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What is Flux-Cored Arc Welding?

welding termsFlux-Cored Arc Welding was introduced in the 1950s.  It is a process that is very closely related to Metal Inert Gas Welding.  Both processes use similar equipment and continuous wire feeds, and both MIGW and FCAW use the same type of power supply.  Flux-Cored Arc Welding typically uses a shielding gas similar to the MIGW process.   However, Flux-Cored Arc Welding may also be performed without a shielding gas. Additionally, this type of welding is a much more productive process than MIG welding.  In fact, FCAW is the most productive of the manual welding processes.

How Flux-Cored Arc Welding Works

During the Flux-Cored Arc Welding process, an electric arc is used to unite a continuous filler metal electrode with the base material.  (Note: The MIG welding method uses a solid metal electrode, whereas, the FCAW process uses a hollow tubular electrode that is filled with flux.)  The flux-filled metal wire electrode automatically feeds through the center of the gun using the same type of equipment that is used in Metal Inert Gas Welding. The use of the gas shield supplied by the gun protects the weld pool from oxidation during the welding process.  The flux that is inside the electrode forms a slag (smelting refuse) that covers and protects the weld from the atmosphere.  The shield that is provided by the flux allows the welding procedure to be more easily executed outdoors, even in the wind.

The Suitability of Flux-Cored Arc Welding

Flux-Cored Arc Welding is a very flexible welding method.  This type of welding is suitable for all position welding with the proper filler metal and flux composition.  The high deposition rates of FCAW contribute to the productivity of this process, which provides quality welds with excellent weld appearance.  It is often used for welding thicker sections and has the ability to produce a fully-penetrated weld on both sides of half-inch plate in a single pass. 

The materials that work best with Flux-Cored Arc Welding are carbon steel, stainless steel, and low-alloy steels.  Unfortunately, most non-ferrous metals, including aluminum, cannot be welded using the FCAW method.

Because of its high welding speed and the ability to be performed outdoors, even in windy conditions, Flux-Cored Arc Welding is frequently used in the construction industry.

Related Article - Flux-Cored Wire versus Solid Wire

Learn more about Submerged ARC Flux

How Flux-Cored Arc Welding Works


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