
• Low distortion
• Fully mechanisable

Disadvantages:
• Higher incidence of porosity
• With thicker material, through-welding in PA (gravity) position tends to be
difficult without weld-pool backup
• Welding over tacks can lead to welding defects

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SPECIAL FEATURES OF WELDING ALUMINIUM WIRES

Torch equipment
• To work with soft aluminium wires, torches are needed with plastic or Teflon inner
liners and with suitable liner inserts in the torch neck.
• For aluminium wires, contact tubes of the next-larger diameter must be used.
• For pure aluminium or Si-alloyed wires, push-pull systems are advantageous

Wirefeed:
Compared to steel wires, aluminium wires are very soft. This makes very special demands of
the wirefeed arrangements, which must ensure abrasion-free wire travel.

A four-roller drive - with suitable feed rollers - will apply sufficient force to the wire that is to be
fed, even at low contact pressures. In most cases, smooth, polished semicircular-grooved
rollers are used.

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⇒ Practical tip for pressure adjustment of the contact pressure rollers
Set more pressure to the front contact pressure rollers than to the rear ones.
If you stop the wire by hand, the rollers should “slip” on the wire! The cast (the diameter of the
unreeled wire coil) should not be less than 800 mm. The wire helix (the distance one end of a
strand of wire lying on a flat surface rises off this surface) should not be more than 30 mm
NOTE:
If it is less than 800 mm
- the friction in the wire inner liner is too great (F2 motor current load test)
- the friction in the drive rollers is too great
- the friction in the contact tube is too great
- the drive rollers are out of alignment
- there is too much contact pressure on the contact pressure rollers, causing deformation
of the wire

Feed rolls:

Error: If the surface of the rollers is too rough, this will ruin the wire
As seen in: Shavings

Error: If the edges of the rollers are too sharp, this will ruin the wire
As seen in: Aluminium wool

Correct: The surface of the rollers is polished, and the edges of the rollers are
smoothed
As seen in: Perfect wirefeed is possible

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Start and end of welding in aluminium welding

Is

150%

100%

50%

Starting
Start- SOLL
COMMAND Endkrater-
current Crater-fill
Strom Schweißstrom
welding current Strom
current

0 t

Welding program for preventing lack of fusion in


aluminium at the beginning of the seam

Aluminium not only has low density, but it is also a good thermal conductor. These properties
tend to cause lack of fusion at the start of welding. To counteract this, there is a special
function (supported by the power source) which delivers higher welding power at the start of
the weld. In this way, the base metal starts to be melted even during the ignition phase. Once
sufficient heat has been inputted into the weld pool, the power is reduced to the nominal
welding power. When the heat runs ahead towards the end of the seam and there is a risk of
"drop-through", the welding power is reduced again, to a lower “crater-fill” current.
⇒ Practical tip: The start and end settings depend on the thickness of the sheet. As a
universal parameter, I-S 135% with a slope time of 1.0 second, and I-E 50%, have been found
to work very satisfactorily.
If your power source does not offer any such function, then run-on and run-off plates must be
used, as stipulated by DVS 1608.
In the welder has to interrupt the welding of the seam, he should increase the welding speed
so that the end of the seam tapers off in a wedge shape.

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The problem with ignition:
During the ignition phase, a short-circuit occurs. With conventional ignition, the amperage
may now rise to as much as 700 A during this short circuit. Due to this high amperage, the
short circuit is now resolved in an “explosive” manner, resulting in spatter around the start of
the weld.
This problem can be prevented by the Spatter Free Ignition (SFI) option.

Advantages of conventional ignition


• No push-pull drive needed
• When the ignition functions well, it permits short starting times
Disadvantages:
• No reproducible ignition
• Spatter ejection
• The thicker the wire, the higher the arc starting current.
• The high arc starting current (the highest current to occur during the entire
process) places great stresses and strains on the contact tube, resulting in
shortened contact-tube lifetime
The power source must be able to supply the current necessary for breaking open a short-
circuit bridge. This current is generally higher than the pulsing current!

SPATTER-FREE IGNITION OPTION


The Spatter Free Ignition option (SFI) enables the arc to be ignited with virtually no spatter. At
the beginning of welding, the wire is slowly fed as far as the surface of the workpiece and
stopped as soon as it touches down. Next, the welding current is activated and the wire is
retracted. Once the correct arc length has been reached, the wire starts being fed at the
wirefeed speed specified for this particular weld process.

