Types, Electrode Selection, and Tips for Mastering TIG Welding

Published on 24 January 2024

5 min

                              

TIG  Welding:    A  Guide  to  its  Types,  Selection

and Use

Tungsten Inert Gas or TIG welding is a welding technique that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce a weld. The process is also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) and is commonly used in welding applications that require precision and high-quality welds.

In this article, we will discuss the different types of TIG welding, how to select the right tungsten electrode type, and how to use TIG welding effectively.
But before that, let us understand some basics about the base metal of this process - Tungsten.

What is Tungsten Used for?

Tungsten is a metal that is used in many industrial applications, including TIG welding. It is valued for its high melting point, which makes it an ideal material for the various tungsten electrode types used in welding. Tungsten is also used in the production of filaments for incandescent light bulbs, electrical contacts, and X-ray tubes.

Types of TIG Welding

Traditionally, there are two main types of TIG welding: AC and DC.

AC welding is used for welding aluminium and magnesium alloys. This welding process is used to produce a balanced heat output on both the electrode and the workpiece. This results in a stable arc and good penetration.

DC welding is used for welding steel, stainless steel, and other metals. It produces a greater heat output on the workpiece than on the electrode. This makes it easier to weld thicker metals.

While these two TIG welding types, each with a different (and traditional) Tungsten electrode type have been used for decades, they aren’t commonly used now for modern TIG welding processes. With modernisation and complete migration to inverter-based power sources, the pure Tungsten used for AC and Tungsten + 2% Thorium for DC have been replaced by better, superior blend electrodes.

Selecting the Right Contemporary Tungsten Electrode Type

There are several types of tungsten electrodes available and choosing the right tungsten electrode is essential for producing high-quality TIG welds.

Pure tungsten electrodes were used for AC TIG welding of aluminium and magnesium alloys, while thoriated tungsten electrodes were used for DC TIG welding of steel and other metals. However, as we saw, they have been gradually but surely replaced by superior electrodes, such as 2% lanthanated tungsten, 2% ceriated tungsten, rare earth tungsten, zirconiated tungsten and so on.

2% ceriated and 2% lanthanated tungsten electrodes are used for both AC and DC TIG welding of steel, stainless steel, and other metals.

The 2% lanthanated tungsten electrode, also called a true all-purpose electrode, offers amazing arc-starting properties, ensures stable arc at high and low currents, and can transmit high currents with no spitting.

The 2% ceriated tungsten electrode is the second-best choice for all-purpose welding applications, ensuring excellent arc (start + restart) characteristics and no spitting. It is the perfect choice for medium-current and low-current welding across a majority of popular metals.

Mostly preferred for automated welding techniques, rare earth tungsten (chartreuse) electrodes offer the best arc start characteristics at low currents on all metals.

A modern-day alternative to pure tungsten used in AC welding, the zirconiated tungsten electrode is great for welding magnesium, aluminium and their alloys. With high current-carrying properties, it offers higher stability and better arc starts than pure tungsten.

Using TIG Welding Effectively

TIG welding requires high skill and precision to produce high-quality welds. The following tips can help you use TIG welding effectively:

  1. Use the right tungsten electrode type for producing high-quality TIG welds.
  2. Use the right welding wire that is compatible with your TIG welding machine. There are many welding wire manufacturers to choose from.
  3. Clean the workpiece before welding. Dirt, grease, and other contaminants can affect the quality of the weld.
  4. Use the right welding technique as TIG welding requires a steady hand and a consistent welding technique to produce high-quality welds.

Final Words

TIG welding is a versatile and effective welding technique that produces high-quality welds. Choosing the right tungsten electrode, welding wire, and welding technique is essential for producing high-quality welds. If you are looking for a reliable TIG welding supplier in India, D&H Sécheron is an excellent choice.
D&H Sécheron is one of the leading welding companies in India, offering a range of welding solutions, including TIG welding equipment and supplies.

Get in touch with us today to learn more.

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