Aluminium is a marvellous material. It’s extremely strong yet lightweight and has a range of handy applications in just about everything, from sports to construction to electrical technology. Like other metals, however, aluminium requires machining and welding to shape it for the right applications. While there are various ways to weld aluminium, there are several arc-welding techniques that are commonly used. Let us take a look at some of them here.
Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
As a fairly universal welding method, Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) is used for welding nonferrous metals such as aluminium and magnesium, as well as stainless steel and a variety of other metals ‒ except for zinc and zinc-alloys. Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding, another name for the GTAW method, uses a shielding gas and tungsten non-consumable electrode, which is fed into the welding pool via a supply line. TIG is a strong and ductile arc welding technique. It is corrosion-resistant and can be used for a variety of joint designs, owing to flux not being needed. However, it is not generally suited for thicker materials.
Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
Gas Metal Arc Welding, also called Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding, uses a solid and continuously-fed wire electrode and shielding gas to weld the required area through the use of a welding gun or hand-held torch. This then allows the base materials to be melted together to form a join. The wire electrode also acts as the filler material in the weld.
MIG welding is generally considered a very versatile and easy-to-learn welding technique, and while it is excellent for welding thinner materials, it can also be used on thicker materials. Using this method, a variety of metals can be welded, including aluminium, stainless steel, carbon steel, nickel, bronze, copper and more.
Arc welding can create some of the strongest bonds and finishes because it uses sheer heat from an electric arc to fuse metals together. While this method is fast and capable of producing some of the best results, it is also a little more difficult to master than TIG or MIG welding as it requires a fair amount of skill and experience to do well.