What is Electron Beam Welding?
Electron beam welding is a type of welding process that is used to join metal parts by utilizing heat generated by the beam of electrons. When a high beam of electrons strikes the workpiece, kinetic energy of the electrons is converted into heat energy that is used to melt and fuse the workpiece material.
EBW process can be used to join a workpiece from thickness 0.01 mm up to 150 mm for steel and up to 500 mm for aluminum. Following is the list of materials that can be welded using EBW.
How Electron Beam Welding Works?
Vacuum chamber is required to prevent the loss of electron energy by the collision of electrons with air molecules.
As shown in the above image, electrons are emitted by an electron gun or cathode when it is heated in vacuum. High voltage (approx. 150 kV) is used to accelerate these electrons and these electrons are converged using an electromagnetic coil. Deflection coil is used to control the position of an electron beam.
Advantages of EBW
Following are the advantages of the EBW welding process.
- Minimum 0.2 mm spot diameter is possible.
- Energy density in electron beam welding is 1000 times of arc welding.
- Chemically active metals can be welded.
- Distortion around the welding is low because heat applied to the area around the weld is low.
- High melting point metals can be welded.
- Dissimilar materials can be welded.
- High quality weld.
Disadvantages of EBW
Following are the disadvantages of the electron beam welding process.
- High welding equipment and process setup cost.
- Precise fit between parts to be welded is required.
- Size of the part that can be welded is limited by the size of the vacuum chamber.
- Vacuum chamber is required for welding.
- X-Rays are a byproduct of the electron beam in the vacuum. That can be harmful for humans.
We will keep adding more updates on the EBW welding process. Please add your comments, questions or suggestions on EBW process in the comment box. We suggest you also read this article on the difference between tig and mig welding.