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Flux Cored Arc Welding

Practice (Plate), Submerged
Arc Welding, and
Related Processes:
FCAW-G Jobs 23-J1J11, FCAW-S Jobs 23-J1J12;
SAW Job 23-J1

Chapter Objectives Flux Cored Wire Welding

Flux cored arc welding (FCAW) has grown very rap-
After completing this chapter, you will be able to: idly. This growth has kept pace with the growth of other
23-1 Describe the flux cored arc welding process. gas metal arc welding processes. The biggest use is in the
23-2 Describe the welding variables for flux cored arc fabrication of medium-to-heavy weldments of carbon and
welding. alloy steel. Flux cored wire increases welding speeds and
deposition rates considerably. Figures23-1, 23-2, and 23-3,
23-3 Demonstrate the ability to make various fillet and
groove welds with the flux cored arc welding process. page 752 show applications and equipment for FCAW.
All the major producers of welding equipment and sup-
23-4 Define the operational differences between the
pliers are involved in the process. Hobart refers to its self-
two main types of flux cored electrodes.
shielded flux cored wire as Fabshield and its gas shielded
23-5 Explain and demonstrate an understanding of the
flux cored wire as FabCO; ESABs self-shielded ver-
submerged arc welding process.
sion is CoreShield, and its gas shielded version is Dual
23-6 Describe the electroslag and electro gas welding Shield; Lincolns self-shielded version is Innershield,
and its gas shielded version is Outershield.
There are two basic types of flux cored wire welding:
1. Gas shielded, flux cored arc welding (FCAW-G)
2. Self-shielded, flux cored arc welding (FCAW-S)
These two electrodes can produce welds of the highest
quality. They combine all the advantages of GMAW,
such as:
1. High deposition rates
2. Good performance on fillet and groove welds
3. Scavengers and deoxidizers for less-than-clean

Fig. 23-1 Structural steel being welded with the flux cored Fig. 23-2 A small wire-feeder power source combination using
arc welding process and a self-shielded electrode. Lincoln a 0.035 self-shielded flux cored electrode at approximately 16 volts
Electric at 100 amperes being used to make a field repair of a hay wagon
rack. Note the convenience of not needing a shielding gas. Flam-
mable materials have been moved from the direct weld area.
Lincoln Electric
4. A slag that retards the cooling rate and supports the
molten weld pool
5. The ability to weld in all positions with the correct These welds have excellent appearance and meet the re-
electrode quirements of many welding codes.
FCAW-G is a process using a continuous
consumable electrode to do gas shielded, flux
cored arc welding. Its core is filled with flux
and alloying agents. These types of electrodes
require an external shielding gas source, and
are not considered self-shielded (Fig. 23-5A).
The solid metal portion of the electrode com-
prises about 80 to 85 percent of its weight.
The core material (shown in Fig.23-4) makes
up the remainder and performs the following
Acts as a deoxidizer and cleans the weld
Forms a protective slag to cover the depos-
ited weld metal until it has solidified
S tabilizes the arc so that it is smooth and re-
duces spatter
A dds alloying elements to the weld metal to
increase strength and provide other desirable
weld properties
Fig. 23-3 Prior to welding, this is a more than 25-foot-long rack gear for P rovides shielding gas in addition to that
a large capacity crawler crane. There will be approximately 100 feet of 58-inch supplied externally
weld size J-groove weld on this project when completed. The plate and weld
areas will be preheated to 500F, and it will take approximately 20hours FCAW-S is a process employing a continuous
to complete the fabrication. With careful execution of the preheat, welding consumable electrode that has its core filled with
procedure with staggering and skip welding techniques twist and flatness
flux, gasifiers, and alloying agents. These elec-
was maintained over its length to less than the electrode diameter. Head
and tail stocks were used to position the welds in the flat position. trodes generate their own shielding gas and re-
The Manitowoc Company, Inc. quire no external shielding source (Fig. 23-5B).

