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better than the austenitic and martensitic steels, up to the and iron.

n. Their hardness and abrasion resistance increase

point at which they lack toughness to withstand the as- with the carbon, boron, silicon, and iron content. In gen-
sociated impact. Hard-facing with iron-base electrodes eral, nickel-base alloys are hard and have satisfactory re-
is usually limited to one or two layer overlays. Cracking sistance to abrasion, oxidation, corrosion, and heat. Hot
often results from the deformation of a soft base under strength and resistance to high-stress abrasion, however,
the harder overlay. Proper support of the tough iron-base is somewhat lower than for the cobalt-base group.
alloys is important.
Aluminum Electrodes
Nonferrous Base Alloys Aluminum is the most widely fabricated metal after steel.
This popularity is due primarily to such factors as its
Cobalt-Base Surfacing Metals (Rods and Electrodes)Cobalt-
wide availability, strength, light weight, good workability,
base alloys usually contain 26 to 33 percent chromium, and pleasing appearance. The increase in many applica-
3 to 14 percent tungsten, and 0.7 to 3.0 percent carbon. tions is due principally, however, to the development of
Three grades are available in which hardness, abrasion dependable, high speed welding processes for joining the
resistance, and crack sensitivity increase as the carbon majority of aluminum alloys. More than two dozen major
and tungsten content increases. They have high resistance welding processes are used; gas metal arc and gas tung-
to oxidation, corrosion, and heat. Metals surfaced with sten arc are used more than the others. A limited amount
cobalt-base alloys stand up under some types of service at of shielded metal arc welding is used. Aluminum can be
temperatures as high as 1,800F. Thus, they are often used welded throughout a thickness range of 0.00015 inch in
in the manufacture of exhaust valves for internal combus- foil to 6 inches in plate.
tion engines. The high strength liquid and airtight joints now pro-
Composite Tungsten Carbide MaterialsTungsten carbide duced at high speeds in welding aluminum have extended
hard-facing material is supplied in the form of mild steel the use of this lightweight material for freight cars of all
tubes filled with crushed and sized granules of cast tung- types, tank cars, hopper cars, ships, barges, trucks, piping,
sten carbide, usually in proportions of 60percent carbide and many other industrial applications.
and 40 percent tungsten, by weight. The carbide is very The major alloying elements used in aluminum elec-
hard, tough, and abrasion resistant. Deposits containing trodes are magnesium (with zinc and with or without
large, undissolved amounts of tungsten carbide have more manganese) and silicon (with or without copper). See
resistance to all types of abrasion than any other welded Table 12-15, page 324.
overlay. The two types of covered electrodes generally available
As the heat of welding melts the steel tube, the molten are the E1100 and 4043 alloys. Alloy E1100 is commer-
metal dissolves some of the tungsten carbide to form a cially pure aluminum (99 percent aluminum) giving a weld
matrix of high tungsten steel or iron. This serves as an deposit with a minimum tensile strength of 12,000 p.s.i.
anchor and support for the undissolved granules of car- Alloy 4043 contains approximately 95percent aluminum
bide. The highest abrasion resistance is achieved with and 5 percent silicon. It has an ultimate tensile strength
oxyacetylene welding. Some of the carbide is dissolved of 30,000 p.s.i. The 4043 (AL-2) electrode is a general-
by shielded metal arc welding, thus decreasing abrasion purpose wire. It gives better fluidity during welding than
resistance. the 1100 (AL-43) electrode.
In applications where corrosive factors are important,
Copper-Base Surfacing Metals (Rods and Electrodes)
an electrode should be selected that has a composition as
ous alloys of copper with aluminum, silicon, tin, and zinc
close to that of the base metal as practical.
are used for corrosion resistance, as well as wear applica-
The presence of moisture in the electrode coating is a
tions. Alloys with aluminum contain 9 to 15 percent alu-
major cause of a porous weld structure. Since it is essen-
minum and up to 5 percent iron. They are the hardest of
tial that the covering be completely dry, it is advisable to
the copper-surfacing alloys, achieving a reading of 380 on
bake all doubtful electrodes and those taken from previ-
the Brinell scale. For this reason, copper-base surfacing
ously opened packages at 350 to 400F for an hour before
alloys are used extensively to minimize metal-to-metal
welding. After baking, they should be stored in a heated
wear. Alloys with tin and zinc are also used for bearing
cabinet until used.
Ductility and cracking, known as hot-shortness, are
Nickel-Base Surfacing Metals (Rods and Electrodes)Nickel- problems in the welding of aluminum. These conditions
base surfacing metals contain a relatively high degree of are influenced by the degree of dilution between base
chromium and lesser amounts of carbon, boron, silicon, metal and filler metal. Joints that require a great amount

