Influencing the arc and the mechanical properties of the weld metal in GMA-welding processes by additive elements on the wire electrode surface
Under the premise of an increasing scarcity of raw materials and increasing demands on construction materials, the mechanical properties of steels and its joints are gaining highly important. In particular high- and highest-strength steels are getting in the focus of the research and the manufacturing industry. To the same extent, the requirements for filler metals are increasing as well. At present, these low-alloy materials are protected by a copper coating (<1µm) against corrosion. In addition, the coating realizes a good ohmic contact and good sliding properties between the welding machine and the wire during the welding process. By exchanging the copper with other elements it should be possible to change the mechanical properties of the weld metal and the arc stability during gas metal arc welding processes and keep the basic functions of the coating nearly untouched. On a laboratory scale solid wire electrodes with coatings of various elements and compounds such as titanium oxide were made and processed with a Gas Metal Arc Welding process. During the processing a different process behavior between the wire electrodes, coated and original, could be observed. The influences ranges from greater/shorter arc-length over increasing/decreasing droplets to larger/smaller arc foot point. Furthermore, the weld metal of the coated electrodes has significantly different mechanical and technological characteristics as the weld metal from the copper coated ground wire. The yield strength and tensile strength can be increased by up to 50 %. In addition, the chemical composition of the weld metal was influenced by the application of coatings with layer thicknesses to 15 microns in the lower percentage range (up to about 3 %). Another effect of the coating is a modified penetration. The normally occurring “argon finger” can be suppressed or enhanced by the choice of the coating. With the help of the presented studies it will be shown that Gas Metal Arc Welding processes are significantly affected by thin film coatings on solid wire electrodes for Gas Metal Arc welding. The influences are regarding the stability of the arc, the properties of the weld metal in terms of geometric expression, chemical composition and mechanical properties, the composition of the arc-plasma and the dynamics of the molten metal.