RE: UNDERWATER WELDING
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The fact that electric arc could operate was known for over a 100 years. The first ever underwater welding was carried out by British Admiralty – Dockyard for sealing leaking ship rivets below the water line. Underwater welding is an important tool for underwater fabrication works. In 1946, special waterproof electrodes were developed in Holland by ‘Van der Willingen’. In recent years the number of offshore structures including oil drilling rigs, pipelines, platforms are being installed significantly. Some of these structures will experience failures of its elements during normal usage and during unpredicted occurrences like storms, collisions. Any repair method will require the use of underwater welding.
Underwater welding can be classified as
1) Wet Welding
2) Dry Welding
In wet welding the welding is performed underwater, directly exposed to the wet environment. In dry welding, a dry chamber is created near the area to be welded and the welder does the job by staying inside the chamber.
Wet Welding indicates that welding is performed underwater, directly exposed to the wet environment. A special electrode is used and welding is carried out manually just as one does in open air welding. The increased freedom of movement makes wet welding the most effective, efficient and economical method. Welding power supply is located on the surface with connection to the diver/welder via cables and hoses.
Principle of operation
The process of underwater wet welding takes in the following manner:
The work to be welded is connected to one side of an electric circuit, and a metal electrode to the other side. These two parts of the circuit are brought together, and then separated slightly. The electric current jumps the gap and causes a sustained spark (arc), which melts the bare metal, forming a weld pool. At the same time, the tip of electrode melts, and metal droplets are projected into the weld pool. During this operation, the flux covering the electrode melts to provide a shielding gas, which is used to stabilize the arc column and shield the transfer metal. The arc burns in a cavity formed inside the flux covering, which is designed to burn slower than the metal barrel of the electrode.