What Is Arc Welding? [Types, Uses Explained]

There are various welding processes to choose from and use for your arc welding jobs. Choosing the right method for a particular type of work can be difficult since a single process may not work for all projects.

But when you have proper and precise knowledge of each arc welding process, your task becomes easier. And this article will help you understand better about what is arc welding.

So, let’s dive into the main discussion-

What Is Arc Welding?

Arc welding is one of the fusions welding processes that use an electric arc to generate intense heat for melting and joining metals. In this process, a power supply produces an electric arc between a consumable or non-consumable electrode and a base material.

Required Arc Welding Equipment:

Here I would like to mention the various equipment for your arc welding task-

  • The Power Source: Either use direct current (DC) or, alternative current (AC).
  • Electrodes: Consumable or non-consumable.
  • Electrode Holder: To hold the electrodes at your desired angle, there are various sized holders available based on 50-500 ampere rating.
  • Cables: To carry the current from machine to the work you will need cables and mostly those are made of aluminum or copper.
  • Cable Connectors: You will need mechanical connectors to make a connection between machine switches and welding electrode holders.
  • Chipping Hammer: To remove the slag of your solidified weld metal you will need this.
  • Wire Brush And Power Wire Wheels: To remove the slag particles use the wire brush or power wire wheel.
  • Safety Precautions: Wearing helmet, goggles, hand gloves, apron or, sleeves.

What Are The Types Of Arc Welding?

Arc welding is available in two broad forms-

Consumable Electrode Form:

During the welding operation, consumable electrodes melt and supply the filler material. These electrodes are generally made with similar composition as the metal you will use to weld. Also, the consumable electrodes are available in 4 different types-

Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW): It is one of the most commonly used arc welding processes and also known as manual metal arc welding or stick welding. This works best for ferrous metals because this process is versatile enough to weld them in all positions.

Gas metal arc welding (GMAW): It is an automatic or, semi-automatic welding process and also known as MIG (for metal/inert-gas). GMAW offers relatively high welding speeds and uses a shielding gas so that the based metals don’t get destroyed by contamination.

Flux-cord arc welding (FCAW): It is also considered as a variation of gas metal welding. The wire used in this process is a fine metal tube filled with powdered flux materials. FCAW process is widely used in construction because of its high-speed welding capacity and portability.

Submerged arc welding (SAW): Mainly this highly productive welding is used during plumbing work such as cutting a metallic pipe. The working conditions of SAW are better than other arc welding processes because the flux hides the arc and no smoke is produced.

Non-consumable Electrode Form:

These electrodes are made of carbon, graphite, or tungsten. Carbon electrodes are softer but tungsten and graphite electrodes are hard or, brittle. You can use Carbon and graphite electrodes only for direct current welding but tungsten electrodes can be used in both A.C. and D.C. Non-consumable electrode form is also available in 2 different types as mentioned below-

Tungsten Inert Gas Welding (TIGW): It is also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or, GTAW because it uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode for generating the electric arc. It is a more effective and preferred method for welding aluminum.

Plasma Arc Welding (PAW): PAW and GTAW are almost the same when we consider the functioning. PAW converts the gas and allows the current to pass as the conductor of electricity. This process is faster than GTAW and can be used for a wider range of metals like stainless steel.

What Is Arc Welding Used For?

Currently, Arc welding is considered as the most widely used welding process in the world because of its simplicity and good welding efficiency. Let’s have a close glance at the use of an arc welding-

  • Used for producing strong joints and you can use it on projects like steel erection, pipeline welding, heavy equipment repair, and other construction projects.
  • Also, used for repairing dies, tools, and mostly on metals that are made with magnesium & aluminum.
  • Can be used for welding thin, ferrous & non-ferrous metals as well to design pressure & pressure vessels.
  • Used in almost in every manufacturing industry such as automotive, building construction, shipbuilding, aerospace, and for other maintenance or repair projects.


What Is Arc Welding Good For?

Good for repairing and working on heavy metals of size 4mm and above such as steel erection, pipeline welding, and other projects of manufacturing and construction industries.

What Is Arc Welding and Cutting?

Arc welding uses an electric method of producing intense heat to join two or more metal pieces together. But the cutting process uses intense heat in separating or severing a metal piece.

What Is Arc Force in Welding?

This is a way of temporarily increasing the current output during the arc welding. When the arc is too short for your task you can use this arc force method.

What Is Arc Length in Welding?

The arc length is the distance between your welded metal’s part and the electrode tip.

What Is Arc Blow in Welding?

It is the deflection caused by residual magnetism when the base metals are being welded during the arc welding work.

What Is Arc Voltage in Welding?

Arc voltage mainly controls the arc length and wire feed speed. When the voltage increases the length gets wider and flatter. On the contrary when it decreases the arc length gets shorter.


This article aimed to answer what is arc welding and its types and uses. I hope you have now a better understanding of this type of welding. Let me know your thought after reading the article.