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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 504 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ENERGY USED IN ELECTRIC WELDING has another valuable effect in properly distributing the heating over the whole section of the joint. Any portion which may be for the moment at a lower temperature than other portions will necessarily have a lower relative resistance, and more current will be diverted to it. This action rapidly brings any cooler portion into equality of temperature with the rest. It also prevents the over-heating of the interior portions which are not losing heat by radiation and convection. The success of the electric process rn welding metals which were not formerly regarded as weldable is probably due in a measure to this cause, and also to the ease of control of the operation, for the operator may work within far narrower limits of plasticity and fusibility than with the forge fire or blowpipe. The mechanical pressure may be automatically applied and the current automatically cut off after the completion of the weld. In some more recent types of welders the clamping and releasing of the pieces are also accomplished automatically, and nothing is left for the operator to do but to feed the pieces into the clamps. Repetition-work is thus rapidly and accurately done. The automatic welder represented in fig. 3 has a capacity of nearly moo welds per day. The pressure required is subject to considerable variation: the more rigid the material at the welding temperature, the greater is the necessary pressure. With copper the force may be about boo pounds per square inch of section; with wrought iron, 1200 pounds; and with steel, i800 pounds. It is customary to begin the operation with a much lighter pressure than that used when all parts of the pieces at the joint have come into contact. The pressure exerted in completing the weld has the effect of extruding from the joint all dross and slag, together with most of the metal which is rendered plastic by the heat. The strongest electric welds are those effected by this extrusion from the joint, in consequence of heavy pressure quickly applied at the time of completion of the weld. The unhammered weld, as ordinarily made by the electric process, has substantially the same strength as the annealed metal of the bar, the break under tensile strain, when the burr at the weld is left on, usually occurring a little to one side of the joint proper, where the metal has been annealed by heating. Hammering or forging the joint while the metal cools, in the case of malleable metals such as iron or copper, will usually greatly toughen the metal, and it should be resorted to where a maximum of strength is desired. The same object is partially effected by placing the weld, while still hot, between dies pressed forcibly together so as to give to the weld some desired form, as in drop-forging. The amount of electric energy necessary for welding by the Thomson process varies with the different metals, their electric conductivity, their heat conductivity, fusibility, the shape of the pieces, section at the joint, &c. In the following table are given some results obtained in the working of iron, brass and copper. The figures are of course only approximate, and refer to one condition alone of time-consumption in the making of each weld. The more rapidly the work is done, the less, as a rule, is the total energy required; but the rate of output of the plant must be increased with increase of speed, and this involves a larger plant, the consequent expense of which is often disadvantageous. If in the following Iron and Steel. Section, Sq. In. Watts in Prim- Time in Watt-seconds. ary of welder. Secs. 0.5 8,500 33 280,500 I.0 16,700 45 751,500 1.5 . 23,500 55 1,292,500 2.0 29,000 65 I,885,00o 2.5 34,000 70 2,380,000 3.0 39,000 78 3,042,000 3.5 • 44,000 85 3,740,000 4.0 . 50,000 90 4,500,000 Brass. •25 . 7,500 17 127,500 5 13,500 22 297,000 '75 . 19,000 29 551,000 1.0 25,000 33 825,000 1.25 . 31,000 38 1,178,000 1.5 . 36,000 42 1,512,000 1.75 . 40,000 45 I ,800,000 2.0 44,000 48 2,112,000 Copper. •125. 6,00o 8 48,000 .25 . 14,000 11 154,000 '375. 19,000 13 247,000 .5 . 25,000 16 400,000 .625. 31,000 18 558,000 •75 . 36,500 21 766,500 '875. 43,000 22 946,000 L 1•o 49,000 23 1,127,000 In practice, joints in solid bars or in wires are the most common, but the process is applicable to pieces of quite varied form. Joints in iron, brass, or lead pipe are readily made; strips of sheet metal are joined, as in band saws; bars or tubes are joined at various angles; sheet metal is joined to bars, &c. One of the more interesting of the recent applications of electric welding is the longitudinal seaming of thin steel pipe. The metal or skelp is in long strips, bent to form a hollow cylinder or pipe, and the longitudinal seam moves through a special welder, which passes a current across it. The work is completed by drawing the pipe through dies. The welding of a ring forrned by bending a short bar into a circle affords an excellent illustration of the character of the currents employed in the Thomson process. Notwithstanding the comparatively free path around the ring through the lull section of the bent bar, the current heats the abutted ends to the welding temperature. In this way waggon and carriage wheel tyres, harness rings, pail and barrel hoops, and similar objects are extensively produced. The process is also largely applied to the welding of iron and copper wires used for electric lines and conductors, of steel axles, tyres