752 Chapter 23 FCAW (Plate), SAW, and Related Processes: FCAW-G Jobs 23-J1J11, FCAW-S Jobs 23-J1J12; SAW Job 23-J1
Gas Nozzle

Wire Guide and Contact Tube

Solidified Slag Shielding Gas

Tubular Electrode
Powdered Metal,
Flux, and Slag
Alloying Materials Forming Materials
Flux Dire
Core Slag Formers n of
Gas Forming Materials ding
(FCAW-S Electrodes) Solidified
Weld Metal
A Weld Pool
Close Wound Belden 2/0
Stainless-Steel Paper MIG Cable
Spring Wire Liner Separator Arc and Metal

Wire Guide and

Contact Tube Tubular Electrode

Hypalon Solidified Slag

Jacket Powdered Metal, Vapor
Molten Slag Forming Materials,
Insulated Deoxidizers and Scavengers
Switch Lead
Bright Bare
Electrode Wire Copper Stranding Arc Shield Composed
of Vaporized and Slag
B Forming Compounds

Fig. 23-4 (A) Flux cored electrode cross section. (B) Typi-
cal composite flux cored arc welding gun cable construction.
Note the wire liner and lack of shielding gas hose. This gun
cable is designed for the self-shielded flux cored wire.
Weld Pool
Arc and Metal
Weld Metal Dir Transfer
We tion o
Flux cored wires are made from a continuous ldin f
tube. Steel strip is formed into a U-shape to hold core
flux powders. After flux loading, the U is closed, and
the wire is drawn to the required size. Fig. 23-5 (A) Process schematic for flux cored arc welding with a gas
shielded electrode. (B) Process schematic for flux cored arc welding with a
Flux cored filler metal is, in effect, an inside-out self-shielded electrode. Adapted from Welding Handbook, 9/e.
covered electrode.
The FCAW-G electrodes have deposition efficien-
cies up to 90 percent and are able to achieve deposition
rates as high as 25 pounds per hour, while FCAW-S
electrodes have less deposition efficiencies, up to 87 per-
cent, and are able to achieve deposition rates as high as
40 pounds per hour. These high deposition rates are gen-
erally only achievable with a utomatic/mechanized appli-
cation of the process. Inert Gas
The metal of the cored electrode wire is transferred The inert gas, metal arc (MIG) process
through the intense heat (approximately 12,000F) of the was developed in 1948 by the Air Reduction
arc column to the work. These electrodes must be used Company.
with semiautomatic or automatic/mechanized equipment.

FCAW (Plate), SAW, and Related Processes: FCAW-G Jobs 23-J1J11, FCAW-S Jobs 23-J1J12; SAW Job 23-J1 Chapter 23 753
The flux cored electrode was first devel- Direct Current
oped about 1954 and introduced in its present Constant Voltage
To Solenoid Valve
Power Source
form in 1957. Flux cored electrodes are avail- Voltage Control
Voltmeter and Shielding
able in diameters of 0.030, 0.035, 0.045, 0.052, Remote Voltage and Wire-Feed Speed Gas
16 , 564, 332 , 764, and 18 inch. Electrodes are Contactor Control Meter Source
available for the welding of mild steel. There
115-, 42-, and
are also low alloy grades for high strength 24-V Supply
structural steel, low nickel wire for low tem-
Gas In
perature applications, and electrodes for stain-
less steels. Hard-surfacing electrodes are also Control
available. Leads Gas Out

Flux cored filler metals are produced on the Wire

basis of three general groupings. Wire-Feed
Wire Drive
(Current) Control
1. The so-called single-pass filler metals
Electrde Power Cable
that operate in carbon dioxide shielding
gas are intended for welding rusted or
Welding Low 24-V Gun
mill-scaled plate. Workpiece Gun Trigger Circuit
2. The so-called multipass filler metals that Clamp
also operate in carbon dioxide shielding Work
gas provide ductile weld metal with high Workpiece Cable
impact strength at both low and high ten-
sile strengths. Fig. 23-6 Equipment needed for flux cored arc welding. Note that gas
3. Self-shielding filler metals are used with- shielding requires only the gas shielded type of electrodes.
out auxiliary shielding gas. They offer a
convenient simplicity of equipment that is
efficient for field construction operations. Also All mild and low alloy steels can be welded.
no shielding gas to be blown away. Cost is lower than that of other processes.

