Tips for Avoiding Stainless Pipe Weld Sugaring

Tips for Avoiding Stainless Pipe Weld Sugaring

March 14, 2023

If you want to be successful at welding, it’s imperative that you create strong, seamless welds that hold up to extreme pressure. Sugaring, a type of welding defect, is just one problem that can keep you from creating strong welds. These welding defects increase the chances of rust and corrosion, which weaken a weld and cause structural problems. Check out our tips for avoiding stainless pipe weld sugaring.

What Is Sugaring?

Sugaring is a type of oxidation that makes it look like granules of sugar are stuck to your weld. Oxidation is when metal creates a protective oxide layer during the welding process. If you manage not to crack the oxide layer during welding, it can actually help protect the weld from outside elements. Cracking tends to happen when you reach the maximum surface temperature for the metal you’re welding.

How Does Sugaring Affect Stainless Steel?

One of the reasons people love to use stainless steel is because of its anti-corrosive properties. When your welds develop sugaring, it increases the chance that corrosion or rust will set in, defeating the purpose of using stainless. What’s more, stainless tends to show defects like sugaring more prominently than other metals, detracting from the finished look of your weld.

How Is Sugaring Prevented?

Since sugaring occurs when oxygen reacts with metal, you need to protect your welds from oxygen. There are two main ways to avoid stainless pipe weld sugaring.

Use a Purging Gas

If you purge the inside of a pipe or tube before welding, you can get rid of the oxygen in the atmosphere. Without oxygen, oxidation can’t take place. The most popular gas for purging stainless piping is Argon.

Use a Shielding Gas

Many types of welding use shielding gas to protect welds from atmospheric interference. With stainless, shielding gas is vital for preventing oxidation defects like sugaring. Instead of purging all the gas inside the pipe, the weld head uses gas to create a wall of air around the weld site.

If you work in pipe spool fabrication, consider upgrading to an integrated pipe spool welding machine from SEC Industrial. We carry all the equipment you could possibly need for pipe and tube welding, including orbital welding equipment, pipe beveling tools, and machining equipment.

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