Shielded Metal Arc Welding Electrodes Chapter 12323


Table 12-15Composition of Weld Metal; Aluminum and Aluminum Alloy Welding Rods and Bare Electrodes

AWS Silicon Iron Copper Manganese Magnesium Chromium Nickel Zinc Titanium Elements (%) Aluminum
Classification (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) Each Total (%)
ER1100 0.050.20 0.05 0.10 0.05 0.15 99.00 min.
ER1260 0.04 0.01 0.03 99.60 min.
ER2319 0.20 0.30 5.86.8 0.200.40 0.02 0.10 0.100.20 0.05 0.15 Remainder
ER4145 9.310.7 0.8 3.34.7 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.20 0.05 0.15 Remainder
ER4043 4.56.0 0.8 0.30 0.05 0.05 0.10 0.20 0.05 0.15 Remainder
ER4047 11.013.0 0.8 0.30 0.15 0.10 0.20 0.05 0.15 Remainder
ER5039 0.10 0.40 0.03 0.300.50 3.34.3 0.100.20 2.43.2 0.10 0.05 0.10 Remainder
ER5554 0.10 0.501.0 2.43.0 0.050.20 0.25 0.050.20 0.05 0.15 Remainder
ER5654 0.05 0.01 3.13.9 0.150.35 0.20 0.050.15 0.05 0.15 Remainder
ER5356 0.10 0.050.20 4.55.5 0.050.20 0.10 0.060.20 0.05 0.15 Remainder
ER5556 0.10 0.501.0 4.75.5 0.050.20 0.25 0.050.20 0.05 0.15 Remainder
ER5183 0.40 0.40 0.10 0.501.0 4.35.2 0.050.25 0.25 0.15 0.05 0.15 Remainder
RC4A 1.5 1.0 4.05.0 0.35 0.03 0.35 0.25 0.05 0.15 Remainder
RCN42A 0.7 1.0 3.54.5 0.35 1.21.8 0.25 1.72.3 0.35 0.25 0.05 0.15 Remainder
RSC51A 4.55.5 0.8 1.01.5 0.50 0.400.60 0.25 0.35 0.25 0.05 0.15 Remainder
RSG70A 6.57.5 0.6 0.25 0.35 0.200.40 0.35 0.25 0.05 0.15 Remainder
of filler metal should be avoided. Cracking is generally copper-aluminum-iron type for shielded metal arc weld-
caused by the low strength of some weld metal compo- ing. They weld aluminum bronzes, manganese bronzes,
sitions at elevated temperatures. This can be overcome some nickel alloys, many ferrous metals and alloys, and
through the use of one of the higher magnesium-content combinations of dissimilar metals. They are used with
aluminum alloys, since they give the weld higher strength DCEP.
during solidification. The type of joint and the welding Aluminum bronze (ECuAl-A2) is a copper alloy
technique also influence cracking. electrode containing 65 to 90 percent aluminum and
0.5 to 5.0 percent iron. This electrode produces a de-
Specialized Electrodes posit with higher tensile strength, yield strength, hard-
There is a large variety of specialized electrodes to meet ness, and lower ductility than a pure copper-aluminum
the conditions presented by such metals as nickel and high electrode. It is used for joining aluminum-bronze plate
nickel alloys, copper and copper alloys, magnesium and and sheet, repairing castings, and for joining nonfer-
magnesium alloys, and titanium and titanium alloys. rous metals such as silicon bronze to steel. It is used
High nickel electrodes have been developed for the with DCEP.
welding of gray iron castings, ductile iron, malleable Nickel-aluminum bronze (ECuNiAl) and the manganese-
