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Cleaning Metal for Welding

Cleaning Metal for Welding

Prior to the welding operation, metal pieces are usually formed, machined, sheared, or sawed. For the highest-quality welds, complete removal of all lubricants from these operations is a necessity. Particular attention must be paid in order to remove all oil, other hydrocarbons, and loose particles from sawed or seared edges prior to welding. Edges should be clean and smooth – not ragged. Tp make the cleaning process easier, lubricants used in fabrication should be removed as soon as possible.

To keep welds from becoming porous - as well as reduce dross - it is so important to clean welding surfaces.  Hydrogen can cause porosity, and oxygen can cause dross in welds. Oxides, greases, and oil films contain oxygen and hydrogen that will cause unsound welds with poor mechanical and electrical properties, if left on the edges to be welded. Cleaning should be done just prior to welding.

See chart below for general cleaning procedures:

CLEANING ALUMINUM SURFACES FOR WELDING:
Common Methods

Type of Cleaning
Compounds
Removed
 
Welding Surfaces Only
Complete Piece

Oil, grease,
moisture, and
dust. (Use any
method listed.)

  • Wipe with mild alkaline solution.
  • Wipe with hydrocarbon solvent,
    such as acetone or alcohol.
  • Wipe with proprietary solvents.
  • Dip edges, using any of above.
  • Vapor degrease.
  • Spray degrease.
  • Steam degrease.
  • Immerse in alkaline solvent.
  • Immerse in proprietary solvents.
Oxides
(Use any method
listed.)
  • Dip edge in strong alkaline
    solution, then water, then
    nitric acid. Finish with water rinse.
  • Wipe with proprietary deoxidizers.
  • Remove mechanically, such as by
    wire-brushing, filing, or
    grinding. For critical applications,
    scrape all joints and
    adjacent surfaces immediately
    prior to welding.
  • Immerse in strong alkaline
    solution, then water, then
    nitric acid. Finish with water rinse.
  • Immerse in proprietary solutions.

Info courtesy of Eastood.com