The alloy is a welding “consumable” – the material that melts under the welder’s torch to fill the gap between parts that are being joined.
The new nickel alloy consumable is more expensive compared to those already on the market, but worth the cost in situations where adequate ventilation is a problem.
That’s why two Ohio State University engineers invented the alloy – specifically to aid military and commercial welding personnel who work in tight spaces.
In tests, welds made with the new consumable proved just as strong and corrosion-resistant as welds made with commercial stainless steel consumables. When melted, however, the new alloy does not produce fumes of hexavalent chromium, a toxic form of the element chromium which has been linked to cancer.
All stainless steels contain chromium, but Gerald Frankel and John Lippold, both professors of materials science and engineering at Ohio State, determined that the consumable alloy that joins stainless steel parts together doesn’t have to contain the metal.
Use of the new alloy essentially eliminates hexavalent chromium in the welding fumes.
The university has three issued US patents and a pending European patent application covering a series of alloys – based on nickel and copper but with no chromium – all of which can be used with standard welding equipment.
The new alloy is expensive, however. The engineers estimated that it would cost five to 10 times more than standard welding consumables, depending on metal prices.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets limits on workers’ exposure to hexavalent chromium in welding fumes, which affect welders themselves and their surrounding coworkers. Reduced exposure to such toxic fumes requires either extreme ventilation or use of a chromium-free consumable.
Frankel said that the high cost of the alloy would be justified in situations where ample ventilation may be impossible.
“I always think of someone welding a steel pipe, deep inside a ship at sea,” he said. “Ventilation might not be possible, and a breathing appartus for the welder would make working in a confined space even more difficult. In that case, using our alloy would lower the amount of ventilation needed, and help reduce costs overall.”
Frankel is a corrosion expert; Lippold is a welding expert. Lippold was already looking for ways to limit the amount of another metal – manganese, which can cause neurological damage – in welding consumables, when Frankel approached him about chromium.
“We came up with an alloy that is compatible with stainless steel from a corrosion perspective, and a welding process that results in high quality welds,” Lippold said. “It is a drop-in replacement for stainless steel comsumables welders use now.”
Sometimes welders use a consumable as a bare metal wire, and other times they need to use an electrode made from a metal core coated with flux – a chemical agent that removes impurities from the weld. The Ohio State alloy works for either application.
In the laboratory, the researchers performed electrochemical tests to optimize the composition for corrosion resistance. They also performed mechanical tests of the weld joint to test the alloy’s strength. The new alloy’s performance was comparable to standard commercial welding consumables for stainless steel.
Frankel and Lippold have begun further testing of their alloy with Euroweld, Ltd., a manufacturer of specialty welding materials headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina.
The engineers are now working on ways to lower the cost of the consumable.
The university will license the alloy and its applications for commercial development.
The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program – a partnership of the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy – funded this research.Contacts: Gerald Frankel, (614) 688-4128; Frankel.firstname.lastname@example.org
Pam Frost Gorder | Newswise Science News
From ancient fossils to future cars
21.10.2016 | University of California - Riverside
Study explains strength gap between graphene, carbon fiber
20.10.2016 | Rice University
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy