We get many welding questions here at Tampa Steel & Supply. One of the most common welding questions is, “can you weld aluminum to steel?” Let’s explore the different ways you can weld aluminum to steel and some safety tips for doing so.
Can you Weld Aluminum to Steel?
Technically, the answer is yes. However, welding these two materials together can be problematic because you cannot use a regular welding process. This is because both of these elements have different properties, meaning they have different melting points and are insoluble in each other.
Different Methods to Weld Aluminum to Steel
Bimetallic Transition Inserts
We recommend a highly popular method to weld aluminum to steel using a bimetallic transition insert. These inserts are used to produce high-quality welded joints. This is used for steel and aluminum that will be welded together.
The insert is placed between the steel and aluminum you will weld together using TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding. The size of this object will vary based on your project. This insert is actually made from one part steel and one part aluminum.
Place the bimetallic transition insert between the aluminum and steel you are welding, and ensure you do not overheat the inserts. After you weld it together, the aluminum will absorb the heat. This is why it is so important that you do not overheat the insert.
The other great method for welding your aluminum to steel is dip coating. This process involves dipping the steel into aluminum and coating it completely. This dip will make sure intermetallic compounds will not form as you weld.
Since this dip effectively turns your steel into aluminum, the coated steel will not part or contort during welding. However, you will want to ensure your welding arc does not come in contact with the steel because it can burn through the aluminum parts.
Safety Tips For Welding
Welding Can Lead To Shock
When you weld aluminum and steel together, it can lead to electrical shock. To combat this, you should invest in a well-insulated welding system. Additionally, you must have the proper grounding to protect yourself from this potential risk.
Aluminum Appearance Won’t Change With Heat
Be careful with aluminum because it is hard to tell when it is heated because it does not change or alter its appearance. Aluminum also has a higher thermal conductivity. Meaning you will need to wear something, like gloves, to protect your hands from touching it.
Aluminum Has a Very High Reflectivity
Radiated light is a common issue and problem when it comes to aluminum. Because of this, there is a high risk of light-related injuries when you try to weld aluminum to steel. Therefore, you need to protect yourself by using long-sleeved clothing, light-blocking curtains, goggles, and so on to combat this.
Welding aluminum to steel can be complicated, but it can be done.
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