Shielding gas plays a crucial role in TIG weld. But there are situations where gas is unavailable for TIG weld. In such cases, one question arises, “can you TIG weld without gas?”
Gasless TIG shouldn’t be applied regardless of the project type, and doing so will lead human, environmental, and property safety at risk. Moreover, if you weld without inert gas, surrounding air significantly degrades the weld’s mechanical properties, including strength and toughness.
This brief guide discusses the importance of inert gas in TIG weld and what gas suits it. Continue reading.
What is the Purpose of Gas in TIG Welding?
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Before answering whether or not to use inert gas in TIG welding, let’s learn the reason for using gas in TIG welding.
Inert gas plays an incredible role in TIG welding. The prime responsibility of shielding gas is to create an obstruction against atmospheric contaminants, including humidity and oxygen. They can enter the liquid material of the weld pool. Thus, weld quality gets affected.
Moreover, the weld zone is protected from incredible high temperatures close to the electrode tip due to the gas.
Furthermore, TIG weld increases metal weldability by steadying the arc joints between the welded metal and welder. At the same time, the weld pool doesn’t spit molten materials on your hands, gloves, and ground when the correct gas type is used.
Can You TIG Weld without Gas?
The straightforward answer is TIG weld is quite impossible without shielding gas.
Inert gas is mandatory, protecting the weld pool and tungsten electrode from different weather impurities. Besides, the gas cools down most TIG welder’s touches. It means that not using inert gas means you are increasing the chance of burning out the torch.
Theoretically, TIG weld is possible without inert gas, but you are exposing the tungsten electrode to oxygen, so it would turn black or burn quickly.
Therefore, you will need gas to TIG weld perfectly. read more information
What Gas is Ideal for TIG Welding?
Your tungsten electrode can be affected if you choose the wrong gas. For this, it is mandatory to use the correct shielding gas. The below gasses are ideal for TIG welding.
Argon: Argon is the most commonly used gas for GTAW or TIG due to its versatility. It is completely inert and doesn’t react with other substances.
This gas will help you weld a wide range of materials: aluminum, stainless steel, steel, etc. When TIG weld is done using 100% Argon, the weld pool will be protected from oxidation and nitrogen absorption. You can use pure argon regardless of the materials.
Characteristically, argon is heavier than air. As a result, it needs a low flow rate. Also, argon ionizes easily, delivering a stable electric arc. Moreover, it offers a narrow arc cone that, combined with narrow penetration, gives you more precise welding.
Helium: This inert gas type can be blended with argon to improve weld quality and penetration. Since the thermal conductivity of argon is poor, the amount of helium should be controlled to get a better heat transfer when added to argon.
Helium is lighter compared to air and requires a high flow rate. It means the more helium you use while welding, the less economical it will be. It doesn’t get ionized easily; a higher voltage is necessary to start the arc. Besides, the start is less stable, causing a spatter when welding some materials.
The good thing is the thermal conductivity of helium is high. As a result, when combined with argon, the drawbacks of helium are outweighed by the benefits.
Some other shielding gasses are neon, krypton, xenon, etc., but these shouldn’t be used for GTAW. The reason is they are expensive and pretty rare to find.
In addition, you can use oxygen and carbon dioxide; these need to be mixed with Argon.
Mix not more than 5% oxygen with argon and use it for TIG welding. The mixture ratio of carbon dioxide is similar to oxygen. More % will create different complications like fumes, unstable weld, trapped bubbles inside the weld, etc.
Are MIG and TIG Welding Uses the Same Gas?
Although MIG and TIG use the same gas argon and helium for welding but different purposes. Also, a 100% argon mix is not ideal for MIG since it affects arc stability and thermal conductivity, damaging the final weld quality.
MIG weld delivers a good outcome when mixed with 15% CO2 and 85% argon. The welding result will be aesthetically appealing due to the mixture of Argon-CO2. At the same time, the post-welding cleaning process gets reduced and produces a bit of molten splatter.
On the other hand, TIG weld creates good and clean joints by using Argon. Helium is also an ideal gas for TIG weld, but a good result is confirmed with Argon.
Does TIG Welding Use More Gas than MIG Welding?
The most important thing is how much gas both TIG and MIG weld use. Learning whether more or less gas required for TIG weld than MIG weld in unnecessary.
How long a MIG or TIG welder’s gas will last depends entirely on the gas cylinder’s regulating flow rate. Here, operator sets the flow rate.
The gas flow rate of both TIG and MIG is 10 – 40 cubic feet/hour. It can vary as operators have to adjust it according to the requirement of the job.
What happens if I TIG weld without gas?
If you TIG weld without shielding gas, the below consequences will occur
- Tungsten will burn
- The weld will contaminate
- You won’t get any penetration into the welded metals
Do you need gas to TIG weld aluminum?
Argon is the necessary shielding gas to TIG weld aluminum. This inert gas removes oxide formation to give a clean surface.
So, onto my title question, can you TIG weld without gas?
No, you mustn’t TIG weld without gas because inert gas plays a crucial role in TIG wel. Gasless TIG weld will give you poor welding results. More importantly, the required penetration will not be achieved without gas. If you are wondering what shielding gas to use, choose 100% argon to get the expected weld result.