Carbon arc Welding – Advantages and Disadvantages

What is Carbon Arc Welding Process :

  • Carbon arc welding is one of the oldest welding techniques that are still in use today.
  • The process of carbon arc welding uses low voltage, high amp electricity to heat the metal once an arc is formed between a carbon electrode and the piece being welded; if an arc is formed between two carbon electrodes that technique is known as a twin-carbon arc.
  • The technique of single-carbon arc welding uses a direct current power supply which if required, filler rod may be used in Carbon Arc Welding. End of the rod is held in the arc zone. The molten rod material is supplied to the weld pool.
  • Shields (neutral gas, flux) may be used for weld pool protection depending on type of welded metal. is connected using a straight polarity.
carbon arc welding
carbon arc welding

Principle and Working Of Carbon Arc Welding 

In carbon arc welding, the arc heat between the carbon electrode and the work melts the base metal and, when required, also melts the filler rod. As the molten metal solidifies, a weld is produced. The non-consumable graphite electrode erodes rapidly and, in disintegrating, produces a shielding atmosphere of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide gas. These gases partially displace air from the arc atmosphere and prohibit the oxygen and nitrogen from coming in contact with molten metal. Filler metal, when used, is of the same composition as the base metal. Bronze filler metal can be used for brazing and braze welding.

The workpieces must be free from grease, oil, scale, paint, and other foreign matter. The two pieces should be clamped tightly together with no root opening. They may be tack welded together.

Carbon electrodes 1/8 to 5/16 in. (3.2 to 7.9 mm) in diameter may be used, depending upon the current required for welding. The end of the electrode should be prepared with a long taper to a point. The diameter of the point should be about half that of the electrode. For steel, the electrode should protrude about 4.0 to 5.0 in. (101.6 to 127.0 mm) from the electrode holder.

A carbon arc may be struck by bringing the tip of the electrode into contact with the work and immediately withdrawing it to the correct length for welding. In general, an arc length between 1/4 and 3/8 in. (6.4 and 9.5 mm) is best. If the arc length is too short, there is likely to be excessive carburization of the molten metal resulting in a brittle weld.

When the arc is broken for any reason, it should not be restarted directly upon the hot weld metal. This could cause a hard spot in the weld at the point of contact. The arc should be started on cold metal to one side of the joint, and then quickly returned to the point where welding is to be resumed.

When the joint requires filler metal, the welding rod is fed into the molten weld pool with one hand while the arc is manipulated with the other. The arc is directed on the surface of the work and gradually moved along the joint, constantly maintaining a molten pool into which the welding rod is added in the same manner as in gas tungsten arc welding. Progress along the weld joint and the addition of a welding rod must be timed to provide the size and shape of weld bead desired. Welding vertically or overhead with the carbon arc is difficult because carbon arc welding is essentially a puddling process. The weld joint should be backed up, especially in the case of thin sheets, to support the molten weld pools and prevent excessive melt-thru.

For outside corner welds in 14 to 18 gauge steel sheet, the carbon arc can be used to weld the two sheets together without a filler metal. Such welds are usually smother and more economical to make than shielded metal arc welds made under similar conditions.

Advantages:

  • Low cost of equipment and welding operation;
  • High level of operator skill is not required;
  • The process is easily automated;
  • Low distortion of work piece.

Disadvantages:

  • Unstable quality of the weld (porosity);
  • Carbon of electrode contaminates weld material with carbides.
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