Architectural Library
Our mission at Bristolite is to provide our customers with the highest quality products and supreme service at an exceptional value. We also aim to provide the industry with an abundance of accurate and useful information relative to daylighting and energy conservation. We take our corporate responsibility to our employees, associates, industry colleagues and customers very seriously and we see ourselves as stewards for the efficient use of sustainable carbon free energy.

Heliarc®/TIG Welding Overview

What is TIG Welding?

TIG Welding is a manual welding process that requires the welder to use two hands to weld. What separates TIG welding from most other welding processes is the way the arc is created and how the filler metal is added. When TIG Welding one hand is used for holding the TIG torch that produces the arc and the other hand is to add the filler metal to the weld joint. Because two hands are required to weld; TIG welding is the most difficult of the processes to learn, but at the same time is the most versatile when it comes to different metals. This process is slow but when done right it produces the highest quality weld! TIG welding is mostly used for critical weld joints, welding metals other than common steel, and where precise, small welds are needed.

TIG Welding Process TIG Welding Torch Finished TIG Weld

TIG Welding Names

Knowing alternative names and abbreviations for TIG welding is important for architects reading and/or writing specifications. As of today TIG welding is the most common term that is widely accepted and used. TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas Welding.

TIG welding's proper name is Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or "GTAW". This is the name the American Welding Society and other welding organizations refer to this process on their welding procedures. GTAW is also the abbreviation that welding engineers use to specify the welding process that is to be used on blue prints. When TIG welding was introduced around the 1940’s Helium gas was the primary shielding gas used in process. The term Heliarc welding was the common phrase used back in the day and now is a registered trademark “GENUINE HELIARC”, it now owned by ESAB welding equipment. Most veteran welders refer to TIG welding as Heliarc welding. When someone refers to TIG welding as Heliarc, it’s pretty safe to assume either they have a lot of experience, or apprenticed under a journeyman welder who has been around. Although the Heliarc name used to refer to the use of Helium only, as the inert gas, Argon has largely replaced it. Helium is still used, but more now as part of a two Part mixture along with Argon when a deeper weld penetration is needed.

Why Tungsten is used to Weld


Tungsten Welding Rod

Since the name includes the term “Tungsten” and tungsten is what makes TIG welding possible, it is good to know what tungsten is. Tungsten is a very hard, slightly radioactive, and brittle metal. Its uses are limited compared to other metals. In TIG welding the tungsten is made into a non consumable electrode that is used to create the arc for TIG welding. Typical other uses for tungsten are in light bulbs,

heating elements, and rocket engines. Basically any place that requires a very high melting point or the need to pass electricity at a high temperature is needed. In the case of TIG welding the tungsten metal properties allows an arc to maintain a temperature up to 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit. A high melting point and excellent electrical conductivity keeps the tungsten electrode from burning up. The unique properties of tungsten allow welding with a hotter arc then the actual melting point of the tungsten. The tensile strength of tungsten is extremely high at up to 500,000 lb per square inch. When comparing it to commonly used steel, with 36,000 lb of tensile strength per square inch, tungsten is far stronger. Although the metal is very strong it is also brittle. It is not hard to break a tungsten electrode with just a tap of a hammer.

How TIG Welding Works

TIG welding requires three things, heat, shielding, and filler metal. The heat is produced by electricity passing through the tungsten electrode by creating an arc to the metal. The shielding comes from a compressed bottle of gas that flows to the weld area to protect it from air. The filler metal is just a wire that is dipped by hand into the arc and melted. The way these three things come together is pretty simple. First the welder turns on the gas flow, many times by a valve on the TIG torch itself. The gas begins to flow and starts protecting the weld area from the air. The torch is held over the weld joint just far enough for the torch not to touch the metal. Then the welder presses a foot pedal and the TIG torches tungsten electrode starts an arc. Once the arc is started the two pieces of metal begin to melt by creating a puddle of metal. Once the puddle is established the welder with the other hand starts filling the joint by manually dipping a welding wire into the arc to fill the joint. Ultimately this process creates a single piece of metal.

TIG Power Supplies

TIG welding power supplies are usually Stick welding power supplies. The main difference between SMAW welding power supply and TIG power supply are the bells and whistles TIG welding sometimes requires. A basic TIG torch can be added to a Stick welding power supply and it will weld fine. Both power supplies are constant amperage power supplies. Meaning they keep the amperage consistent and the heat settings are regulated in amperage. The voltage on these power supplies will vary depending on the length of the arc.

