There are many different types of welding processes for many different types of metalworks. Learning about these different welding methods and applications is essential for those seeking welding careers and for those entering the field of skilled trades. If you are one of these future welders, you should learn about some of the kinds of welding techniques currently available.
Common Welding Processes
Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW | MIG)
This is a very common welding process known as MIG/MAG/GMAW. It is the main welding process. Gas metal arc welding uses two independently operating wires, each with their respective power sources, operating modes and feed units. GMAW processes usually create their welds in areas where the tandem wires are along the joint line. GMAW has many applications and is the preferred welding style in the fields of construction, shipbuilding, automotive and offshore drilling.
Plasma Arc Welding (PAW)
Plasma arc welding, or PAW, is the process of creating an electric arc between sintered tungsten (or another electrode) and a given workpiece. All arc welding techniques involve plasma to some degree. This is because arc welding produces partially ionized gases and produces fully ionized gases in the case of PAW. The plasma is constricted in PAW by a fine-bore copper nozzle and exits this nozzle at speeds that nearly reach the speed of sound. PAW has applications in plasma-cutting, metallurgy, deep-sea cutting, heating materials and depositing diamond films.
Atomic Hydrogen Welding (AHW)
Atomic hydrogen welding was invented in the previous century by Irving Langmuir. An electric arc is created within an atmospheric hydrogen shield in this welding technique. The arc passes through the field of hydrogen molecules and it breaks them up. These hydrogen molecules recombine and create astounding levels of heat in the process, ranging from 3,400 to 4,000 degrees Celsius. This method is also called AHW or arc-atom welding. AHW has been replaced by more modern methods in the welding industry. AHW can still be used to produce stainless steel and other types of metal alloys.
Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
Known in the welding trade as stick welding or manual metal arc welding/MMA, shielded metal arc welding is a type of manual arc welding method. A consumable electrode and the workpiece melt after an electric arc shoots between them. This interaction between the electrode and workpiece creates a weld pool that eventually cools into a joint. The electrode’s flux coating serves as a shielding gas against contamination from the environment. It has many applications in the fields of industrial fabrication, steel construction, alloy production, iron production and non-ferrous fabrication.
Gas Tungsten-Arc Welding (GTAW)
Also referred to as tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, this is a welding process that uses a tungsten electrode to create a weld in a helium or argon (an inert gas) environment. Either of these gases can shield the weld area from atmospheric contamination such as oxidation. Gas tungsten arc welding is usually applied to weld sections of copper alloys, magnesium, stainless steel and aluminum. The aerospace industry makes heavy use of this process as well as the fields of maintenance, filler metal alloy production and nuclear canister safety.
ETI School of Skilled Trades Welding Program
ETI School of Skilled Trades can teach you everything you need to know about the different types of welding processes. If you want to learn more about the ETI’s Welding Program, welding jobs or welding careers, fill out the form below and ask us any questions you may have. You can also reach us at (888) 830-7678.