Tungsten Welding Electrode
Commercial welders know that the tungsten electrode is very important for making quality welding, yet this is often overlooked by the industry in general. People acknowledge the importance of the ignition device on the air bags in the automobiles and of the ripcord of a parachute, yet not all people see the tungsten electrode as important. A commercial welder often performs automatic or manual welding and it is in this zone that the manufacturing welding companies should improve the welding output consistency.
There are a few things that the commercial welders have to consider concerning the tungsten welding electrode and they include electrode diameter, the sharp / blunt electrodes and the safety issues.
The electrodes with larger diameters, as commercial welders know, have longer life. However in general they are more difficult to start an arc with especially if it is at low amperages. The rue of the commercial welder should follow is – the diameter of the electrode multiplied by 1500 should equal the average amperage for the electrode life.
As far as the sharp / blunt electrodes are concerned – the bunt electrodes have longer life and offer weld penetration that is deeper at the same levels of amperage and in general they can handle amperage levels that are higher. At the same time the sharp electrodes use less arc wander at lower amperages and have a wider arc and arc starting that is more consistent. As a rule, the commercial welders when the have higher currents they use larger angles.
Safety issues – the commercial welders that use plasma welding or perform GTAW welding know that the electrode they are using includes the radioactive element thorium, which is added to the tungsten to make a better arc starting and to achieve better welding characteristics.
Even that the radioactivity here is low, still it can be dangerous, especially if the radioactive dust is collected during the grinding of the electrodes to a certain point. Nowadays there are new tungsten materials which come with better arc welding characteristics and are safer as they are not radioactive.