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When considering the welding of aluminum alloys, and the development and qualification of welding procedures one of the main considerations must be that of filler alloy selection. Typically there are a variety of filler alloys available which may be used to join any given base alloy.
I work in a small welding repair shop, and I am often asked to perform repair welding on aluminum structures. Sometimes the type of base alloy is known, and on other occasions, it is not. I have two questions relating to the repair of aluminum.
As a basic description we can say that 4043 is an aluminum filler alloy with 5% silicon added and that 5356 is an aluminum filler alloy with 5% magnesium added. There are some misconceptions within the industry that you can successfully weld any aluminum base alloy with either 4043 or 5356 filler alloy. I must start by saying that this is not the case. However, there are many common structural aluminum base alloys that can be welded with either 4043 or 5356. One such alloy is 6061.
I have worked for many years in the welding fabrication of carbon steel, and I am moving into the welding fabrication of Aluminum. I have heard that the storage and preparation for aluminum base alloys and filler alloys are different. What are the differences, and how can they affect the quality of my welding?
I am looking for some assistance with the selection of the most suitable filler alloy for a particular GMAW welded aluminum structure. Application: Structural component used for material handling manufactured from 6061-T6 in material thicknesses of 1/8 to 1/2 inch.