To activate the SFI option, proceed as follows:


- Select SFI (parameter Fdc – feeder-creep) in the Set-up Menu
- Exit from the Set-up Menu
- Select the welding program

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+ Note! The Spatter Free Ignition option can only be factory-enabled via software. At
present, only Fronius push-pull wirefeed systems (Robacta Drive and Pull-
MIG), are supported.

Advantages of the Spatter Free Ignition option


• Virtually spatter-free ignition
• No undue stressing of the contact tube by high arc start currents
(= prolonged contact-tube life)
• 100% reproducible ignition
• Trouble-free ignition, even with thicker wires
• Improved wire feeding resulting from the use of a push-pull drive
• The max. short-circuit current that the power source has to deliver can be
smaller than the pulsing current (below 50 A, as against approx. 500 A with
conventional ignition)

Ignition comparison

Conventional Spatter Free Ignition

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“SYNCHRO PULS” OPTION

The “SynchroPuls” option is also recommended for welds using aluminium alloys where a
rippled appearance is desired for the weld seams, especially in the field of mechanised and
automated welding.

Mode of operation:
The SynchroPuls option involves a pulsed arc which alternates between two operating points
on a synergic characteristic line.
The two operating points result from the wirefeed speed (vD) being changed – positively and
negatively – by a value dFd (0 to 2 m/min), that can be adjusted in the Set-up Menu.

e.g:
vD = 10.0 m/min and => Operating point 1: = 8.5 m/min
dFd = 1.5 m/min Operating point 2: = 11.5 m/min

The frequency F (0.5 to 5 Hz) determines how often the alternation between the two operating
points takes place, and is also specified in the Set-up Menu
If the frequency is set to F = 0, the SynchroPuls option is switched off.

The arc-length correction for the lower of the two operating points is made via the arc-length
correction parameter (e.g. on the Jobmaster torch, wirefeeder, remote-control unit, ...)
However, the arc-length correction for the higher of the two operating points must be made in
the Set-up Menu, via the parameter “Arl”.

The graph below shows how SynchroPuls works, in this case when used with the “Aluminium
welding start-up” mode (I-S = Starting current, SL = Slope, I-E = Final current):

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Press and hold the torch trigger
Release the torch trigger

Current
Welding current

Time

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GASES FOR ALUMINIUM WELDING

Pure argon delivers a quiet, steady metal transfer, but is inferior to argon-helium mixtures in
terms of penetration intensity and safety from hydrogen-induced porosity.
Argon-helium mixtures with helium components of between 30 % and 70 % have proved
most advantageous. The most widely used mixture is one consisting of 50 % helium and
50 % argon.
The higher the helium-component, the higher the arc voltage that is needed for the same arc
length.

Shielding gases with O2 (oxygen = less porosity) and N2 (nitrogen) admixtures in the Vpm
(ppm) range have also come onto the market. O2 and N2 admixtures do not improve the
penetration behaviour, however.

Shielding gases
Argon: (l 1 to DIN 32 526 / EN 439) is the standard shielding gas for general
welding jobs.
Argon 70/He 30: (l 3 to DIN 32 526 / EN 439) is used wherever more advanced
requirements are made with regard to the porosity behaviour, as well as
for pure aluminium and larger wall thicknesses.
Argon 50/ He 50: (l 3 to DIN 32 526 / EN 439) is used wherever extremely stringent
requirements are made in respect of freedom from porosity, especially
with pure aluminium, e.g. Al 99.5 or Al 99.8, or with greater wall
thicknesses.

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The bigger the helium-component mixed with the argon, the less
the porosity

Base metal: Al 99.5, 10 mm th., closed square


butt weld
Wire electrode: S-Al 99.5 Ti, diameter 1.6 mm
Torch: 15°, leading
Wirefeed speed 8.4 m/min
Welding speed: 62 cm/min

Shielding gas consumption (with reference to argon):


• Dip-transfer arc: 12 - 15 l/min
• Spray and pulsed arc: 15 - 20 l/min

For mixed gases, the following data apply:


Shielding gas Correction factor *) Minimum flow rate
Ar 70/ He 30 1.17 20 l/min
Ar 50/ He 50 1.35 28 l/min
Ar 30/ He 70 1.70 35 l/min
100% He 3.16 40 l/min

The higher the helium content, the more degassing is facilitated (higher thermal input).
The purity and mixing accuracies correspond to DIN 32 526 / EN 439. These gases can be
used for all types of arc, and all welding power ranges. Other welding shielding gases are
available on request.
*) Gas flow rate as per read-out x Correction factor = Actual flow rate

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Penetration form
The higher the helium content, the wider (and thus flatter) the seam. The penetration is no
longer "finger-shaped", as it is with argon, but becomes rounder and deeper.
The more favourable penetration behaviour makes it easier to be sure of achieving through-
welding in the root zone, and permits higher welding speeds.

