Heliarc Welding History
Prior 1941, the ability to properly weld porous metals such as aluminum was extremely difficult. Aluminum and similar metals react with air, and the resulting welds were filled with impurities. Although a better method using inert gases from bottles was discovered sometime in the 1930′s, it wasn’t until 1941 when the discovery improved with the idea of using alternating currents to stabilize the arc for practical application in the field that it became widely used. The method is referred to as both heliarc and tungsten inert gas welding, and can be described as a gas shielded welding process with direct current.
Heliarc Welding: The Early Years
During the early years of heliarc welding helium was used as the shielding gas. Now, a mix of gases is more common. Heliarc welding works by having an inert gas flow through a torch and around an arc as the arc heats up. By melting the first metal, the gas then shields the arc and prevents oxidation and impurities. Heliarc welding is the only type of welding that works well with multiple alloys and can be used to create many more types of products than other welding processes. Space vehicles, repairing tools and dies, and creating bicycle tubes all use the heliarc method to get the best weld possible.