he American Welding Society(AWS) defines gas metal arcwelding (GMAW) as “an arcwelding process that producescoalescence of metals by heating themwith an arc between a continuous fillermetal electrode and the workpiece.Shielding is obtained entirelyfrom anexternally supplied gas.”The essential elements of a basicGMAW process are shown in
.GMAW is an arc welding processthat incorporates the automatic feedingof a continuous, consumable electrodethat is shielded by an externally sup-plied gas (see
). Since theequipment provides for automatic con-trol of the arc, the only manual controlsrequired by the welder for semiautomat-ic operation are the gun positioning,guidance, and travel speed.GMAW is used to weld all the com-mercially important metals, includingsteel, aluminum, copper, and stainlesssteel. The process can be used to weldin any position, including flat, vertical,horizontal, and overhead. It is usuallyconnected to use direct current elec-trode positive (DCEP).
Modes in GMAW
The GMAW process has five distinctmetal transfer modes:1. Short circuiting2. Globular3. Spray4. Pulsed spray5. High-current density (rotationaland nonrotational spray)The metal transfer mode is deter-mined by many factors, including cur-rent, wire diameter, arc length or volt-age, power supply characteristics, andshielding gas.
Short-Circuit Gas Metal
Arc Welding (GMAW-S)
AWS defines short-circuit gas metalarc welding (GMAW-S) as “a gas metalarc welding process variation in whichthe consumable electrode is depositedduring repeated short circuits.”In the short-circuiting mode, metaltransfer occurs when the electrode is incontact with the weld pool. In this modeof metal transfer, the relationship be-tween the electrode melt rate and itsfeed rate into the weld zone determinesthe intermittent establishment of an arcand the short circuiting of the electrodeto the workpiece.Specifically, the electrode is fed at aconstant speed at a rate that exceeds themelt rate. When it contacts the moltenpool, a short circuit occurs, at whichtime there is no arc. The current thenbegins to rise and heats the wire to aplastic state. At the same time, the wirebegins to deform or neck down becauseof electromagnetic pinch effect.Eventually, the current value andresulting pinch force cause a drop of metal to detach into the weld puddle.At this point, an arc is established. Thissequence repeats itself about 50 to 250times per second (see
).Since there is no arc established dur-ingthe short circuit, the overall heat in-put is low, and the depth of fusion isrelatively shallow. Thus, care must beexercised in selecting the procedure andweld technique to ensure completefusion when welding thick metal.Because of its low heat input charac-teristics, the process produces small,fast-freezing weld puddles, which makesit suitable for welding in all positions.Short-circuiting transfer is also adaptableto welding sheet metal with minimumdistortion and for filling gapped or poorlyfitted parts with less tendency for burn-through of the part being welded.
Article reprinted with permission from the Novbember 1995 issue of The FABRICATOR.
FABRICATORS & MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION, INTL.
833 FEATHERSTONE RD.
ROCKFORD, IL 61107-6302
This shows the essential elements of a basic GMAW pro-cess.
GMAW incorporates the automatic feeding of a continuous,consumable electrode that is shielded by an externally sup-plied gas.