iron, and other iron-base metals. Special high nickel nickel-aluminum-iron (ECuMuNiAl) alloys are used to weld
alloy, filler-metal compositions are capable of welding similar base metals for ship propellers and ship fittings. They
dissimilar metal combinations. A number of electrodes are used with DCEP.
that contain 50 percent or more nickel are used in the The selection of the proper type of electrode for a par-
welding of nickel and its alloys. These electrodes include ticular welding job is vital to the successful completion of
the following combinations of alloys: the job. A welder will never be in the position of knowing
all there is to know about the various types of electrodes.
Nickel-copper alloys
You are urged to consult the various welding suppliers,
Monel-nickel-copper alloys
catalogs, and the excellent material available through the
Age-hardenable Monel-nickel-copper alloys
American Welding Society in order to develop a com-
Age-hardenable Inconel
prehensive understanding of the differences between and
Inconel-nickel-chromium-iron alloys
uses of electrodes.
High nickel alloy filler metal
See Table 12-16 for a list of AWS filler metal specifica-
Copper electrodes contain tin and silicon in addition to tions for the SMAW process.
copper. These copper alloys are classified with the prefix
E plus the chemical abbreviations of the metals they con- Packing and Protection of Electrodes
tain. For example, a copper-aluminum electrode would
be designated ECuAl (E = electrode; Cu = copper; Al = Standard Sizes and Lengths
aluminum). The standard sizes and lengths of end-gripping electrodes are
Copper-silicon alloys (ECuSi) are often referred to as shown in Table 12-17. In all cases, standard size refers to the
silicon bronzes. The core wire contains about 3percent diameter of the core wire exclusive of the coating.
silicon and may contain small percentages of manganese
and tin. Copper-silicon electrodes weld copper-silicon
metal and copper-zinc (brass). Table 12-16 AWS Filler Metal Specifications for
Copper-tin alloys (ECuSn-A) are usually referred to SMAW Electrodes
as phosphor bronzes. Phosphor bronze A contains about
8 percent tin. Both copper and tin are deoxidized with Material Specification Number
phosphorus. Phosphor bronze electrodes weld copper,
Carbon steel A5.1
bronze, brass, and cast iron. They are also used for over-
Low alloy steel A5.5
laying steel. These electrodes require preheat, especially
on heavy sections. They are used with DCEP. Stainless steel A5.4
The copper-nickel (ECuNi) electrodes contain 70per Cast iron A5.15
cent copper and 30 percent nickel. They are used for the Nickel alloys A5.11
standard copper-nickel alloys and must not be preheated Aluminum alloys A5.3
or allowed to overheat. They are used with DCEP. Copper alloys A5.6
Copper-aluminum (ECuAl) electrodes are of two types: Surfacing alloys A5.13
the copper-aluminum type used with gas welding and the

