WET , GAS DISSOLVED IN
In these conditions, normal welding is impossible
Underwater welding method enables us to weld
properly under these conditions.Underwater
welding is an
important tool for underwater fabrication works
• 1930s: Russian metallurgist Konstantin Khrenov made the first
underwater weld - in lab tests.
• The first ever underwater welding was carried out
by British Admiralty – Dockyard for sealing leaking ship
rivets below the water line. In 1946, special waterproof electrodes
were developed in Holland by Van der Willingen.
• 1970s: Whitey Grubbs and Dale Anderson of Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) qualified an
underwater wet welding procedure to American Welding Society (AWS) standards.
Underwater welding can be classified as
1) Wet Welding
2) Dry Welding
• In wet welding the welding is performed underwater, directly
exposed to the wet environment.
• In dry welding, a dry chamber is created near the area to be
welded and the welder does the job by staying inside the chamber.
• As the name implies, underwater wet welding is done in
an environment where the base metal and the arc are
surrounded entirely by water. In wet welding MMA
(manual metal arc welding) is used
• increased freedom of movement makes wet welding the
most effective, efficient and economical method
• Welding power supply is located on the surface with
connection to the diver/welder via cables and hoses.
Power Supply used : DC
• Polarity : -ve polarity
When DC is used with +ve polarity, electrolysis will
take place and cause rapid deterioration of any
metallic components in the electrode holder.
• For wet welding AC is not used on account of electrical
safety and difficulty in maintaining an arc underwater.
• The power source should be a direct current machine
at 300 or 400 amperes
Principle of operation of Wet Welding
Work to be welded is connected to one side of an electric circuit,
and a metal electrode to the other side. These two parts of the
circuit are brought together, and then separated slightly.
The electric current jumps the gap and causes a sustained spark
(arc), which melts the bare metal, forming a weld pool.
At the same time, the tip of electrode melts, and metal droplets are
projected into the weld pool.
During this operation, the flux covering the electrode melts
to provide a shielding gas, which is used to stabilize the arc
column and shield the transfer metal.
The arc burns in a cavity formed inside the flux covering,
which is designed to burn slower than the metal barrel
of the electrode.
Advantages of Wet Welding
The versatility and low cost of wet welding makes this method highly desirable.
Other benefits include the speed with which the operation is carried out.
It is less costly compared to dry welding.
The welder can reach portions of offshore structures that could not be welded
using other methods.
No enclosures are needed and no time is lost building. Readily available
standard welding machine and equipments are used. The equipment needed for
mobilization of a wet welded job is minimal.
Disadvantages of Wet Welding
There is rapid quenching of the weld metal by the surrounding water. Although
quenching increases the tensile strength of the weld, it decreases the ductility and
impact strength of the weldment and increases porosity and hardness.
Hydrogen Embrittlement – Large amount of hydrogen is present in the weld region,
resulting from the dissociation of the water vapour in the arc region. The 퐻2 dissolves in
the Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) and the weld metal, which causes Embrittlement, cracks
and microscopic fissures. Cracks can grow and may result in catastrophic failure of the
Another disadvantage is poor visibility. The welder some times is not able to weld
Figure showing schematic diagram for
Inside a specially constructed positive pressure
enclosure and hence a dry environment.
Use for high quality welds as more control over
Involves the weld being performed at the prevailing
pressure in a chamber filled with a gas mixture sealed
around the structure being welded.
Most arc welding processes such as shielded metal arc
welding (smaw), flux-cored arc welding (fcaw), gas
tungsten arc welding (gtaw), gas metal arc welding
(gmaw), plasma arc welding (paw) could be operated at
Pressure Welding: Working in a pressure vessel measuring one
atmosphere unit of pressure (same as pressure at sea level).
Habitat Welding: Using a chamber in ambient pressure (same as
surrounding pressure at working depth) about the size of a small
room to weld. Before entering, the chamber displaces its water
the surrounding ocean or lake.
Dry Chamber Welding: It is habitat welding, but with a smaller
chamber. The chamber holds the head and shoulders of a
diver (dressed in diving gear) and is open at the bottom for the
to fit in.
Dry Spot Welding: Here the habitat is even smaller. The habitat
shrinks to the size of about the welder-diver’s head, and it’s
completely clear. It’s placed on the weld site and the welder-inserts
his or her electrode inside the habitat, which seals around
Better diver safety
Better quality welds
No build up of hydrogen and oxygen pockets
Allows for heat treatment before and after welding
Non destructive testing
Surface monitoring possible
Requires large, complex equipment.
Chamber has to be fabricated differently
for different applications
Cost is very high and increases with depth
More energy requirement
Application of underwater welding
The important applications of underwater welding are:
(a) Offshore construction for tapping sea resources,
(b) Temporary repair work caused by ships collisions or
(c) Salvaging vessels sunk in the sea
(d) Repair and maintenance of ships
(e) Construction of large ships beyond the capacity of
(f) Repair and maintenance of underwater pipelines.
DANGERS OF UNDERWATER WELDING
1.Chances of an Electric Shock
• This happens when the welding equipment that is used is not adapted to work under the water.
• The equipment should be tested properly, well-insulated and a waterproof electrode should be
connected to it.
2.Possibility of an Explosion
• The chances of such explosions are more in processes, wherein both, hydrogen and oxygen are
involved, and may lead to the formation of numerous gas pockets.
• during hyperbaric welding, the formation and combination of hydrogen and oxygen pockets is
dangerous because they are explosive, when ignited..
• Decompression sickness, also known as 'diver's disease
• Diver inhales harmful gases such as nitrogen,
when he dives quickly from a high pressure zone
to a low pressure zone.
• If the welder dives too fast to the surface of the water,
nitrogen bubbles enters his bloodstream. These bubbles
then spread inside the diver's body, and start showing
numerous adverse symptoms.
• Decompression sickness may lead variably to rashes, joint pain, paralysis or even death of
4.Breakdown of Dental Amalgam
• As a result a metallic taste in the mouth
• Recent studies have shown that in the process of electric welding and cutting under the
water, a magnetic field with alternating current gets created. This magnetic field, in turn,
induces a secondary current in the oral tissues of the welders, due to which their dental
amalgam breaks down.
• Dry Hyperbaric welds are better in quality than wet welds.
Present trend is towards automation. THOR – 1 (TIG
Hyperbaric Orbital Robot) is developed where diver
• Developments of diver less Hyperbaric welding system is
an even greater challenge in developments like pipe
preparation and aligning, automatic electrode.
• Explosive and friction welding are also to be tested in deep