Air Carbon Arc Gouging
The main difference between this gouging technique and the others is that a separate air jet is usedto eject molten metal to form the groove.
Air carbon arc gouging works as follows. An electricarc is generated between the tip of a carbonelectrode and the workpiece. The metal becomesmolten and a high velocity air jet streams down theelectrode to blow it away, thus leaving a cleangroove. The process is simple to apply (using thesame equipment as MMA welding), has a high metalremoval rate, and gouge profile can be closelycontrolled. Disadvantages are that the air jet causesthe molten metal to be ejected over quite a largedistance and, because of high currents (up to2000A) and high air
pressures (80 to 100 psi), it can be very noisy.Application
As air carbon arc gouging does not rely on oxidation it can be applied to a wide range of metals. DC(electrode positive) is normally preferred for steel and stainless steel but AC is more effective for castiron, copper and nickel alloys. Typical applications include back gouging, removal of surface andinternal defects, removal of excess weld metal and preparation of bevel edges for welding.
The electrode is a non-consumable graphite (carbon) rod which hasa copper coating to reduce electrode erosion. Electrode diameter isselected according to required depth and width of gouge. Cutting canbe precisely controlled and molten metal/dross is kept to a minimum.
A DC power supply with electrode positive polarity is most suitable.AC power sources which are also constant current can be used butwith special AC type electrodes. The power source must have aconstant current output characteristic. If it does not, inadvertanttouching of the electrode to the workpiece will cause a high current surge sufficient to 'explode' theelectrode tip. This will disrupt the operation and cause carbon pick-up. As arc voltage can be quitehigh (up to 50V), open circuit voltage of the power source should be over 60V.
The gouging torch is normally operated with either a compressed air line or seperate bottled gassupply. Air supply pressure will be up to 100psi from the air line but restricted to about 35psi from abottled supply. Providing there is sufficient air flow to remove molten metal, there are no advantagesin using higher pressure and flow rates.