Table 5: Influence of increasing helium content in argon shielding gas


Composition of shielding gas 100% Ar________________________100%He
Arc behaviour Somewhat smoother
Seam width Increases, seam becomes flatter
Weld appearance Becomes more finely rippled, on Mg wire ⇒ greyish-
brown precipitation* ⇒ not a disadvantage
Penetration Becomes deeper and more rounded
Welding speed Can be increased
Propensity to fusion defects Decreases
Propensity to porosity Decreases
Pre-heating Can be reduced or dispensed with altogether
Temperature control Workpiece becomes hotter ⇒ must be compensated for
by higher welding speed
Shielding-gas costs Increase (but consider overall cost picture!)

* Cause: The higher the helium content, the narrower the cleaning zone becomes

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WELD-SEAM PREPARATION

Working
The very greatest cleanliness is required in the working and welding of the seam, as
otherwise its corrosion resistance may be impaired and it will tend to form pores. Work with
aluminium should take place completely separately from work with steel.

Tools that have been used for steel must not be used for aluminium. Aluminium should be
worked and stored in a dust-free, dry and splashwater-free environment. Clean clothing and
gloves are also necessary.

Aluminium is highly sensitive to notch impact (even when under static loading) and should
thus not be scribed with a sharp scribing tool or stamped with a marking punch. Usually, a
pencil is used for tracing. It is possible to straighten aluminium by pressing, hammering or
flame-straightening - still following the above rules, however. Moreover, flame-straightening
should only be carried out after consultation with the manufacturer. All these points also
particularly apply to the weld-seam preparation. If there is not to be a root gap, the root
penetration side should be chamfered.

In open-root welding, the oxide inclusions collect in the middle. Subsequent root-pass
chipping and capping, or a weld-pool back-up, are helpful measures here.

⇒ Practical tip: Brush the area around the seam first (CrNi brush) and/or degrease it (with
acetone alcohol).

Weld shapes
The shape of the weld will be largely dictated by the thickness of the material and the design
of the weldment. For fully mechanised welding, extruded profiles with an integrated pool
backing support are usual. For water-tight Y- or U-welds, the root pass should be TIG-
welded, and all other passes (to fill the groove) should be MIG-welded.

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Thickness of Shape of Wire Ø Weld current Welding speed Argon Number of
workpiece mm groove mm A cm/min consumption passes
l/min
2 II 0.8 110 80 12 1
3 II 1.0 130 75 12 1
4 II 1.2 160 70 15 1
5 II 1.2 180 70 15 1
6 II 1.6 200 65 15 1
8 V 1.6 240 60 16 2
10 V 1.6 260 60 16 2
12 V 1.6 280 55 18 2
16 V 1.6 300 50 20 3
20 V 1.6 320 50 20 3

Guideline values for manual welding:


These values will be influenced by the type of shielding gas, the material and the type of arc.

Advice on making settings


Weld-seam preparation:

Wrong: Edges not chamfered Right: Edges chamfered

Oxides not fully flushed off Oxides fully flushed off the end
the end faces – faces –
root notch good root-side drop-through

• Root notches can be prevented by chamfering the edges on the root-side of the weld.
Oxides in aluminium behave like slag in steel and must also be prevented.
• Only use a forming cutter for preparing the edges. Also, do NOT use any plastic-bound
grinding discs, even for root-preparation of the capping pass  POROSITY DEFECTS !
• Clean using ACETONE and CrNi hand brushes

