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Effect of Helium-Argon Mixtures on the Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow in Gas Tungsten Arc Welding

Authors: F. Roger, A. Traidia, A. Chidley, J. Schroeder, T. Marlaud


A transient finite element model has been developed to study the heat transfer and fluid flow during spot Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) on stainless steel. Temperature field, fluid velocity and electromagnetic fields are computed inside the cathode, arc-plasma and anode using a unified MHD formulation. The developed model is then used to study the influence of different helium-argon gas mixtures on both the energy transferred to the workpiece and the time evolution of the weld pool dimensions. It is found that the addition of helium to argon increases the heat flux density on the weld axis by a factor that can reach 6.5. This induces an increase in the weld pool depth by a factor of 3. It is also found that the addition of only 10% of argon to helium decreases considerably the weld pool depth, which is due to the electrical conductivity of the mixture that increases significantly when argon is added to helium.

Keywords: Thermal plasmas, fluid flow, GTAW, Marangoni effect, Shielding Gases

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