TIG Welding Aluminum

When TIG Welding aluminum, there are a few steps required to setup for it. First is the tungsten. The tungsten needs to be either pure Tungsten or Zirconium Tungsten. The tungsten also needs a ball shape at the end of the rod to spread the heat properly. The second is the current type and that is aluminum always welds with A/C (alternating current). Welding aluminum always requires a high frequency start from either a high production button or a foot pedal operated TIG torch. The main difference when welding aluminum verses other metals is how the puddle looks. Aluminum has a shiny puddle that does not glow. It looks like tinfoil moving. When welding aluminum, overheating of the metal must be avoided. It’s real easy to keep welding and all of a sudden the whole weld area just drops to the floor.

TIG Welding Anodized Aluminum

When TIG welding small diameter thin gage aluminum, many people like to use a high production button. The purpose for the button is to bump the weld. What that means is basically spot welding the area to be welded. This technique is typically used to weld anodized aluminum. In the skylight industry many architects and/or customers specify anodized aluminum to protect the aluminum from corrosion. Anodized aluminum has a coating that makes it difficult to weld. Welding anodized aluminum requires two steps. The first step is to spot weld the area to be joined and add filler wire. This weld is less then acceptable looking because the anodized coating has not melted properly. The second step is to spot or bump weld around the same weld without adding filler wire. This does is melts the anodized coating into the weld. After that the weld is painted with weld paint to protect it from corrosion.

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Trituff Copolyester Passes 267 lb/
36" ASTM Drop Test

A new, pending ASTM skylight fall protection drop test requires dropping a 267 lb sand filled canvas bag with a 5.5" bull nose from a height of 36" on the skylight glazing. As evidenced by this video Trituff Coployester passes the test. The total impact force and pressure developed in this test is 2,278.6 foot pounds and 95.9 lb per square inch.

Tufflite Heavy Weather / High Security Polycarbonate Takes a Tromping

Rick Beets, Bristolite President, demonstrates the resilience of Tufflite for customers. This Tufflite model HWHS (Heavy Weather High Security) skylight is Miami Dade County Hurricane Zone Approved NOA # 10-0216.02 and Florida Building Code Approved # FL14006.

Tufflite Heavy Weather / High Security Polycarbonate Takes a Beating

Rick Beets, Bristolite President, demonstrates the impact resistance of Tufflite for customers. This Tufflite model HWHS (Heavy Weather High Security) skylight is Miami Dade County Hurricane Zone Approved NOA# 10-0216.02 and Florida Building Code Approved # FL14006.

Energy Star Fiberlite CC1 Fire Resistance

Energy Star Fiberlite, Trituff Copolyester and Tufflite Polycarbonate are all CC1 Fire Rated.

Custom Glass Skylight Positive Load Cycling after Large Missile Impact Test

Positive load cycling from 10.30 psf to 51.38 psf after large missile impact test. This model 1000 custom glass skylight series is Miami Dade County Hurricane Zone Approved NOA # 07-0524.05.

Custom Glass Skylight Positive and Negative Load Cycling

Positive load cycling from 10.30 psf to 51.38 psf and negative load cycling from 20.6 psf to 34.3 psf. This model 1000 custom glass skylight series is Miami Dade County Hurricane Zone Approved NOA # 07-0524.05.

Custom Glass Skylight Negative Load Cycling

Negative load cycling from 20.6 psf to 34.3 psf after multiple large missile impact tests. This model 1000 custom glass skylight series is Miami Dade County Hurricane Zone Approved NOA # 07-0524.05.

Custom Glass Skylight Large Missile Impact Test

Large missile impact test requires firing a 9 lb missile at a velocity of 49 fps to 50 fps at a distance of 17 ft from the skylight. This model 1000 custom glass skylight series is Miami Dade County Hurricane Zone Approved NOA # 07-0524.05.

Custom Glass Skylight Large Missile Impact Test

Large missile impact test requires firing a 9 lb missile at a velocity of 49 fps to 50 fps at a distance of 17 ft from the skylight. This model 1000 custom glass skylight series is Miami Dade County Hurricane Zone Approved NOA # 07-0524.05.

20 Year Old Energy Star Fiberlite
Supports 5,000 lb

20 year old Energy Star Fiberlite supports 5,000 lb in a concentrated (1 sq ft) load test by an independent 3rd party testing laboratory.