The flux cored processes are particularly suited The major FCAW equipment components, Fig.236, are
for those applications in which rust and poor fitup are the following:
problems, and when larger size fillet welds than those Shielding gas and control unit if carbon dioxide is
provided by solid core wire are desired. They are also used (FCAW-G)
replacing other processes in root pass work in which Power source
weld metal drop-through or a lack of visibility is a Wire-feeding mechanism and controls
problem. Electrode wire
In addition, the gas shielded, flux cored arc welding Welding gun and cable assembly. (The gun is different
process has the following desirable characteristics: for FCAW-G and FCAW-S.)
It has high deposition rates with little electrode A constant voltage power source with DCEP is gen-
loss. erally used with the continuous-feed electrode process.
It can be adapted to semiautomatic or full automatic It can be a d.c. rectifier, Figs. 23-7 and 23-8, or an in-
operation. verter, Fig. 23-9. The generator is generally engine driven.
Welds of high quality that can pass radiographic Direct current, electrode negative, is used for most FCAW-S
tests are produced, which are suitable for code electrodes.
work. You will recall that in GMAW with a constant voltage
The shielding gas, carbon dioxide, is low in cost. power source, current output is determined by the wire
Deep penetration reduces weld size. feeder adjustment. A specially designed wire-feed and
The highly stable arc reduces spatter loss. control unit is necessary, Figs.2310 and 2311, page 756.
Slag can be removed with a minimum of labor. There are a variety of gun styles: Figs. 23-4B, page 753,
Weld appearance is highly desirable. 23-12, and 23-13, pages 756757. Guns may be air or water
Small wires of specific composition can be used in all cooled. Review Chapter 21 as necessary concerning the
positions. fundamentals of the GMAW process.

754 Chapter 23 FCAW (Plate), SAW, and Related Processes: FCAW-G Jobs 23-J1J11, FCAW-S Jobs 23-J1J12; SAW Job 23-J1
Fig. 23-8 Constant voltage and constant current,
Fig. 23-7 Constant voltage/constant current family of d.c. welding machines. 350 ampere at 34 volts, 100 percent duty cycle machine
These are industrial rated machines at 100 percent duty cycle. Output ratings with wire feeder. This power source is designed to
from 300 through 1,000 amperes are available to meet demanding needs. All operate off of single- or three-phase primary power and
the major processes like FCAW, SAW, GMAW, SMAW, and GTAW are capable is a d.c. inverter machine weighing in at 150 pounds.
with this type of equipment. These machines are capable of running ArcReachTM With its variable inductance and selectable slope, it
which allows control of the power source with the displayed remote control allows ultrafine tuning and improves arc characteristics
connected at the wire-feeder. Miller Electric Mfg. Co. for all types of GMAW modes of metal transfer plus

Fig. 23-9 Constant voltage and constant current,

d.c., engine-driven generator for heavy-duty field
applications. The air-cooled diesel engine develops
65.7 horsepower at 1,850 rpm and can output up
to 800 amperes. Note the totally enclosed voltage
sensing feeder which operates off of arc voltage. So
control cords are not required. Two welders can weld
at the same time with no enter arc reaction up to
400 amps each at 100 percent duty cycle. Miller
Electric Mfg. Co.

FCAW (Plate), SAW, and Related Processes: FCAW-G Jobs 23-J1J11, FCAW-S Jobs 23-J1J12; SAW Job 23-J1 Chapter 23 755
Air Pressure Flux Tank When FCAW-G wires are used with a shielding
Regulator Meets ASME
Cover Keeps Lift Bail Code gas such as carbon dioxide or argon plus carbon
Electrode Clean dioxide, ductility, penetration, and toughness of
the weld metal are improved. Flux cored wire is
also superior on dirty or corroded base metal. See
Table 23-1, for a comparison of the gas metal arc
Volt Meter
0-60 processes.
Flux cored electrodes require currents in the
Operator range of 90 to 960 amperes. Because of their deep
Controls penetrating qualities and the highly fluid weld pool,
Amps- the best welds are obtained by welding in the flat
Inch and horizontal positions. Flux cored electrodes are
Speed- especially intended for large single- or multiple-
Wire Feed pass fillet welds in either the flat or horizontal posi-
Case tion with DCEP. The wires are also suitable for long
groove welds in heavy plate. Flux cored electrodes
often replace the E7018 and E7028 shielded metal
arc electrodes.
Wire Reel for The flux cored wire weld deposit is fully covered
50 or 60 LB. Coils
by a dense, easily removed slag. The combination of
Door to
Drive Rolls full slag coverage and the gas shielded arc results in
radiographic sound welds with excellent mechanical
Fig. 23-10 This wire feeder can be used for both solid, metal core, properties. The chemical composition of the weld is
and flux cored wire with gas metal arc, flux cored arc, and submerged constant because alloying elements are built into the
arc welding. It feeds a wide range of wire sizes. The pressure tank is cored electrode.
used to force the granular submerged arc flux out to the gun. Lincoln
Electric Typical applications include farm equipment,
truck bodies, earthmoving equipment, ships, pres-
sure vessels, railroad cars, machine bases, structural steel,
storage tanks, and repair of castings.

