Welding is a fabrication process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence. This is often donebymelting the workpieces and adding a filler material to form a pool of molten material (the weld pool) that cools to become a strong joint, with pressuresometimes used in conjunction with heat, or by itself, to produce the weld. This is in contrast with soldering and brazing, which involve melting a lower-melting-point material between the workpieces to form a bond between them, without melting the work pieces.
Some of the best known welding methods include:
- Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) – also known as “stick welding”, uses an electrode that has flux, the protectant for the puddle, around it. The electrode holder holds the electrode as it slowly melts away. Slagprotects the weld puddle from atmospheric contamination.
- Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) – also known as TIG (tungsten, inert gas), uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The weld area is protected from atmospheric contamination by an inert shielding gas such as Argon or Helium.
- Gas metal arc welding (GMAW) – commonly termed MIG (metal, inert gas), uses a wire feeding gun that feeds wire at an adjustable speed and sprays an argon-based shielding gas or a mix of argon and carbon dioxide (CO2) over the weld puddle to protect it from atmospheric contamination.
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