Down Below: Understanding the Underwater Welding Process
February 19, 2018 by Bob Wilson
At first glance, the marine welding process seems to defy logic. After all, generating electricity from a fluid can be an unpredictable business — one that could cause much harm. But underwater welding is just like the process of welding on land, or topside welding.
We should know. Advantage Manufacturing Ltd. offers welding services for metals in marine applications. Our work includes cutting and welding oil rigs, ship hulls, and pipelines below the Earth’s surface.
Below is a closer look at our underwater welding process and how we can make your equipment function properly again in a marine environment.
How Is it Different from Topside Welding?
To learn about the underwater welding process, it helps to understand how topside welding works first.
Welding is the process of joining two or more metals together. A welder can conduct the process through different methods, such as stick welding, tungsten inert gas, gas metal arc welding, and more.
Stick welding is one of the most common welding processes. With stick welding, the welder uses three types of equipment:
- Welding machine: This equipment generates heat that melts metal, making them easier to join. It also supplies power to the electrode.
- Electrode: A welding electrode conducts currents through workpieces to fuse two different metals together. It is a long rod coated with a flux.
- Electrode stinger: Connected to the welding machine, electrode holders are clamping devices that help secure the electrode in a single position.
Welders use the three parts to create intense heat to melt the two metals. By moving the electrode along the weld site, it allows the electrode the melt and fill in the gap. In turn, it creates a metallurgical bond. After joining the two metals, the final product has the same level of strength as the two parts.
A Nearly Identical Process
Welding underwater is similar to regular welding; only the environment differs. So, although some challenges exist in marine welding because the oxygenated water can cause the weld to turn porous and brittle, this doesn’t mean that achieving a high-quality meld in wet conditions isn’t possible.
Even though it takes place in the ocean, marine welding does not subject metals to direct exposure to water. Stick welding creates a gaseous bubble made of hydrogen that temporarily protects the weld site, insulating it from the water. This happens as the flux melts to protect the metal from the cooling process.
Unlike topside welding, marine welding can create tremendous amounts of heat, spraying thousands of bubbles underwater while the welding job is in progress. While it could make it difficult to see the weld site, skilled technicians can still perform quality welds even with limited visibility.
Quality Work from Start to Finish
Marine welding is a useful technique when it comes to offshore platform repairs, dam and drilling sites, and hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas recovery. Its versatility in assembly and underwater repairs make it the practical alternative for clamped and glouted repairs.
Advantage Manufacturing Ltd.’s skilled technicians have the training and certification to cater to your marine welding needs. Our team conducts superior quality welding work in various environmental conditions. Contact us today to request a free quote.