Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding is a popular process that uses a tungsten electrode to create an electric arc that melts the metal being welded. The tungsten electrode is a critical component of the TIG welding process, and different types of tungsten electrodes are available for use with other metals and welding applications.
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This article will explore the different types of TIG tungsten electrodes and their benefits.
Pure Tungsten Electrodes
Pure tungsten electrodes are made from 100% tungsten and are the most commonly used tungsten electrodes for TIG welding. Pure tungsten electrodes are best for welding aluminium, magnesium, and other non-ferrous metals.
Pure tungsten electrodes are not recommended for welding steel because they have a low melting point and can contaminate the metal, leading to arc wandering and tungsten inclusions in the weld.
Thoriated Tungsten Electrodes
Thoriated tungsten electrodes are made by adding a small amount of thorium oxide to the tungsten electrode. Thoriated tungsten electrodes have a higher melting point than pure tungsten electrodes, making them more suitable for welding steel and other ferrous metals. They are known to be more durable and longer-lasting than pure tungsten electrodes, making them a popular choice for TIG welding.
Ceriated Tungsten Electrodes
Ceriated tungsten electrodes are made by adding a small amount of cerium oxide to the tungsten electrode. Ceriated tungsten electrodes have a lower amperage range than thoriated ones and are a good option for welding thin metal sheets, tubing, and other small-diameter parts. They are also ideal for welding metals requiring low heat input, such as titanium and nickel alloys.
Lanthanated Tungsten Electrodes
Lanthanated tungsten electrodes are made by adding a small amount of lanthanum oxide to the tungsten electrode. Lanthanated tungsten electrodes have a higher amperage range than ceriated ones, making them suitable for welding thicker metal parts. They are also more resistant to arc wandering and have a longer lifespan than pure tungsten electrodes.
Zirconiated Tungsten Electrodes
Zirconiated tungsten electrodes are made by adding a small amount of zirconium oxide to the tungsten electrode. These electrodes have a higher amperage range than pure tungsten electrodes and are best suited for welding aluminium and magnesium alloys. They are also ideal for welding metals requiring high heat input, such as copper and brass.
The selection of the right tungsten electrode is crucial for the success of the TIG welding process. Each type of tungsten electrode has unique characteristics and is best suited for specific welding applications.
Pure tungsten electrodes are ideal for welding non-ferrous metals, while thoriated, ceriated, lanthanated, and zirconiated tungsten electrodes are best suited for welding ferrous metals and other materials.
Understanding the differences between these tungsten electrodes and their specific uses will help you choose the right electrode for your welding application and produce high-quality welds.
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