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Study of nano-sized fractions of welding aerosols formed during MIG welding of aluminum alloys in a protective gas environment

ISSN 2223-6775 Ukrainian journal of occupational health Vol.19, No 3, 2023

Study of nano-sized fractions of welding aerosols formed during MIG welding of aluminum alloys in a protective gas environment

Demetska O.V.1, Beliuha O.G.1, Andrusyshina I.M.1, Movchan V.O.1, Bezushko O.M.2, Koval V.A.2, Balia A.H.3
1 SI "Kundiev Institute of Occupational Health of National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine", Kyiv, Ukraine
2 Paton Institute of Electric Welding, Kyiv, Ukraine
3 College of Pharmacy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States of America

Full article (PDF): ENG / UKR

Introduction. Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding is widely known for its potential to produce high-strength welded joints. However, various welding parameters, including transportation modes and gas protection composition, significantly influence aerosol generation. Of particular concern is the formation of nanoparticles, known for their high deposition capacity, particularly within the respiratory tract.

Purpose of research. This study aims to investigate the release of nanoparticles into the workplace air during MIG welding of aluminum alloys.

Materials and methods of research. We evaluated the size and elemental composition of nanosized fractions generated when utilizing solid-section aluminum wires ER-4043 and ER-2319, both with a diameter of 1.6 mm. Particle size was determined through dynamic light scattering using the Analysette 12 DynaSizer device (Fritsch, Germany). The chemical composition of air samples was analyzed via Atomic Emission Spectrometry with Inductively Coupled Plasma (AES-ICP), employing the Optima 2100 DV atomic absorption spectrophotometer (Perkin-Elmer, USA).

Results. Our findings indicate that MIG welding with ER-4043 and ER-2319 aluminum wires in a protective gas environment leads to the emission of nano- and ultrafine particles into the workplace air. Notably, the average diameter of particles formed during welding with ER-2319 wire is 5.7 times smaller than those formed during welding with ER-4043 wire. Air samples collected during welding with these materials revealed the presence of several chemical elements in nanosized form (diameter <100 nm), including aluminum, copper, iron, manganese, zinc, nickel, silicon, tin, and titanium.

Conclusions. The assessment of nano-sized fractions produced during welding with ER-4043 and ER-2319 aluminum wires did not surpass calculated thresholds, based on coefficients recommended by the British Standards Institute for the safe levels of metals in a highly dispersed state. However, nano-sized silicon exceeded these levels. Furthermore, it was observed that aerosols generated during welding with ER-2319 wires primarily consist of nano-sized fractions (<100 nm), which should be taken into account when developing protective strategies and selecting personal protective equipment in welding environments.

Keywords: protective gases, argon, MIG welding, air of the working area, nanoparticles.


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