In arc welding, the intense heat needed to melt metal is produced by an electric arc. The arc is formed between the actual work and an electrode (stick or wire) that is manually or mechanically guided along the joint. The electrode can either be a rod with the purpose of simply carrying the current between the tip and the work. Or, it may be a specially prepared rod or wire that not only conducts the current but also melts and supplies filler metal to the joint. Most welding in the manufacture of steel products uses the second type of electrode.
Basic Welding Circuit :
The basic arc-welding circuit is illustrated in Fig. 1. An AC or DC power source, fitted with whatever controls may be needed, is connected by a work cable to the work piece and by a "hot" cable to an electrode holder of some type, which makes an electrical contact with the welding electrode.
An arc is created across the gap when the energized circuit and the electrode tip touches the work piece and is withdrawn, yet still with in close contact.
The arc produces a temperature of about 6500ï¿½F at the tip. This heat melts both the base metal and the electrode, producing a pool of molten metal sometimes called a "crater." The crater solidifies behind the electrode as it is moved along the joint. The result is a fusion bond.