and metal frames used in carriage work, and of such parts of bicycles as pedals, crank hangers, seat posts, forks, and steel tubing for the frames. The heat, whether it be utilized in welding or brazing, is so sharply localized that no damage is clone to the finish of surfaces a short distance from the weld or joint. Parts can be accurately formed and finished before being joined, as in the welding of taper shanks to drills, the lengthening of drills, screw taps, or augers, and the like. Electric welding is applicable to forms of pieces or to conditions of work which would be impracticable with the ordinary forge fire or gas blowpipe. A characteristic instance is the wire bands which hold in place the solid rubber tyres of vehicles. The proximity of the rubber forbids the application of the heat of a fire or blowpipe, but by springing the rubber back from the proposed joint and seizing the ends of wire by the electric welding clamps, the union is rapidly and easily made. When the rubber of the tyre is released, it covers the joint, regaining its complete form. Special manufactures have in some cases arisen based upon the use of electric welding. The welding clamps, and the mechanical devices connected with them, vary widely in accordance with the work they have to do. A machine for forming metal wheels is so constructed that the hubs are made in two sections, which when brought together in the welder are caused to embrace the radiating iron or steel spokes of the wheel. The two sections are then welded, and hold the spokes in solid union with themselves. Another machine, designed for the manufacture of wire fences,makes several welds automatically and simultaneously Galvanized iron wires are fed into the machine from reels in several parallel lines about a foot apart, and at intervals are crossed at right angles by wire sections cut automatically from another reel of wire. As the wire passes, electric welds are formed between the transverse and the parallel lines. The machine delivers a continuous web of wire fencing, which is wound upon a drum and removed from time to time in large rolls. In the United States, street railway rails are welded into a continuous metal structure. A huge welding transformer is suspended upon a crane, which is borne upon a car arranged to run upon the track as it is laid. The joint between the ends of two contiguous rails is made by welding lateral strap pieces, covering the joint at each side and taking the place of the ordinary fish-plates and bolts. The exertion of a greatly increased pressure at the finish of the welding seems to be decidedly favourable to the permanence and strength of the joints. When properly made, the joint is strong enough to resist the strains of extension and compression during temperature changes. For electric railways the welded joint obviates all necessity for " bonding " the rails together with copper wires to convert them into continuous lines of return conductors for the railway current. In railway welding the source of energy is usually a current delivered from the trolley line itself to a rotary converter mounted on the welding car, whereby an alternating current is obtained for feeding the primary circuit of the welding transformer. Power from a distant station is thus made to produce the heat required for track welding, and at exactly the place where it is to be utilized. In this instance the work is stationary while the welding apparatus is moved from one joint to the next. Welding transformers are sometimes used to heat metal for annealing, for forging, bending, or shaping, for tempering, or for hard soldering. Under special conditions they are well adapted to these purposes, on account of the perfect control of the heating or energy delivery, and the rapidity and cleanliness of the operation. Divested of its welding clamps, the welding transformer has found a unique application in the armour-annealing process cf Armoue+ Lemp, by means of which spots or lines are locally annealed plate in hard-faced ship's armour, so that it can be drilled or plate cut as desired. Before the introduction of this process, it was practically impossible to render any portion of the hardened face of such armour workable by cutting tools without detriment to the hardness of the rest. A very heavy electric current is passed through the spot or area which it is desired to soften, so that, notwithstanding the rapid conduction of heat into the body of the plate, the metal is brought to a low red heat. In order that the spot shall not reharden, it is requisite that the rate of cooling shall be slower than when the heating current is cut off suddenly, the current therefore undergoes gradual diminution, under control of the operator. The welding transformer has for its secondary terminals simply two copper blocks fixed in position, and mounted at a distance of an inch or more apart. These are placed firmly against the face of the armour plate, with the spot to be annealed bridging the contacts, or situated between them. As in track welding, the transformer is made movable, so that it can be brought into any position desired. When the annealing is to be done along a line, the secondary terminals, with the transformer, are slowly and steadily slid over the face of the plate, new portions of the plate being thus continually brought between the terminals, while those which had reached the proper heat are slowly removed from the terminals and cool gradually. (E. T.)
ENERGY (from the Gr. ivipyela; iv, in, ipyov, work)...

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