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Video: Mixing Fire & Water - The Art of Underwater Welding

"It's easier to teach a welder to dive than teach a diver how to weld"

January 25, 2018
J.F. Brennan says welding under water is safe and effective

The J.F. Brennan Co. in La Crosse, Wis., posted a video showing how welding under water is safe and effective even with electricity flowing through an electrode while submerged.

Here's how it works:  The stick welding (shielded metal arc welding) process starts when direct current (DC) electricity travels through a flux covered electrode which creates an arc of electricity between the base metal to start the weld. As the flux coating burns off, it creates a gaseous bubble around the welding area that acts as a shield against the surrounding water. The bubble is comprised of:

  • 70% hydrogen
  • 25% carbon dioxide
  • 5% carbon monoxide

This bubble protects the weld site from direct exposure to water, but heat from the electric arc also creates thousands of other bubbles that spray up around the welder-diver and can cause  poor visibility. This problem is exacerbated in fresh water environments where the arc is less stable than a salt water environment.

So why do it? Brennan says cost is the deciding factor. Wet welding while working on bridges, dams, and other marine structures eliminates the need to install cofferdams to dewater the work area, making wet welding much more cost effective while still attaining the desire results. Watch here:

Source: J.F. Brennan Co.

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