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Atomic hydrogen welding

Atomic hydrogen welding (AHW) is an arc welding process that uses an arc between two metal tungsten electrodes in a shielding atmosphere of hydrogen. The process was invented by Irving Langmuir in the course of his studies in atomic hydrogen. The electric arc efficiently breaks up the hydrogen molecules, which later recombine with tremendous release of heat, greater than any other chemical reaction. This device may be called an atomic hydrogen torch or Langmuir torch.

The heat produced by this torch is sufficient to melt and weld tungsten, the most refractory metal. Because of the atmosphere of hydrogen, metals are protected from contamination by carbon, nitrogen, or oxygen which can severely damage the properties of many metals.

In atomic hydrogen welding, filler metal may or may not be used. In this process, the arc is maintained entirely independent of the work or parts being welded. The work is a part of the electrical circuit only to the extent that a portion of the arc comes in contact with the work, at which time a voltage exists between the work and each electrode.


  • Welding Handbook Vol. 2 Library of Congress number 90-085465 copyright 1991 by American Welding Society

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Atomic_hydrogen_welding". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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