Shielded Metal Arc Welding Electrodes Chapter 12325

with moist electrodes leads to increased arc voltage, spatter
Table 12-17 Sizes and Lengths of End-Gripping loss, undercutting, and poor slag removal. The weld deposit
Electrodes may suffer from porosity, underbead cracking, and rough ap-
pearance. When present, these conditions cause rejects and
Standard Size Standard Length
expensive reworking and, if undetected, contribute to prod-
(Diameter of Core Wire, in.) (Length of Core Wire, in.)
uct failure.
All mineral-covered electrodes are thirsty. The min-
64 9, 12 ute they are unpacked, they start absorbing moisture

32 12 too much moisture for a sound weld. Outside of a
8 14 laboratory it is impossible to tell when an electrode has
32 14 absorbed enough moisture from the air to be unsafe.
16 14 Electrodes, therefore, require antimoisture protection.
This is especially true when field welding is being
14, 18
done. A number of building and construction codes
4 18
contain the specific provision that some kind of elec-
16 18 trode holding and conditioning equipment is provided
8 18 on the job site.

Electrode OvensElectrode manufacturers recommend

In 18- and 36-inch lengths, center gripping of the elec- oven storage at specified holding temperatures to preserve
trode is standard. End gripping is standard for all other and maintain factory baked-in quality. Oven protection is
lengths. not only recommended, but mandatory for the storage of
low hydrogen and hard-facing electrodes and others made
from special alloys such as the following:
Electrodes are always suitably packed, wrapped, boxed,
or crated to protect against damage during shipment or Iron powder
storage as follows: Stainless steel
Bundles of 50 pounds net weight Inconel
Boxes of 25 or 50 pounds net weight Monel
Coils, reels, or spools of 200 pounds or less Brass
Marking Bronze
All bundles, boxes, coils, and reels usually contain the The covering of low hydrogen electrodes, for example,
following information: is reduced to less than 0.2 percent moisture at manufac-
ture, and the electrodes are packaged in m oisture-proof
containers. Within 2 hours at 80 percent humidity, the
Manufacturers name and trade designation
electrodes may contain up to 13times the allowable mois-
Standard size and length (weight instead of length in
ture content for U.S. Government specifications. Within
case of reels and coils)
24 hours they may contain up to 26 times the 0.2 percent
The welder should always give careful attention to the Electrode drying ovens have capacities varying from
manufacturers recommendations concerning heat set- 12 to 1,000 pounds, and temperature controls to 1,000F.
tings, type and preparation of joint, base metal, welding The smaller ovens, Fig. 12-9, are portable, making them
technique, welding position, and nature of the weld- convenient for shop or field welding. The larger ovens,
ing current. Any references to moisture control are also Figs. 12-10 and 12-11, provide for central storage and bak-
important. ing for the entire shop.
The increased use of the submerged arc and flux cored
Moisture Control arc welding processes has caused a problem in regard to
A perfectly dry electrode is the first requirement for a per- flux moisture. Flux that is unprotected will pick up mois-
fect welding job when the job requires low hydrogen elec- ture, which results in welds with hydrogen inclusions.
trodes or other moisture-prone electrodes. If the electrode is Figure 12-12 shows a portable type of holding oven that
not dry, the welder cannot be sure of a sound weld. Welding can be used to protect flux or flux cored wire.

326Chapter 12 Shielded Metal Arc Welding Electrodes

Fig. 12-11 An electrically heated shop electrode oven. This oven
has the capacity to hold 350 pounds of 18-inch electrodes. It is
equipped with a thermostat control with a temperature range from
100F to 550F. Phoenix International
Fig. 12-9 The electric dry-rod electrode oven on the job.
Phoenix International

Fig. 12-12 This portable flux holding oven may also be used for
flux cored wire. Phoenix International

Many welders protect their electrodes with a small

Fig. 12-10 An electrically heated shop electrode oven. This oven
leather electrode carrier that is strapped to the welders
has the capacity to hold 400 pounds of 18-inch electrodes, and it
can reach a maximum temperature of 800F with digital readout. waist. These carriers offer limited protection for mois-
It is also equipped with a 150 CFM recirculating system. Phoenix ture, and they are not satisfactory for the electrodes listed
International previously. The oven shown in Fig. 12-9 is portable and

Shielded Metal Arc Welding Electrodes Chapter 12327

can be plugged into auxiliary current in the field. Such Table 12-18 covers some typical storage and condition-
ovens also offer good protection after the current has been ing recommendations. Always consult the electrode man-
turned off. ufacturer for specific requirements.

