XACD titanium bicycle frames can keep the welding color on the surface
A lot of people talk about color in welds, but they don't always understand why the color does or does not matter. A rainbow of colors in the bead and heat-affected zone (HAZ) doesn’t automatically make it a good weld, and it can indicate a bad weld. It all depends on the material, the industry, and the application.
When steel heats up, its structure changes. As the surface of the heated steel meets the atmosphere, it reacts with the elements in the air and oxidizes. The colors that result depend on the makeup of the metal, the composition of the atmosphere, the temperature at which they meet, and the duration of time the metal is exposed at the elevated temperature. What’s happening is the metal is oxidizing.
Same thing with inert gas: You want just enough flow to protect the heated metal from the atmosphere relative to the standards you’re welding to. Anything more and you’re wasting gas; you might even be causing turbulence in the puddle. The gas flow needed could be different for every job, but as long as you’re getting just enough to cover the weld and HAZ until it’s below the contamination temp, you’re good to go. More won’t help. In some cases that might mean welding in a chamber, but if a No. 6 cup and 10 CFH will do it, there’s no advantage to using extreme gas flow.
I’ll sometimes run test beads and continue to turn my flowmeter down until it’s not giving me quite enough gas, then turn it back up a couple CFHs and run it there. Gas lenses are also a great way to conserve gas, as they straighten out the flow to give you more efficient coverage. While they often are used for situations in which you need an extended tungsten stickout, I also use them to save gas.
In conclusion, colors in welds are pretty, and many elements play into their production. Sometimes they indicate a bad weld, sometimes they don’t. The end.
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