Welding is the process of joining similar metals by the application of heat, with or without application of pressure or filler metal, in such a way that the joint is equivalent in composition and characteristics of the metals joined. In the beginning, welding was mainly used for repairing all kinds of worn or damaged parts. Now, it is extensively used in manufacturing industry, construction industry (construction of ships, tanks, locomotives and automobiles) and maintenance work, replacing riveting and bolting, to a greater extent.

The various welding processes are:

1. Electric arc welding,

2. Gas welding

3. Thermal welding

4. Electrical Resistance welding and

5. Friction welding

However, only electric arc welding process is discussed in the subject point of view.


Arc welding is the welding process, in which heat is generated by an electric arc struck between an electrode and the work piece. Electric arc is luminous electrical discharge between two electrodes through ionized gas.

Fig: Arc welding setup
Any arc welding method is based on an electric circuit consisting of the following parts:

a. Power supply (AC or DC);

b. Welding electrode;
c. Work piece;

d. Welding leads: (Electric cables) connecting the electrode and work piece to the power supply

Electric arc tween the electrode and work piece closes the electric circuit. The arc temperature may reach 10000F (5500C), which is sufficient for fusion the work piece edges and joining them. When a long joint is required the arc is moved along the joint line. The front edge of the weld pool melts the welded surfaces when the rear edge of the weld pool solidifies forming the joint.


The transformers type of welding machine produces A.C current and is considered to be the least expensive. It takes power directly from power supply line and transforms it to the voltage required for welding. Transformers are available in single phase and three phases in the market.

Motor generators

These are D.C generators sets, in which electric motor and alternator are mounted on the same shaft to produce D.C power as pert the requirement for welding. These are designed to produce D.C current in either straight or reversed polarity. The polarity selected for welding depends upon the kind of electrode used and the material to be welded.


These are essentially transformers, containing an electrical device which changes A.C into D.C by virtue of which the operator can use both types of power (A.C or D.C, but only one at a time).In addition to the welding machine, certain accessories are needed for carrying out the welding work.

Welding cables

Two welding cables are required, one from machine to the electrode holder and the other, from the machine to the ground clamp. Flexible cables are usually preferred because of the case of using and coiling the cables. Cables are specified by their current carrying capacity, say 300 A, 400 A, etc.

Filler rods are used in arc welding are called electrodes. These are made of metallic wire called core wire, having approximately the same composition as the metal to be welded. These are coated uniformly with a protective coating called flux. While fluxing an electrode; about 20mm of length is left at one end for holding it with the electrode holder. It helps in transmitting full current from electrode holder to the front end of the electrode coating. Flux acts as an insulator of electricity. Figure. Shows the various parts of an electrode.

Figure: Parts of an electrode

In general, electrodes are classified into five main groups; mild steel, carbon steel, special alloy steel, cast iron and non‐ferrous. The greatest range of arc welding is done with electrodes in the mild steel group.

Various constituents like titanium oxide, potassium oxide, cellulose, iron or manganese, Ferro silicates, carbonates, gums, clays, asbestos, etc., are used as coatings on electrodes. While welding, the coating or flux vaporizes and provides a gaseous shield to prevent atmospheric attack. The size of electrode is measured and designated by the diameter of the core wire in SWG and length, apart from the brand and code names; indicating the purpose for which there are most suitable.

Electrodes may be classified on the basis of thickness of the coated flux. As

1. Dust coated or light coated

2. Semi or medium coated and

3. Heavily coated or shielded

Electrodes are also classified on the basis of materials, as

1. Metallic and
2. Non‐metallic or carbon