Recent trials have produced tungsten-inert-gas (TIG)-welded structures of a suitable scale to allow an evaluation of the technique as an economic and commercial process for the manufacture of complex aeroengine components. The employment of TIG welding is shown to have specific advantages over alternative techniques based on metal inert gas (MIG) systems. Investigations using the nickel-based superalloy 718 have shown that TIG induces a smaller weld pool with less compositional segregation. In addition, because the TIG process involves a pulsed power source, a faster cooling rate is achieved, although this rate, in turn, compromises the deposition rate. The microstructures produced by the two techniques differ significantly, with TIG showing an absence of the detrimental delta and Laves phases typically produced by extended periods at a high temperature using MIG. Instead, an anisotropic dendritic microstructure was evident with a preferred orientation relative to the axis of epitaxy. Niobium was segregated to the interdendritic regions. A fine-scale porosity was evident within the microstructure with a maximum diameter of approximately 5 μm. This porosity often was found in clusters and usually was associated with the interdendritic regions. Subsequent postdeposition heat treatment was shown to have no effect on preexisting porosity and to have a minimal effect on the microstructure.
D. Clark, M.T. Whittaker, M.R. Bache
Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B, 2010, vol. 41, no.6, pp. 1346-1353