Trituff Copolyester Supports 1,950 lb

Trituff Copolyester supports 1,950 lb in a concentrated (1 sq ft) load test by an independent 3rd party testing laboratory.

Tufflite Heavy Weather / High Security Polycarbonate Negative Load Cycling

Negative 19.5 psf to 32.5 psf load cycling. This Tufflite model HWHS (Heavy Weather High Security) skylight is Miami Dade County Hurricane Zone Approved NOA # 10-0216.02 and Florida Building Code Approved # FL14006.

Tufflite Heavy Weather / High Security Polycarbonate Positive Load Cycling

Positive 11.0 psf to 55.0 psf load cycling. This Tufflite model HWHS (Heavy Weather High Security) skylight is Miami Dade County Hurricane Zone Approved NOA # 10-0216.02 and Florida Building Code Approved # FL14006.

Tufflite Heavy Weather / High Security Polycarbonate Negative Load Cycling

Negative 19.5 psf to 32.5 psf load cycling. This Tufflite model HWHS (Heavy Weather High Security) skylight is Miami Dade County Hurricane Zone Approved NOA # 10-0216.02 and Florida Building Code Approved # FL14006.

Tufflite Heavy Weather / High Security
Positive and Negative Load Cycling

Positive 11.0 psf to 55.0 psf and negative 19.5 psf to 32.5 psf load cycling. This Tufflite model HWHS (Heavy Weather High Security) skylight is Miami Dade County Hurricane Zone Approved NOA # 10-0216.02 and Florida Building Code Approved # FL14006.

Tufflite Heavy Weather / High Security Polycarbonate Negative Load Cycling

Negative 19.5 psf to 32.5 psf load cycling. This Tufflite model HWHS (Heavy Weather High Security) skylight is Miami Dade County Hurricane Zone Approved NOA # 10-0216.02 and Florida Building Code Approved # FL14006.

Tufflite Heavy Weather / High Security Polycarbonate
Positive and Negative Load Cycling

Positive 11.0 psf to 55.0 psf and negative 19.5 psf to 32.5 psf load cycling. This Tufflite model HWHS (Heavy Weather High Security) skylight is Miami Dade County Hurricane Zone Approved NOA # 10-0216.02 and Florida Building Code Approved # FL14006.

Gladiator Safety Screen
Supports 600 lb Static Load

Gladiator Safety Screen installed on a wood curb supports two 300 lb loads in opposing corners.

Gladiator Safety Screen
Supports 867 lb Static Load

Gladiator Safety Screen installed on a wood curb supports two 300 lb loads in opposing corners and a 267 lb load in the center for a total static load of 867 lb

Gladiator Safety Screen
Passes 267 lb / 36" ASTM Drop Test

A new, pending ASTM skylight fall protection drop test requires dropping a 267 lb sand filled canvas bag with a 5.5" bull nose from a height of 36" on the skylight glazing. As evidenced by this video our Gladiator Safety Screen passes the test. The total impact force and pressure developed in this test is 2,278.6 foot pounds and 95.9 lb per square inch.

Gladiator Safety Screen
Passes 267 lb / 36" ASTM Drop Test

A new, pending ASTM skylight fall protection drop test requires dropping a 267 lb sand filled canvas bag with a 5.5" bull nose from a height of 36" on the skylight glazing. As evidenced by this video our Gladiator Safety Screen passes the test. The total impact force and pressure developed in this test is 2,278.6 foot pounds and 95.9 lb per square inch.

Tufflite Heavy Weather / High Security Polycarbonate Large Missile Impact Test

Large missile impact test requires firing a 9 lb missile at a velocity of 49 fps to 50 fps at a distance of 17 ft from the skylight. This Tufflite model HWHS (Heavy Weather High Security) skylight is Miami Dade County Hurricane Zone Approved NOA # 10-0216.02 and Florida Building Code Approved # FL14006.

Tufflite Heavy Weather / High Security Polycarbonate Large Missile Impact Test

Large missile impact test requires firing a 9 lb missile at a velocity of 49 fps to 50 fps at a distance of 17 ft from the skylight. This Tufflite model HWHS (Heavy Weather High Security) skylight is Miami Dade County Hurricane Zone Approved NOA # 10-0216.02 and Florida Building Code Approved # FL14006.