Conduit Power


Guide Tube
Protective Hand Shield
Contact Tube

Extension Guide

Fig. 23-11 A gas shielded, flux cored arc weld being made in an Electrode
awkward-to-reach area. The skill of this welder to weld in any position
encountered is very important. It is not always possible to make welds Fig. 23-12 Internal construction of a typical self-shielded flux
in the most comfortable situations. Lincoln Electric cored arc welding gun. Source: From Welding Handbook, 9/e.

756 Chapter 23 FCAW (Plate), SAW, and Related Processes: FCAW-G Jobs 23-J1J11, FCAW-S Jobs 23-J1J12; SAW Job 23-J1
Aluminum Jacketed Gooseneck E61T-13, E71T-13, and E71T-14 electrode wires.
Head Tube
See T ables 23-2 through 23-5, pages 759761.
Ergonomically Designed One Turn Screw on
Even though flux cored electrodes carry an
Gun Handle Copper or Brass Nozzles AWS classification number, it does not mean you
can necessarily switch between the various manu-
360 Wrench Rotatable Gooseneck
to Allow for Thumb or Finger Actuation facturers indiscriminately. Flux cored electrodes
of Trigger have personality, which needs to be considered. It
Trigger Rated for 1.5+ Million Cycles is not that one manufacturers electrodes are better
But Is Quickly Changed If Damaged than anothers, but they are different. For exam-
Steel Spring Strain Relief Protects
ple, an E71T-11 of 0.045-inch diameter from one
Power Cable from Wear and Helps manufacturer may require different operation pa-
Eliminate Wire Liner Kinking rameters, such as electrode extension, arc voltage,
amperage, wire-feed speed, and even mechanical
Fig. 23-13 Gun for heavy-duty, solid, metal cored or flux cored welding. It is
rated at 600 amperes, 100 percent duty cycle with CO2 shielding gas. It is avail- properties. It is best to always consult the manu-
able in 10- to 15-foot lengths and for wire sizes 0.035 to 16inch. Nozzles are
1 facturer for the optimum operating conditions.
available from 2- to 8inch inside diameter. Miller Electric Mfg. Co.
1 5
Tables 23-4 and 23-5 (pp. 760761) compare vari-
ous manufacturers by name with the AWS classification
Wire Classifications
Wire classifications for flux cored electrodes of both the Hydrogen Control of Flux Cored Electrodes
self-shielded and gas shielded types are covered in the In the AWS Specification 5.20, the flux cored process
AWS A5.20Carbon Steel, A5.22Stainless Steel, and is referred to as a low hydrogen welding process. This
A5.29Low Alloy Steel documents, Fig.23-14, page 758. specification also makes available optional and supple-
Those wires used with gas shielding are the E70T-1, mentary designators for maximum diffusible hydrogen
E70T-1M, E71T-1, E71T-1M, E70T-2, E70T-2M, E71T- levels of 4, 8, and 16 milliliters per 100 grams of depos-
2, E71T-2M, E70T-5, E70T-5M, E71T-5, E71T-5M, E70T-9, ited weld metal.
E70T-9M, E71T-9, E71T-9M, E70T-12, E70T-12M, E71T- Some of the gas shielded and self-shielded electrodes are
12, and E71T-12M electrode wires. Those wires requiring designed and manufactured to meet very stringent hydrogen
no shielding gas are the E70T-3, E70T-4, E70T-6, E70T- requirements. These electrodes have an H added to their
7, E71T-7, E70T-8, E71T-8, E70T-10, E70T-11, E71T-11, classification. These electrodes will remain fundamentally

