Types of welding electrodes
Welding depends on the electrodes for the creation of the electric arc, if these important items of equipment are not quality, then the whole process could suffer. Welding electrodes consists of metal wires covered in chemical coatings in order to prevent metal deterioration; this very structure makes the arc more stable or creates a better weld. There are several factors that determine the type of welding electrodes used: first of all the nature of the metal meant for the welding is crucial, then there are the machine and the work conditions as well. For instance, you cannot use the same welding electrodes for steel as for aluminum or brass.
Depending on their structure welding electrodes can be classified in consumable and non-consumable, the former are twice involved in the welding process, whether the latter contribute to it without suffering any changes. Some welding techniques require that the flux coating of the electrode be burned during the procedure: it may create smoke that shields the weld being made from the air around, or it can melt and mix with the metal for a better elimination of the impurities. According to a standard measurement, welding electrodes can be identified due to a numbering system that ranges from 1/16 to 5/16” in diameter; the best way to find the correct welding electrodes is to know which match the process you need them for.
One key-element for the safe preservation of the welding electrode properties is that it be kept dry, since humidity lowers the quality of the coating, which may finally result in a poor weld. This is why it is not uncommon to use special ovens to heat welding electrodes and eliminate all traces of humidity; this is the regular procedure when the electrodes have been exposed to a wet environment for more than several hours. You may also choose to deposit them in moisture proof containers in order to avoid future damage.
The metal-arc welding electrodes can also be classified according to the type of coating; thus we're talking about heavy and light coated electrodes and bare electrodes. The choice of the best type depends on several peculiarities, corrosion resistance is first on the list, followed by material ductility, the position of the weld and the strength necessary for the welding process. Choosing an inadequate type of welding electrodes may severely affect the quality of work.