TIG welding quality significantly depends on the selection of appropriate welding gas. The best TIG welding gas gives excellent strength and appearance to the welded material. It ensures flawless welding and helps the welders to convert simple metal pieces into art. You can significantly control several welding factors, such as arc stability, heat control, and weld penetration, by choosing an appropriate gas.
If you are confused about selecting a suitable gas for TIG welding, this article is for you. Whether a beginner or a professional, this comprehensive guide is worth reading to broaden your knowledge about choosing the best TIG welding gas.
What is TIG Welding Gas?
TIG welding or shielding gas is an important component of the TIG welding process. It has multiple functions in welding. Shielding gas protects the molten weld pool from contamination. It helps stabilise the welding arc, which is essential for professional and flawless welding.
Heat plays an essential role in TIG welding. Shielding gas also helps control heat input to improve the welding process. The choice of shielding gas for TIG welding depends on two factors. Firstly, it depends on the welded material and desired weld characteristics.
Why is TIG Welding Gas Important?
The right choice of TIG welding gas is important for clean welding. It prevents oxidation and porosity that gives an excellent appearance to the welded joint. It also contributes to the overall strength of the weld joint.
TIG welding gas shields the welding zone from contaminations and prevent it from coming in direct contact with harmful gases like oxygen and nitrogen. These gases react with the metal and can distort its shine by corroding it.
Common TIG Welding Gases and Their Uses
Three commonly used welding gases can be used for almost all kinds of welding, such as MIG and stick welding. It doesn’t mean that all these gases have similar characteristics. Each shielding gas is best in its way and provides only certain unique characteristics to the material. It means it is important for you to choose the best TIG welding gas according to your requirements.
Following is the detail of common TIG welding gases:
Argon is an inert gas and has excellent shielding properties due to which it is the most commonly used TIG welding gas. It is non-reactive and highly stable gas. These properties make argon a versatile shielding gas; that is, it can be used for multiple materials that, include stainless steel, carbon steel, and aluminum.
Argon provides excellent weld penetration. You can use this gas for welding hard materials that need excessive penetration. It also provides good arc stability, so this TIG welding gas can be used to create metal art. Apart from this, argon is also excellent at controlling heat during welding. It is also known as the best MIG welding gas.
Helium is another shielding gas that has inert properties and is famous for its stability. Certain applications in TIG welding require specific characteristics. In such applications, mixing argon with helium offers specific advantages. Mixing helium with argon increases the heat input, weld speed, and overall productivity.
If you will weld a thicker material that needs deeper penetration and faster travel speed, nothing is more suitable than using an argon-helium mixture as your TIG welding gas. This mixture is specifically used for welding nickel alloys, titanium, and in certain situations, for welding stainless steel.
Helium is a lighter gas than air and the most stable one. It is commonly used as standalone shielding gas or as a mixture component. It provides the highest heat conductivity of all other shielding gases. Thus, it is an ideal TIG welding gas for welding materials that require high input energy, like aluminum and copper.
Helium helps in increasing the welding speed. It promotes deeper penetration and improves travel rates. So, if you are dealing with a material that needs deeper penetration and high temperature to be welded, helium can be the best solution.
TIG Welding Gas for Specific Materials
We have discussed the commonly used shielding gases. Now is the time to make some recommendations for you and suggest the best TIG welding gas for a specific material. Let’s dive in.
TIG Welding Stainless Steel
If you have to weld a stainless-steel material, then argon is the primary choice of shielding gas for you. Stainless steel is a corrosion-resistant material; argon helps maintain its integrity by preventing oxidation of the material. Argon is also helpful in creating a more stable and smoother arc. it helps in clean and aesthetically pleasing welds.
TIG Welding Aluminum
Aluminum is highly reactive with oxygen, so its welding requires a gas that shields it from environmental oxygen. Here comes argon shielding gas that shields aluminum from the formation of oxides when used in its pure form. This provides essential protection and precise control over the welding arc. It also ensures high-quality welding with minimal porosity. Also, you can choose the best TIG welders for aluminum by reading this article: Best TIG Welder for Aluminum
TIG Welding Steel
If you want to mild weld the steel material, argon is standard shielding gas. It helps in clean welding and allows strong welds. We often use a mixture of argon and carbon dioxide to improve the weld pool’s arc stability and wetting characteristics.