Table 12-18 Storage and Drying Conditions of SMAW Electrodes

Drying Conditions
(Because of Variations in
Storage Conditions after Removal Covering Compositions,
AWS from Manufacturers Packaging Consult the Manufacturers
Classification Ambient Air Holding Ovens Exact Drying Conditions)
EXX10-X Ambient temperature 100120F Not recommended
EXX13-X 60100F 100120F 250300F
E7020-X 50% max. relative humidity 1 hour at temperature
EXX15-X Not recommended.Some of 250300F 500800F
EXX16-X these electrodes may carry an R Depending on the code being used, the
EXX18M(1) designator for moisture resistant, electrodes may be put through this
EXX18-X but this does not imply they can be redrying or baking conditioning only
stored in ambient air. once, or the coating binders may be
adversely affected.


Multiple Choice 4. For the electrode E6011, the 60 signifies .

Choose the letter of the correct answer. (Obj. 12-4)
a. 60 times
1. What is a major function of the coating of an
b. 60 p.s.i.
SMAW electrode? (Obj. 12-1)
c. 60,000 p.s.i.
a. Acts as a scavenger, removing oxides
d. 60,000 pounds
and impurities
b. Influences the lack of penetration 5. The welder should never use an electrode that
c. Liquefies the base metal is the thickness of the base metal.
d. None of these (Obj. 12-5)
a. Less than
2. The popularity of SMAW and its electrodes is a
b. Equal to or less than
result of the development of . (Obj. 12-2)
c. Greater than
a. Flux cored electrodes
d. Larger than
b. Bare wire electrodes
c. Arc electrodes 6. What two groups have had a major part in the re-
d. Both a and b search and development of welding electrodes?
(Obj. 12-6)
3. What determines the maximum arc length of an
a. The American Welding Society
SMAW electrode? (Obj. 12-3)
b. The American Society for Testing and Materials
a. The end of the electrode
c. The American Petroleum Institute
b. The coated end of the electrode
d. Both a and b
c. The base metal
d. Both a and b 7. Which of the following electrodes is considered a
fast-freeze electrode? (Obj. 12-7)
a. E7018
b. E7024

328Chapter 12 Shielded Metal Arc Welding Electrodes

c. E6010 13. In general terms, describe tensile strength and elon-
d. None of these gation in welds made with shielded metal arc elec-
8. Which of the following is not a low hydrogen elec- trodes. How do these properties compare with those
trode? (Obj. 12-8) of the base metal? (Obj. 12-2)
a. E7015 14. List the standard sizes of electrodes. (Obj. 12-5)
b. E7014 15. List the important considerations in selecting the
c. E7016 type of electrode to use. (Obj. 12-5)
d. E7018 16. List the service conditions for hard-facing elec-
9. The system for identifying steel electrodes in the trodes. (Obj. 12-5)
welding industry is . (Objs. 12-6 and 12-9) 17. Give the AWS classification numbers for the follow-
a. The color identification system ing electrode characteristics: (Obj. 12-6)
b. The electrode classification number system a. DCEP
c. The set-type system b. A.C.
d. Both a and b c. Iron powder
10. A properly dried low hydrogen electrode is the first d. Low hydrogen
requirement for . (Obj. 12-10) 18. Explain the functions of fast-fill, fast-follow, and
a. A perfect welding job fast-freeze electrodes. (Obj. 12-7)
b. A porosity free weld
19. What is the purpose of heavy slag-type, free-
c. An undercut free weld
flowing electrodes? Name some of the other types
d. None of these
of electrodes used for shielded metal arc welding.
Review Questions (Objs. 12-7 to 12-9)
Write the answers in your own words. 20. How are low hydrogen electrodes best protected
from moisture in the field? (Obj. 12-10)
11. What is the function of the coating on a shielded INTERNET ACTIVITIES
metal arc electrode? (Obj. 12-1)
12. Give a definition of a shielded metal arc welding
electrode. (Obj. 12-2)


Internet Activity A
Use the Internet to find ESABs Material Safety Data Sheet for a.c. and d.c. stain-
less-steel covered electrodes. What are the fire and explosion hazards? What do the
reactivity data state, and what are the health hazards?
Internet Activity B
Use the same Web site that you used in Activity A. Name the free publications you
can get from ESAB for electric and gas welding safety. Find their address and send
for a free copy.

Shielded Metal Arc Welding Electrodes Chapter 12329