Welding is a versatile field, to get into this and to become a professional welder you need to have adequate knowledge about different welding procedures, types of welding rods, and their uses.There exist a vast range of electrodes, each electrode possesses its unique characteristic and is designed for a specific purpose.
The selection of appropriate electrodes is very crucial for any welding project, as wrong electrodes can damage the weld. Hence, this article will help you in learning different types of welding rods, sticks, their various functions, and coding.
What is a Welding Rod?
A welding rod also known as a welding electrode is used to adhere to two or more base metals. It is a metallic rod that comes in different coatings, diameters, and lengths. This welding rod creates an electric arc when current is passed through it hence generating enough heat to melt and fuse the base metal for the weld.
Additionally, the welding rod contains an outer coating that helps to protect the metal from any kind of damage, control penetration, make the slag removal easier, minimize the spatter, improve the weld, and stabilize the arc.
Several factors need to be taken into account before choosing the right electrode for any welding project. The selection of an appropriate welding rod depends on the following features, material of base metal, type of current being used and the thickness of base metal, etc.
Therefore, it is essential to have some information about welding rods because choosing the wrong one can deteriorate your whole welding process.
Consumable electrode used for Stick Welding is additionally classified into two categories:
As the name suggests it is a filler metal electrode that contains no covering. So, it is mostly used in situations where coated electrodes are not needed.
This electrode is mostly preferred by the welders. It has a flex coating and is further divided into three categories based on its coating factor. The coating factor is defined as the ratio of the core wire diameter to the electrode diameter. Following are the three categories:
- Light Coated Electrodes
- Medium Coated Electrodes
- Heavy Coated Electrodes
Light Coated Electrode:
As their name implies, these electrodes have a thin coating on their surface, applied by using a spray or brush. They possess a coating factor of 1.25. Its thin coating helps to reduce impurities such as oxide, phosphorus, sulfur. Furthermore, it also helps to enhance arc stability. A smooth and reliable weld bead is created with the help of light-coated electrodes. For example, Citobest electrode from AO
Moreover, due to its thin coating, the slag produced is not so thick. So slag is generated in a lesser quantity as compared to medium and heavy coated electrodes.
However, these electrodes are not suitable for high-demanding welding procedures e.g. welding of a cast iron.
Medium Coated Electrodes:
Medium coated electrodes are often used by professional welders. They possess a coating factor of 1.45 and have the ability to weld in all positions. For example, Overcord. Slag can be easily removed. Additionally, they are most commonly used in high-demanding welding procedures e.g. bridge and commercial building constructions etc.
High Coated Electrodes:
High Coated Electrodes possess the greatest coating factor 1.6 to 2.2. For example, citofine. These electrodes have a well-defined composition and are designed in three different types- Cellulose coating electrodes, Mineral coating electrodes, and electrodes with both cellulose and mineral coating.
What is Stick Welding?
Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) is also known as Stick Welding. It is the most common and widely used procedure in welding repair. As the electrode used in this process comes in the form of a “stick” therefore, the common word used by the industry for this type of welding is “Stick Welding”.
Stick Welding uses electricity (AC or DC) to generate heat that in turn melts the electrode and base metal to fuse the two surfaces. Following are the stick welding equipment:
- Stick Welding Electrodes/Rods
- Electrode/Rod Holder
- Constant Voltage Power Supply
- Group Clamp
These are the most commonly used welding rods that allow welding in all positions and contain a coating of high cellulose sodium. Hence, they are only suitable for DC+ power sources.
It can allow deeper penetration and can dig through rusty, oily, dirty, and corroded metal surfaces. Due to an extremely tight arc, these might be difficult to handle by inexperienced welders.
It is ideal for maintenance and repairing purposes and is most commonly used in piping, ships, bridges, water towers, buildings, tanks, pressure vessel fittings, etc.
It contains a high level of cellulose potassium coating, making it suitable for both AC and DC power sources. Hence, making it convenient to decide which current works the best.
Additionally, it allows penetration in all positions with minimal spatter, easily removable slag, and soft arc. Like 6010 it also allows deeper penetration, making it suitable to dig through dirty, greasy, and corroded metals.
As it generates flat weld beads, it’s only drawback can be ripple formation which can lead to somehow rough finishing.
It contains high iron powder content which increases the deposition rate and efficiency. These electrodes are suitable for both AC and DC power sources, with welding in all four positions. Additionally, it generates a quiet smooth arc with low spatter and medium arc penetration.
These electrodes produce stronger welds with high impact properties, having a tensile strength of up to 70000 psi. Therefore, it can be used on carbon, high carbon, high strength steel metals, and low alloy.
Moreover, they can be used in energy power plants, factories, powerhouses, and bridges, etc.
It is used for flat and horizontal welding, with AC and DC power sources. In addition, it contains high iron powder content for a high deposition rate with a smooth quiet arc and low penetration.
However, they produce better results with metals having thickness ½ in and steel plates having thickness ¼ in.
|AWS Classification||Tensile Strength||Coating|
|E6010||60,000 PSI||High Cellulose Sodium|
|E6011||60,000 PSI||High Cellulose Sodium|
|E6012||60,000 PSI||High Titania Sodium|
|E6013||60,000 PSI||High Titania Potassium|
|E7018||70,000 PSI||Iron Powder Low Hydrogen|
|E7024||70,000 PSI||Iron Powder Titania|
|AWS Classification||Weld Position||Weld Current|
|E6010||F, V, OH, H||DC+|
|E6011||F, V, OH, H||AC, DC+|
|E6012||F, V, OH, H||AC, DC-|
|E6013||F, V, OH, H||AC, DC+, DC-|
|E7018||F, V, OH, H||AC, DC+|
|E7024||H-Fillet, F||AC, DC+, DC-|
How to read welding sticks coding?
So, after having a better understanding of the basics, it’s time to delve into the welding sticks coding. It may seem confusing at first but once you get to know about its coding, the selection of electrodes will become easier.
This classification system which was developed by the American Welding Society is based on different factors like coating material, tensile strength, diameter, most suitable position to weld, etc.
Let us take E6013 as an example
Here E stands for electrode
The next two digits after E will indicate the tensile strength of the electrode. This tensile strength is multiplied by 1000 and is measured in psi. It means the tensile strength of the electrode in this example is 60 x 1000 = 60000 psi.
Now here 1 indicates the welding position. Welding position is indicated by the following digits
1 = Flat, Horizontal and Vertical position
2 = Flat and Horizontal position
4 = Flat, Horizontal and Vertically downward position
The fourth digit i.e. 3 indicates the type of current and coating. Here, digit 3 shows that the electrode is composed of high titania potassium with suitable current AC and DC.
|Fourth Digit||Welding Current |
|Type of Coating|
|0||dcsp||High Cellulose Sodium|
|1||ac, dcsp, dcrp||High Cellulose Potassium|
|2||ac, dcsp||Titania Sodium|
|3||ac, dcsp, dcrp||Titania Potassium|
|4||ac, dcsp, dcrp||Iron Powder-Titania|
|5||dcrp||Low Hydrogen Sodium|
|6||ac, dcrp||Low Hydrogen Potassium|
|7||ac, dcsp,||Iron oxide, powder potassium|
|8||ac, dcsp, dcrp||Iron powder, Low Hydrogen Potassium|