Tungsten rods are a rare hard piece of metals which gets mined as tungsten ore. The metals are used for creating a wide array of alloys. Tungsten rod is incredible due to its high melting point and robustness when compared to other rods. Note that tungsten electrodes have a higher density. They are applied in several areas such as:
- Incandescent light bulb filaments
- Cathodes in the welding process
- x-ray tubes
- radiation shielding
- military applications
Tungsten in welding
Tungsten rod is used in welding works due to its higher melting point of up to 6192ºF or 3422ºC. The metal is characterized by a high melting point when compared to other metals. The tungsten products are fabricated by drawing, extruding, sintering, or by forging.
A high-quality electrode should have adequate quantity and evenly distributed oxides throughout the electrode. The best quality tungsten material guarantees superiority and consistency in the welding process and performance.
The Common Types of electrodes
The amperage, diameter, and composition of the electrode are based on the dimension and type of the material to be welded. Below are the main types of tungsten electrodes.
a. Electric-type W Green
- These electrodes don’t contain oxides
- Have a low arc starting capacity
- Poor amperage capacity and electrode life
- Good environmental characteristics
- It is mainly used in TIG
b. Electrode type WC20 grey
- Features an oxide of 1.8-2.2 %
- Have a good amperage capacity and electrode life
- They are environmentally friendly since they are radiation free
- They are mainly used in plasma welding, TIG welding, plasma spraying, and plasma cutting
- They are utilized for materials such as acid, rust, and heat resistant steel
- Can be used in Direct Current only
- The application of the ceriated electrode avoids radiation issues. For this reason, it has the best welding characteristics that can’t cause harm to the environment and people
c. Electrode type WL10 –black
- It has an average arc starting and can’t be used in plasma welding because of the auxiliary arc
- Mainly used in plasma cutting, plasma welding, keyhole plasma welding, and plasma spraying
- It uses both DC and AC currents
- These Electrode types are used in several applications such as joining technology for reedy plate high alloy steel, forging dies, aluminum cutting resurface valve welding, and plasma spraying of carbide, oxide, AI powder and nitride
d. Electrode type WZ8 white
- Has a better arc starting, amperage capacity and electrode life
- Works on AC only
- Used in TIG welding works
- Works well on metals such as nickel and nickel alloys, aluminum and aluminum alloys, magnesium and magnesium alloys, aluminum bronze
Once you have purchased a high-quality TIG welding equipment for your detailed projects, you will need to pick the bestrode. Whether you want to use DC or AC process for your welding project, here is a guide to help you buy the right TIG rods, comprising new tungsten rods that might be new to you.
Picking the correct color of the tungsten rod for the welding project
Each TIG rod comes with a unique color classification, which makes them be identified easily. Depending on electrode properties, welding professionals will get particular usefulness and applications that might work well for the specific rod. Types of electrodes include:
a. Green TIG welding rods
These are unalloyed tungsten rods that are primarily utilized for AC process in welding of magnesium and aluminum materials. They are widely used since they are affordable. Nevertheless, they tend to burn up faster than other alloy rods, so make sure you have many of them if you choose this type.
Many welders love using the unalloyed tungsten rods because they are perfect on the AC sine tendency welding process. They also make a hard, balled tip that leads to a steady arc. Apart from having a high rate of consumption, the rods do not start well as ceriated or thoriated electrodes.
b. Red thoriated electrodes
These are one of the most used electrodes since the two percent thorium combined with tungsten makes it versatile and durable. Welding professionals can drudge the tip of the electrodes to make a sharp edge to get a stable and long lasting arc. The finishing weld slick is clean because the electrodes produce fewer residues and thorium lets the electrode to have an easy arc start and high current carrying ability.
These TIG rods allow you to switch between DC and AC welding process. Welders use the thoriated electrodes on works that involve thin aluminum, carbon steel, titanium nickel, and stainless steel. However, welders should be cautious when using thorium electrodes since they are radioactive.
c. Orange ceriated electrodes
These electrodes have 2% ceriated material. They are perfect for direct current welding and low current applications. Because they can weld stainless steel, carbon steel, titanium, and nickel alloys, many welders have realized that it can work perfectly in place of thoriated rods.
Experts don’t recommend the ceriated electrode for welding projects at high amps because the temperature can affect the properties of the rod. Welding professionals like to use the ceriated rods at low temperatures for tiny, precise parts, welding a thin piece of metals and pipe fabricating.
d. Gold lanthanated rods
These TID electrodes worked well in DC and AC settings because the rods are balled or sharpened correspondingly based on the welding project. They can weld metal from square wave energy source, and they provide great arc stability and arc start.
Because of their versatility and durability, most welders prefer to use lanthanated as a substitute for the thoriated electrode. They are also nonradioactive components in the steel.
e. Brown zirconiated electrodes
These electrodes have less quantity of zirconium and are ideal for AC fabrication projects. Because zirconium us a hard metal that is resistant to cracking, it offers a steady arc and resistant to contamination. It also has the same amperage current like that of thoriated electrodes.
TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding is a famous form of welding that uses tungsten electrodes to join different metals. Note that the tungsten electrode is created from tungsten rods, and they are essential in the welding process since they channel the current needed to form an arc. So, make sure you choose the right electrode.