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Ask the expert: What is the best gas for TIG welding austenitic stainless steel?

The secret to an excellent welding job is improved productivity, fewer rejects and a better working environment. But which gas can deliver all of this, while TIG welding austenitic stainless steel? Kevin Sherry, UKI Lead Welding Applications Specialist at Air Products, explains why two percent hydrogen added to pure argon is the magic ingredient.

As with the other types of stainless steels, austenitic stainless steels are corrosion and oxidation resistant due to the presence of chromium that forms a self-healing protective film on the surface of the steel. Despite their toughness and strength, they are the most easily weldable of the stainless steel family and can be welded by all welding processes. But how can you improve the welding gas quality to deliver an even better result?

Argon is generally used during the TIG welding (tungsten inert gas) process, due to its heavy weight that blankets the weld, but there are quality and productivity advantages in mixing it with other gases in the process, such as hydrogen.

Adding just two percent hydrogen to pure argon will save welders time and money, while creating a more enhanced welding performance that produces a large range of benefits: increased welding speed, improved penetration, lower gas consumption and overall costs, and lower ozone emissions. The hydrogen enhanced gas, such as Air Products’ Inomaxx® TIG welding gas, also produces less surface oxidation, which improves the finished quality of the weld and requires less post-weld cleaning. This gas also meets or exceeds the requirements of ISO 14175 and AWS A5.32 welding consumables, giving welders the reassurance they’re meeting international quality standards.

Alternatively, switching from pure argon to N5 NH5 (five percent hydrogen in nitrogen) mixture when purging and backing gas for austenitic stainless steel will remove any remaining oxygen inside the pipe or object that is being welded to avoid contamination, while improving the root bead penetration at a lower amperage.

To experience the benefits of Inomaxx® TIG and N5 NH5 backing gas at your site, you can contact the Air Products team on 0800 389 0202 or email to arrange a free expert assessment. You’ll also receive free advice about using different gases to improve productivity and efficiency with a comprehensive evaluation of your weld processes and practices.

Air Products

Air Products (NYSE:APD) is a world-leading Industrial Gases company in operation for over 75 years. The Company’s core industrial gases business provides atmospheric and process gases and related equipment to manufacturing markets, including refining and petrochemical, metals, electronics, and food and beverage. Air Products is also the world’s leading supplier of liquefied natural gas process technology and equipment. 

Air Products is a world-leading Industrial Gases company in operation for over 75 years.  From oxygen, nitrogen, argon, helium and hydrogen to medical and specialty gases to welding and cutting gases, Air Products enables customers in a myriad of industries to improve their environmental performance, product quality and productivity.

Focus on improving metal fabrication with Air Products.  

Our best in class Maxx® weld process gases achieve improved productivity, fewer rejects and a better working environment.

Available in a range of sizes, from portable cylinders to on-site mixing systems, the Maxx® gases range ensures optimum welding results. With 300 bar cylinders and packs, you’ll have fewer changeovers, less downtime and reduced cylinder holdings too.

The Integra® cylinder range is our innovation for safer welding, cutting and brazing:

– With a built-in regulator, you can save time and costs by never needing to install a regulator again.

– The built-in contents gauge means you can easily see how much gas you have left, helping to prevent frustrating run-outs.

– Safer and rapid gas cylinder change-over with a range of quick-connecting flow optimisers that not only save time, but save gas too whilst ensuring you are operating at the correct flowrate for your weld procedure.

What’s more, with our GastrakSM service, users can ensure the optimum flowrates whilst saving money too. Whether you are supplied via a gas pipeline, packs or traditional cylinders there’s a Gastrak® solution waiting for you. Find out more at


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