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Welding, which has been defined as a localized consolidation of metal parts by means of heat, has been divided into a number of processes; the basis for nomenclature depending upon the condition of the metal surface during the welding process, source of heat, medium of pressure, and so forth. The fluid fusion weld in which heat is supplied by means of a gas torch or an electric arc is used very extensively in the aluminum industry. The torch weld made with oxy-hydrogen or oxy-acetylene is the best known and most widely used method of welding aluminum at the present time. The gas torch in the hands of an experienced aluminum welder is a very efficient tool. For welding material 1/8 in. or less in thickness oxy-hydrogen is recommended. Hydrogen is preferable to acetylene for welding light material, as the temperature is easier to control, the metal flows better, and a clean, sound weld is obtained. Aluminum and any of its alloys in either the wrought or cast condition can be torch welded. An oxy-acetylene flame is usually used for welding heavy gage sheet and plate. Either a neutral or slightly reducing flame should be used. The flame should not deposit carbon on the metal, and it must not be oxidizing. Very satisfactory welds have been obtained in aluminum with oxygen and natural gas, also oxygen and city gas.
Dunlap, W. M.
Metallurgist, Aluminum Company of America, New Kensington, Pa.