Can You Weld Black Iron Pipe? Is it Safe?
While it might not look weldable, the black iron pipe can be welded. Black iron does not have zinc galvanization, meaning you can weld it without creating zinc-oxide as you weld. Zinc-oxide is a toxin that can have adverse health effects on welders. Instead, these pipes have an iron oxide coating, which can be welded with no issues.
Many welders have their preferred methods for different kinds of materials, but arc welding is the best option for black iron pipes. Arc welding uses electricity or high-pressure gas to bond two metal pieces
Besides being weldable, a black iron pipe can also be attached to other metals more quickly than many people assume since it is steel. But, when welding black iron pipe, it is essential to clean the areas you intend to weld thoroughly with a sander or wire wheel.
What is Black Iron Pipe?
Although it might look different given the black coating, the black iron pipe is just a standard steel pipe. The black color comes from iron-oxide that forms on the pipe’s surface during production. This coating is meant to prevent corrosion and keep the tube feeling cooler.
In most instances, these pipes are used for propane and natural gas transportation in many homes, but some older houses utilize them as water lines.
What makes black iron pipes ideal for these applications is the fact they are made to be seamless. Also, many welders prefer these pipes over others since they provide more options for combining them with other fittings and seams.
Difference between Black Iron Pipe and Galvanized Pipes
Black iron pipes are the standard gas lines in most homes, while galvanized steel pipes are what many builders prefer as they are highly durable. If you are thinking of using either for your project, here is how they differ.
1. Coating: The main difference between these two pipes is the coating or galvanization process. Black iron pipes are made of steel but with an iron-oxide coating at the top that forms from oxidation during the production process. Galvanized pipes, on the other hand, have a zinc coating that can be poisonous during welding.
2. Corrosion Resistance: Black iron pipes are more likely to rust than galvanized ones, and this is despite the fact their coating provides some level of protection. Galvanization provides much better rust resistance, and most of these pipes can last up to 50 years before rusting.
3. Primary Application: The primary use of black iron pipe is to carry gas through homes and other premises. On the other hand, the primary use of galvanized pipes is to supply water to homes, given zinc prevents mineral deposits that can cause clogs.
4. Cost: Since galvanized pipes undergo an expensive galvanization or coating process, they tend to be more costly than black iron pipes that do not have any coating.
Risks of Welding with Black Iron Pipe
Although black iron pipe is weldable and reasonably easy to weld, it is essential to note the job comes with some risks that include the following.
1. Welding Shock: Shock is perhaps the most dangerous thing a welder can encounter when welding. It occurs when there is an issue with the equipment, working in dirt/wet conditions, and sometimes also occurs through the protective welding gear.
2. Fumes and Gases: Since black iron pipes do not have a coating, they will not produce the toxic fumes you get from galvanized steel. However, welding these pipes still emits some gases and fumes, which can have adverse health effects in the long run.
3. Bodily Injury: Although bodily injuries are not a unique risk for welding black iron pipes, they are still a significant one you need to watch out for. Like any welding job, there is a risk of things like welders flash and injuries from sparks or flying welding debris.
The black iron pipe comes in handy for various projects, such as making gas lines for homes or businesses. While these pipes might not look weldable, they can be welded with ease and will attach well to various materials since they are just regular steel pieces with an iron-oxide coating.