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Table 1: Shapes of groove for TIG and MIG welding
Dimensions
Workpiece One or both Name Symbol Cross-sectional view of α - β Gap b Root height c Weld process
thickness “s” sides groove Degrees
[mm]
Up to 2 One side Flange- - - - TIG

weld

Up to 4 One side Edge joint - - - MIG

weld TIG

Up to 4 - 0 to 1 - TIG

2 to 4 One side Square butt - 0 to 2 - MIG

4 to 16 Both sides weld - 0 to 3 - TIG

MIG

4 to 10 90 to 100 0 to 1 TIG

One or

6 to 20 Both sides V weld 50 to 70 0 to 2 Up to 2 MIG

Over 6 One side Y weld 15 to 30 3 to 7 2 to 4 MIG

60 to 70 ~3 TIG

One or

Over 10 Both side Y weld 50 to 70 0 to 4 2 to 6 MIG

Over 10 One side U weld Up to 10 0 to 1 2 to 4 MIG

Over 10 Both side Double 50 to 70 0 to 2 3 to 4 MIG

Y weld

Remember that larger weld preparation angles are needed on aluminium than on steel!
Due to the melting point, root-welds on pure aluminium are more difficult to manage – keep
the arc on the root face !

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WELD DEFECTS

Consequences of inadequate gas shielding


Insufficient shielding of the weld pool leads to reactions between the air and the weld pool,
and to porous welds with inadequate stability.

Fault:
Draughts (e.g. out on construction
Air
Air Air sites) interfere with
Air
the shielding gas coverage

Consequence:
Insufficient gas shielding, pore-
formation in the weld-seam

The main cause of pores in aluminium is the inclusion of hydrogen and nitrogen (from 0.5%
N2 upwards => high susceptibility to pore-formation).

Sources of hydrogen:
• Damp or dirty weld region
• Damp or dirty filler metal
• Hydrogen in the filler metal
• Leaky torch system
• Blown-in air
• Unstable arc
• Damp shielding gas due to the use of the wrong quality of hose or to a leaky system

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Fusion defects
Only the arc (not the weld-pool) has sufficient energy to fuse the groove face and create a
stable join.

Other influential criteria


• Thermal input
• Electrical conductivity of the wire electrode
• Characteristic curve in the control response of the power source
• Type of arc
• Composition of shielding gas

If fusion defects are to be prevented, then, the seam to be welded must be expertly prepared
and worked.

The following mistakes can be made here:

Weld preparation angle is too small


Correct: 60° to 70°

Root-face height is too great


Root opening gap is too large

Edge misalignment is too great

Overwelding of strongly reinforced beads


Correct: Before overwelding, grind the
bottom bead so that this is trough-shaped

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Attachment fusion defect when welding at low arc power;
attachment point not ground;
not welded with sufficient overlap.
Correct: Grind end of seam, ignite before the end of the
seam and continue welding.

Fusion defects may occur when the arc is prevented from reaching the weld edges, or the
already-welded pass, by the weld pool running ahead.

Welding speed is too Welding in the PG position Excessively “pushing”


low or deposition rate is (vertical-down). The torch angle.
too high. Do not weld deposition rate must be
over-thick beads! limited. Do not weld too
slowly!

Pores remain in the weld pool. With


vertical-up (PF) welds, better
degasification is needed!

If the torch position is incorrect, the arc fuses the weld-edges on one side only.
This results in fusion defects, and thus in unstable joins.

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The torch is not being The torch is being inclined Faulty torch position caused by
held over the middle. too much towards one restricted accessibility
weld edge.

Oxide inclusions
A small quantity of oxides is necessary for the stability of the arc. However, too much will
cause oxide inclusions, which can become the starting points of cracks when subjected to
dynamic loading.

Preheating table

Preheating
Preheating is necessary in situations where the high thermal conductivity of aluminium makes
it difficult or impossible to achieve sufficient penetration. Make sure that the oxide layer on the
weld edges does not grow to become too thick as a result of over-long preheating times or of
excessive O2 in the fuel gas. Attention should also be paid to the influence of the preheating
temperature and time on the properties of the material, especially with age-hardenable alloys
and cold-worked materials with a high Mg content.

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Guideline values for the preheating temperatures and times for welding wrought aluminium
alloys.

Material Thickness range of sheet or wall, in mm Max. preheating Max. preheating


temp. time
°C min
TIG MIG
AlMgSi 0,5 ≥ 5 to 12 180 60
AlMgSi 1 (>12) >20 200 30
AlMgSi 0,7 220 20
250 10
AlZn4,5Mg1 1) ≥ 4 to 12 140 30
(>12) >16 160 20
AlMg 4,5Mn ≥ 6 to 12 >16 150 to 200 10
AlMg 3 2) (>12)
1)
Prolonged dwell-times at temperatures of between 200 °C and 300 °C lower the alloy’s ability to self-harden.
2)
Care is needed with this alloy due to its susceptibility to intergranular corrosion!

