Electron beam welding. Electron beam flare | EBW machine
Image Credit: Joining Technologies | Ebwelding | Ebtec
Electron beam welding services creates a narrow beam of high velocity electrons in a vacuum environment. This beam generates a fusing heat source that can unite most metals and alloys.
Electron beam weld process. Image Credit: Andrew's Hi-Tec
Electron beam welding can be performed with almost all types of metals. Weld quality, however, depends upon the material properties of the metal or metals in the workpiece.
The GlobalSpec SpecSearch database contains information about electron beam welding services that work with the following materials.
- Aluminum is a silvery-white, ductile, metallic element with good conductive and thermal properties. It is used to form many hard, light, corrosion-resistant alloys.
- Copper is a ductile, malleable, reddish metallic element that is one of the best conductors of heat and electricity.
- Stainless steel is a family of corrosion-resistant steels that contain a minimum of 10% chromium. Nickel, molybdenum, titanium, niobium and other elements may also be present.
- Structural steel is large, part-strength steel used to build structural components.
- Tool steel is a group of high-carbon steels that provide combinations of high hardness, toughness, and resistance at elevated temperatures.
Electron Beam Welding
Compared to most other welding processes, electron beam welding has a number of advantages.
- Deeper and narrow penetration can be achieved with depth-to-width ratios up to 40:1.
- Narrow heat effect zone means that less excess heat is generated around the weld zone, allowing for welding in close proximity to heat sensitive components.
- High purity welds are possible due to welding within a vacuum which prevents oxides and nitrides from forming.
- High yield strength up to 95% of the original material can be achieved due to the quality of vacuum welding.
There are also disadvantages to consider before choosing electron beam welding.
High welding costs exist due to the equipment cost and the preparation required for the welding process.
- No portability is offered because the equipment is generally large and is confined to a vacuum chamber.
- Workpiece constraints are present based on the size of the vacuum chamber and the ability to mechanically manipulate the workpiece in the chamber.
- Cracking can occur in some specific materials due to the electron beam’s rapid solidification rates.
Electron Beam Welding Applications
Electron beam welding services are used for a number of different areas, including the automotive, aerospace, nuclear energy, medical technology, and petroleum industries. They are preferred particularly in the nuclear energy and aerospace industries for manufacturing high-value welds (i.e., those in which defects cannot be tolerated). This is because electron beam welders are very reliable, consistent, and reproducible regardless of operator skill or machine variability.