Commercial divers who perform hyperbaric welding are some of the most skilled, and highest-paid commercial divers and welders. This is a field that requires full knowledge of the art and science of welding in all its aspects, as well as excellent all-around diving skills and knowledge.
What is Hyperbaric Welding?
Welding underwater can be accomplished using one of two primary methods: wet and dry. The dry method is called “hyperbaric welding.” So let’s take a look at this hyperbaric welding stuff.
The term “hyperbaric” in this context refers to the fact that a hyperbaric chamber is used to provide a dry, protected environment in which to do the welding. This is why you will also hear this technique referred to as “dry welding” as opposed to “wet welding,” which is done in the water itself.
The hyperbaric welding chamber can range from something small which only encloses the electrode and the weld site to a large diving bell or habitat which may have room for up to three divers. The type of chamber or habitat used will depend on the nature or scope of the project and technical challenges presented.
Several advantages of dry welding justify the extra time and expense to do hyperbaric welding compared to the wet technique.
The environmental control provided by the habitat facilitates a much higher quality weld. Another advantage is that hyperbaric welding will allow for close inspection and non-destructive testing of the welds and associated components. This allows for much higher quality control, and surface crews can monitor the process and help with technical issues as they arise.
Finally, and probably most important to consider, dry or hyperbaric welding is much safer than the alternative. Wet welding potentially exposes the diver to electrical shock and explosive gases while the result is often a lower quality weld.
Training for Hyperbaric Welding
To become certified as an underwater welder and learn how to do hyperbaric welding, it is essential to get trained at a high-quality underwater welding school. Marine welding training encompasses both commercial dive training and training in welding techniques. Certifications with rigorous standards are required for commercial diving and welding.
Hyperbaric Welding Job Opportunities
If you choose to pursue a career in hyperbaric welding, you are likely to find yourself in some of the most exciting and challenging situations imaginable. The applications for hyperbaric welding span several major industries, and the locations where it can be performed cover every part of the globe, from the arctic to the warmest oceans.
Marine industries employ hyperbaric welders for jobs such as salvage operations, shipbuilding, ship maintenance, cruise shipbuilding, and maintenance.
Oil and gas companies need hyperbaric welders for pipeline construction and repair.
Civil engineering and civil construction companies use hyperbaric welders to construct, repair, and maintain dams and bridges.
The nuclear industry uses hyperbaric welders to build, maintain, and repair parts of nuclear plants.
The military has many applications for hyperbaric welders, and often contract for these services with private firms.
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