Types of preheating torch for use on steel: With aluminium, always use the next-larger size of
torch!

Type of preheating torch Oxygen consumption Workpiece thickness


L/h mm
Single-flame torches
Size 2 160 <15
Size 4 500 <15
Size 5 800 <15
Size 6 1250 <15
Size 8 2500 <40
Size 10 4000 <40
Multi-flame torches
Size 9 4000 30...100
Size 11 7500 30...100
Torches with flame selection
3 or 2 flames, size 3 1000 5...30
5 or 2 flames, size 3 1500 5...30
3 or 2 flames, size 4 1500 30...60
5 or 2 flames, size 4 2500 30...60
Special torches >60

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A good method of roughly estimating the temperature of the spot under the torch flame is to
observe the incandescent colours of the materials. If these are not manifesting any
incandescent colours, or if these colours have not yet appeared, or not appeared sufficiently
clearly, then the rough temperature estimate can often be made with sufficient accuracy in
practice by briefly rubbing various agents across the surface. The residues on the heated
surface will then discolour differently in different temperature ranges. This procedure has long
been used with aluminium materials, for example.
When rubbed across a hot surface, a small piece of spruce wood will leave behind a light
brown mark at 350 °C, a brown one at 400 °C, a dark brown one at 450 °C and a black one at
500 °C.
A more finally gradated, and more accurate, method of determining the temperature in the 65
°C – 670 °C range is by using coloured chalks. In this case, too, the temperatures are
indicated by colour changes, as set out in the table below:

Colour n° Initial colour changes to: at a temperature of (°C):


2815/ 65 Pink Blue 65
2815/ 75 Pink Blueish-green 75
2815/100 Pink Blue 100
2815/120 Light green Blue 120
2815/150 Green Mauve 150
2815/175 Mauve Blue 175
2815/200 Blue Black 200
2815/220 White Yellow 220
2815/280 Green Black 280
2815/300 Green Brown 300
2815/320 Green White 320
2815/350 Yellow Reddish-brown 350
2815/375 Pink Black 375
2815/420 White Brown 420
2815/450 Pink Black 450
2815/500 Brown Black 500
2815/600 Blue White 600
2815/670 Green White 670
Practical tip: For more exact temperature measurement,
measuring apparatus with a display is required.

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APPLICATIONS IN THE AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY
AUDI A2

AUDI A8

BMW FERRARI

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ALFA

LANCIA

Bibliography:
DIN 17007 / SLV Duisburg GmbH
Deutscher Verband for Schweisstechnik (German Welding Society):
Gas-shielded metal arc welding
Linde publication: Gas-shielded arc welding of aluminium
Oerlikon Zusatzwerkstoffe
Alcotec
Aluminium Pocketbook (Publisher: Düsseldorf Aluminium Centre)
www.audi.com
www.lancia.com
www.alfaromeo.com

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Program Table Variostar 317
Aluminium AlMg5 Ø1,0
Setting voltage stages and WFS

Wirefeed speeds and deposition rates in MIG welding (according to Messrs. Linde,
Höllriegelskreuth, Germany)

 wirefeed speed in m/min


 deposition rate in kg/h

 amperage [= (+) ] in A

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Extract from the TPS special-program list

Program Type of wire Gas Base material


0209 Al99,5 100% Ar Al99,5
0176 Alloy 2319 Al 70% Ar 30% He Al99,5
0362 AlMg4,5Mn 100% Ar AlMg3
0556 AlMg4,5MnZr 100% Ar AlMg3
0145 AlMg5 100% Ar AlMg3
0288 AlSi12 100% Ar AlMgSi
0510 AlSi5 100% Ar Al Guß
0557 AlMg4,5MnZr 70% Ar 30% He AlMg3
0222 AlMg4,5Mn 50% Ar 50% He AlMg3
0443 AlMg4,5Mn 25% Ar 75% He AlMg3
0487 Alloy 2319 Al 15% Ar 85% He Al 1201
0481 Alloy 2319 Al 100% He Al 1201
0247 AlSi5 100% Ar AlMgSi1
0307 AlSi5 50% Ar 50% He AlMg3
0109 AlSi5 100% Ar Al99,5

This list is continually updated – for more detailed information, please contact your Fronius
technician.

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