Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Welders can breathe easier with chromium-free alloy, research suggests

Date:
February 10, 2011
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
A new alloy promises to lessen welders' risk of breathing toxic fumes on the job. 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.

esearchers at Ohio State University have invented a welding “consumable” – the material that melts under the welder’s torch to fill the gap between parts that are being joined – that does not contain a toxic form of the element chromium. Here, two pieces of stainless steel were welded together and then bent along the weld joint to test weld strength.
Credit: John Lippold, Ohio State University.

A new alloy promises to lessen welders' risk of breathing toxic fumes on the job. 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. The original article was written by Pam Frost Gorder. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Welders can breathe easier with chromium-free alloy, research suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110210111318.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2011, February 10). Welders can breathe easier with chromium-free alloy, research suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110210111318.htm
Ohio State University. "Welders can breathe easier with chromium-free alloy, research suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110210111318.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Commercial aircraft deliveries rose seven percent at Boeing, prompting the aerospace company to boost full-year profit guidance- though quarterly revenues missed analyst estimates. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins