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Tips and Guidelines to Follow When Welding Steel

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Steel is one of the most popular metals used in the fabrication of tools for home and professional use. It is popular because of its durability, flexibility and high yield point. Several methods are used to fabricate steel. One of the most common ways to join steel is through welding. However, unlike other metals, steel is quite challenging to weld, especially for beginners. However, steel isn't completely impossible to weld. Here are tips and tricks to help you understand different types of steel and how they should be welded.

Austenitic Steels

Austenitic steels are the non-magnetic steels. They contain chromium and nickel in high concentrations and are low in carbon. Three qualities determine whether a metal will be easy to weld or not. The first is the melting temperature, the second is the coefficient of thermal conductivity and the last is the coefficient of thermal expansion. Austenitic steels are popular because they are the least affected by corrosion and rusting. Generally, austenitic steels are easy to weld because they have all the three qualities that make a metal weldable. They have a low melting temperature, low coefficient of thermal conductivity and a higher coefficient of thermal expansion. However, type 303 is a little hard to weld because it contains Sulphur or selenium.

Ferritic Steels

Ferritic steels have a high chromium content. They are magnetic and have a low carbon content. They are resistant to corrosion, cracking and stress, which makes them popular for kitchen appliances. Ferritic steels are generally easily weldable. The only metal in this category which is challenging to weld is the 430F, which is tricky to work with due to its high Sulphur content. Light ferritic steels are easy to weld and the heavier ones can be welded when the torch is pre-heated to 200 degrees celsius.

Martensitic Stainless Steels

These contain up to 17 per cent chromium. They can have high or low carbon content depending on the type. If a type has more than 0.15 percent carbon, you have to consider preheating the welding torch well before welding because they tend to harden. The torch will generally work if pre-heated to 230-260 degrees celsius. In cases where preheating does not work, welders use fillers.

These are three of the most common types of steel. It is crucial to always make sure that you know the characteristics of the metal you want to weld before you work with it. The steel type and carbon content will guide you in determining which welding processes work and the ones that do not.

For more information on welding, consult a resource in your area.