TIG Welding Aluminum-Steel Combination
If you are welding aluminum to steel, a combination of argon and helium is recommended. This combination of different shielding gases helps overcome the challenges caused by dissimilar materials. This also provides the required penetration and bonding strength to weld. The exact ratio of argon to helium varies for specific applications and desired results.
You must consider several factors when choosing a shielding gas for TIG welding. These considerations ensure that you have chosen the most suitable TIG welding gas for your project. Here are some important factors to consider:
First of all, consider the material that you need to weld. Different metals require different shielding gases to weld to achieve optimal results. For example, in stainless steel, carbon steel, and other non-ferrous metals, every metal has its own compatibility with specific gases.
Therefore, make sure that you choose the perfect suitable gas for your material to prevent oxidation and maintain proper fusion while preserving the mechanical properties of the weld joint.
Welding Application and Requirements
Another factor you should consider while buying shielding gas is the applications and requirements of the weld joint. Consider different factors, such as specific industry requirements or code that should be met, the type of project you will work on, and the thickness of the material.
Different gases provide varying levels of heat input and penetration depth. Therefore, ensure the chosen shielding gas aligns with your welding application demands.
Gas Purity and Composition
Determine if you require a pure gas or a combination of gas for your welding pool. Gaes like helium and argon are useful for several welding applications, but sometimes we use a mixture of these gases for particular applications. Understand your specific requirements of the welding project and decide if pure gas or a mixture of gas is an important option for you.
Gas Supplier and Quality
Select only reputable gas suppliers who ensure you provide high-quality shielding gases. For this, check the track record of suppliers with a track record of reliability and adherence to industry standards. Also, ensure that the gas you have purchased is pure and contains no impurities. Impure gases negatively impact the quality of the welding process. Research as much as possible and consult with experts to find a trusted supplier.
Cost and Availability
Another important factor is the cost and availability of different shielding gas options. The price of a shielding gas depends on factors such as purity, composition, and market demands.
To choose a perfectly appropriate gas, you should assess your project budget. Determine the feasibility of acquiring the required gases. Also, ensure that the gas you have selected for your projects is readily available and accessible without any interruptions in welding operations.
Cylinder Size and Rental
You should also evaluate cylinder size options and the supplier’s rental agreements. First of all, consider the volume of your welding work. Then choose a cylinder that provides the required gas supply without excessive waste or frequent refills.
Rental agreements for cylinders vary in duration, fees, and return policies. Therefore, inquire about this before buying the gas and opt for an agreement that perfectly aligns with your project requirements and timelines.
Expert Recommendations and Guidelines
While considering all the factors for purchasing the best TIG welding gas, consider consulting with welding experts and professionals for recommendations. You can get valuable insights from them. Thus, you can make a more informed decision of choosing an appropriate shielding gas that aligns with industry practices.
Safety Measures for Handling TIG Welding Gas
TIG welding gas has the potential for certain safety risks. Therefore, you must follow specific safety measures to protect yourself and the environment. Following are some essential safety measures that you should consider while handling TIG welding gas:
Take care of the ventilation of the welding area, as it is important to prevent the accumulation of fumes and harmful gases. Helium and argon are heavier than air and can potentially replace oxygen. When your welding area is not ventilated, then these gases can cause suffocation. On the other hand, if you work in an open or well-ventilated area, you can protect yourself from suffocation as sufficient oxygen level remains.
Handling of Gas Cylinder
You should handle gas cylinders carefully to prevent certain damages and accidents. Here are some guidelines that you can follow:
Gas leaks are harmful and can cause irreversible damage. Therefore, we recommend you check the gas leaks before and during welding. TIG welding gas leakage increases the risk of fire as well as explosion. You can use the following ways to detection of leaks:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Your safety is more important. Therefore, always wear suitable personal protective equipment to safeguard yourself from the harm of TIG welding operation. This can include the following measures:
Welding is a process that involves heat and gas, and there are high risks of fire. Therefore, taking measures to prevent fire during the TIG welding process is important. Here are some measures that you can take:
Always keep yourself prepared for emergencies that can be aroused during welding operations. Have a solid plan to handle this. You can follow the below-given plan:
Choosing the best TIG welding gas for your particular welding operation is important. We have discussed all the parameters you should consider when purchasing TIG welding gas. Reading this guide, you are also aware of the commonly used TIG welding gases. We hope you can make your best choice according to your requirements.
The game doesn’t end here. You have to get proper knowledge of handling the TIG welding machine. Although we also have discussed safety precautions in detail, it’s up to you to practice and train yourself with these steps. Have a safe welding journey! We wish you good luck.