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Oxy-Fuel welding and cutting is a process that uses Oxygen combined with either Acetylene or LPG, depending on the temperature needed to weld or cut metals.
Oxyacetylene welding, commonly referred to as gas welding, is a process which relies on combustion of oxygen and acetylene. When mixed together in correct proportions within a hand-held torch or blowpipe, a relatively hot flame is produced with a temperature of about 3,200 deg.C. The chemical action of the oxyacetylene flame can be adjusted by changing the ratio of the volume of oxygen to acetylene.
Three distinct flame settings are used, neutral, oxidising and carburising.
Welding is generally carried out using the neutral flame setting which has equal quantities of oxygen and acetylene. The oxidising flame is obtained by increasing just the oxygen flow rate while the carburising flame is achieved by increasing acetylene flow in relation to oxygen flow. Because steel melts at a temperature above 1,500 deg.C, the mixture of oxygen and acetylene is used as it is the only gas combination with enough heat to weld steel. However, other gases such as propane, hydrogen and coal gas can be used for joining lower melting point non-ferrous metals, and for brazing and silver soldering.
The action of the oxyacetylene flame on the surface of the material to be welded can be adjusted to produce a soft, harsh or violent reaction by varying the gas flows. There are of course practical limits as to the type of flame which can be used for welding. A harsh forceful flame will cause the molten weld pool to be blown away, while too soft a flame will not be stable near the point of application.
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