The term “welding” refers to coalescing materials like thermoplastics or metals to join them seamlessly. Welding requires both pressure and heat to be applied to the materials which are being joined as well as a filler material which created a weld pool that cools, forming a very strong joint.
Over the years, the welding process has evolved a lot, and there are now many different techniques for welding. You need to choose the right one for the job in hand so you can produce the best result. Let’s take a look at the different kinds of welding available.
When you arc weld, you need electrodes and a power supply to make a welding arc between the material which is being welded and the electrode. This melts the materials, enabling them to cool down then fuse together. This kind of welding process is the most popular and it includes three of the most common welding types – stick, TIG and MIG welding. There are both non-consumable and consumable electrode methods.
Stick welding is quite archaic these days. It is a manual form of welding which relies on consumable electrodes which are coated in flux before being used to lay down the weld.
The process is known as stick welding since it uses welding rods or sticks made from flux and filler material. The flux protects the weld’s molten metal while the filler joins the metal pieces together. Stick welding is affordable and requires only minimal equipment. Unfortunately, however, the final weld quality isn’t always perfect since it can have shallow penetration, porosity, vulnerability to severe weather, reduced durability and cracking. Automotive, construction, plumbing and refrigeration fields still use stick welding techniques.
This form of welding is also very popular. Standing for Metal Inert Gas welding, MIG welding combines two metal pieces together using a wire connected to the electrode current. The wire passes through a welding stick shielded by inert gas. One advantage MIG welding has over different welding techniques is its user-friendliness and the lower amount of precision needed by the operator to make a decent weld. MIG welding is more sensitive to wind, dust, rain and other external factors. Also, the operator needs to find-tune the wire speed and voltage. It is a popular kind of welding in automotive repairs since it provides a sturdy, strong weld if done correctly.
Flux Cored Arc Welding
Similar to MIG welding, Flux Cored Arc Welding uses tubular wire which is filled with flux. It isn’t always necessary to use shielding gas with this type of welding depending on which filler is used. Simple to learn and very affordable, flux cored arc welding is good for beginners, even though its results aren’t always aesthetically pleasing.
Submerged Arc Welding
Usually used on nickel-based and ferrous steel alloys, submerged arc welding is popular thanks to its minimal fumes emissions. Involving minimal preparation, it results in a deep weld, making it efficient and quick.
Tungsten Inert Gas welding is a non-consumable technique which uses argon gas to produce a high quality, strong weld. This form of welding creates heat by running the electricity current through the tungsten electrode. Suitable for use in all kinds of applications, TIG is used commonly to weld stainless steel as well as copper, nickel, aluminum and magnesium.
This is a single-pass efficient welding process generally used on non-ferrous thick materials. It is a complex technique which requires a lot of skill and is frequently used in the aerospace and maritime industries.
This is a very old technique otherwise known as oxyacetylene welding. It may be old but remains in use today in tube and pipe welding.
Solid State Welding
This form of welding is produced by using temperatures that are below the materials’ melting point and requires no filler. Pressure, time and temperature each have a key role to play in joining the metals without melting them significantly.
There are many different types of welding and different types require different kinds of welding equipment, some of which are easy to use and others of which are more complex and need a higher level of skill. Knowing which is best suited to each project is key to maximum welding success.
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