This project examined the feasibility of using flux modification to reduce the as-deposited hydrogen content of basic-type shielded metal arc welds. Additions of oxidizing ingredients (micaceous iron oxides) to the reference flux formulation lowered the diffusible weld hydrogen content by up to 70%. Increasing amounts of silica caused a slight reduction in hydrogen content, probably as a result of the reaction between SiO2 and CaF2, which produces SiF4 and CaO as reaction products. Flux formulations containing additions of fluorine-containing compounds and calcite displayed lower hydrogen levels, with the diffusible weld metal hydrogen content reaching a minimum with increasing additions. Higher levels caused an increase in the weld hydrogen content. Thermodynamic slag modelling attributes the existence of these minima to a decrease in slag water capacity with an increase in slag fluorine content (at constant basicity), brought about by higher concentrations of fluorine-containing compounds in the flux formulation. The effect of flux additions on the weld mechanical properties and the electrode operating characteristics was not evaluated during the course of this investigation.
Dissertation (MSc (Metallurgy))--University of Pretoria, 2007.