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The Science Of Modern Welding
Mar 13, 2016

Many people think of welding as just another industrial job, like operating a jackhammer or a fork lift. But modern welding is much more than that. Welding is an art, and a science, and a high-paying career all in one.

 

At its essence, welding is the joining of two materials, usually metals or thermoplastics. This is generally accomplished by melting the two pieces of material to be joined, and adding a filler material to produce a molten pool, known as the weld pool.

 

Once the welding arc is removed the pool cools, forming a joint between the two workpieces that is both strong and highly durable.

 

This welding process can be accomplished by a number of different methods. One primary difference in these methods is the energy source used for welding - an electric arc, gas flame, laser, even ultrasound waves.

 

Another distinction in welding is the process by which the weld pool is formed. Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) - more commonly referred to as TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding - is an arc welding process that uses a nonconsumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. In TIG welding, a shielding gas is used to protect the weld area against atmospheric contamination.

 

Energy is supplied by a constant-current welding power supply, and the end result is a conduction of highly-ionized gas and metal vapors (also known as plasma) across the welding arc.

 

Another popular category is Gas Metal Arc Welding, or GMAW. This process is more commonly referred to as MIG (metal inert gas) welding, where a welding gun is used to administer a wire electrode and shielding gas to the welding arc. Power is usually supplied by a direct current, constant-voltage power supply, but AC or constant current systems can also be used.

 

Stick welding is another welding process that’s commonly used by today’s welders. Also known as SMAW (shielded metal arc welding), stick welding uses a strong electric current to produce an arc between the welding material and a consumable electric rod (ie the stick). The rod is made of steel, and is coated with a flux material that vaporizes into CO2 gas that forms a protective barrier around the weld pool.

 

These are the primary forms of modern welding, although there are others, including oxy acetylene gas, laser welding, and plasma cutters.