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What is Arc Welding?

What is Arc Welding?
May 12, 2023
Paige Lichtenberger

Welding is a fusion process in which two objects, usually metals, are permanently joined. What is arc welding, then? There are many different welding processes, and arc welding is one that uses a power supply to create an electric arc between the base material and a consumable or non-consumable electrode using alternating or direct currents (AC and DC, respectively). That arc creates intense heat (around 6500 degrees F), which enables the melting and joining of metals.

What Are the 4 Types of Arc Welding?

Just as there are many different types of welding processes, there are many different types of arc welding processes, broadly categorized by whether they use consumable or non-consumable electrodes. However, there are 4 main types, and they are typically the answer to “What are the 4 types of arc welding?”

Here are the 4 main types of arc welding:

  1. Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW): Inexpensive and easy to learn, this process is a great one for beginning welders as they start their careers. A consumable electrode is used, and the process also uses a shielding gas as protection from contamination of the base metals.
  2. Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW/MIG): Also known as Metal Inert Gas Welding or MIG welding, this process uses a thin wire as a consumable electrode. As it’s fed through the welding device and toward the welding site, the wire heats up. This process also uses shielding gasses to protect the base metals, and it’s a highly popular choice in the automotive and construction industries.
  3. Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW/TIG): Also called Tungsten Inert Gas Welding or TIG welding, this is the only one of the 4 main types of arc welding that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to create the arc. To protect the weld and the molten pool from atmospheric contamination, this process also uses a shielding gas.
  4. Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW): Here, the arc is between a metal rod and the work piece, and both are melted into a weld pool. The melting forms gas and slag that protect the weld pool from contamination by the surrounding atmosphere.

What Is Arc Welding Used For?

Because of its versatility, arc welding is in high demand from many different industries. So what is arc welding used for specifically?

In the aerospace industry, arc welding helps with manufacturing and repairing aircraft, joining sheeting, and precision work. The automotive industry relies on arc welding for bonding exhaust systems and hydraulic lines and for repairs. Construction sites, mechanical works, and shipyards are other examples of industries that use arc welding. Other uses across different industries include heavy equipment repair, steel erection, and pipeline welding.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Arc Welding

Ceramic coating benefits include all of the following:

  • Advantages: The cost of the equipment is relatively low, making arc welding a more affordable welding process than some other types. It also requires less equipment, contributing further to the affordability. The process is also portable, and when shielding gasses aren’t required, it can be performed under almost any weather conditions, with spatter not being an issue.
  • Disadvantages: Arc welding produces more waste than some other processes do, and it can be difficult to join thin pieces. This welding process also requires high levels of skill and training for the welders.

Clearly, though, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks in many cases, with arc welding’s high demand across multiple industries providing the proof.

Find Arc Welding Services Near You

With the question of what is arc welding answered now, you may find that your business would benefit from arc welding services. The next step, finding an arc welding shop near you, can consume valuable time and energy. And that’s where Sustainment can help.

Learn more about the different types of welding. Read this guide on What is Resistance Welding and this one on How to Find the Best Welding Shop Near Me.

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