Table 23-1 Comparison of Various Semiautomatic Processes

Flux Core, Flux Core,

Characteristic Solid Wire Metal Core Gas Shielded Self-Shielded
Penetration Shallow to deep Shallow to medium Medium to deep Shallow to medium
Deposition rate Low to high Low to high Medium to high Low to medium
Deposition efficiency 9598% 8599% 8592% 5991%
Fluidity of pool Viscous to fluid Fluid Fluid Fluid
Bead width Narrow Wide Wide Wide
Bead shape Convex Flat Flat to convex Flat to convex
Wire size range 0.0230.125 in. 0.045 32 in.
0.035 8 in.
0.035532 in.
Shielding gas Required Required Required None
Variety Medium Medium Wide Medium
Travel speed Slow to fast Slow to fast Slow to fast Slow to fast
Fitup Good to poor Good to medium Good to medium Excellent to medium
Slag forming Little Little Covers weld Covers weld

FCAW (Plate), SAW, and Related Processes: FCAW-G Jobs 23-J1J11, FCAW-S Jobs 23-J1J12; SAW Job 23-J1 Chapter 23 757
Must Be Used as an Electrode hydrogen applications. Conditioning requires
Minimum Tensile Strength in 10,000 p.s.i. using temperatures in the 205 to 255F range
Increments for a period of 6 to 12 hours and then cooling.
Indicates Welding Position: 0 Means Flat and These electrodes can then be stored in sealed
Horizontal; 1 Means All Positions 4-millimeter minimum thickness poly bags.
Electrodes that are rusty should be discarded.
E 70 T X X M J HZ
Care must be taken not to cook off the lubri-
Indicates a Tubular Flux Cored
Optional Supplemental
cants present on the wire. The best procedure is
Hydrogen Designator to follow the specific electrode manufacturers
Indicates Usability of the Electrode recommendations.
Indicates Chemical Composition and Indicates Increased
Operating Characteristics Impact Properties Over Joint Design
What Is Normally Required
An M Indicates 7580% Ar/Balance CO2; Flux cored wire can save time and weld metal.
If No M Is Indicated, CO2 to Be Used or Part of the savings results from continuous
Electrode Is Self-Shielding
welding with high deposition rates. Further
Fig. 23-14 FCAW tubular flux cored electrode. savings are achieved by designing joints to
take full advantage of the deep penetration and
sound weld metal.
dry if stored according to their manufacturer in the original The volume of weld metal required to complete a butt
unopened package or container. joint can be effectively reduced by reducing the root open-
Sometimes electrodes must be supplied in hermeti- ing, increasing the root face, and using smaller groove an-
cally sealed packages. These electrodes are used in criti- gles. Deep penetration enables the welder to compensate
cal applications where hydrogen must be controlled at for poor fitup, and strong fillets are possible with fewer
8 milliliters per 100 grams of deposited weld metal or passes and less metal. Smaller joint openings can be used in
lower. Another good example would be when shipping, metals thicker than 12 inch. Welding is usually on material
handling, and storage conditions are not known or con- thicknesses greater than 18 inch. Thicknesses up to 12inch
trolled. This system of packaging is much like the way are weldable with no edge preparation, and with edge prep-
low hydrogen covered electrodes are supplied for shielded aration maximum thickness is practically unlimited.
metal arc welding. Fillet welds can be reduced in exterior size and retain
Once the packaging has been opened, electrodes should comparable or greater strength because of the deep pen-
not be exposed to conditions exceeding 80 percent relative etration of the arc, Fig. 23-15 (p. 760).
humidity for a period greater than 16 hours, or any less Figures 23-16 to 23-21 show the various joint designs
humid condition for greater than 24 hours. and procedures for welding butt joints.
When electrodes have been exposed to these excess
Shielding Gas
conditions, they need to be conditioned for critical low
The variety of shielding gases that may be used for flux
cored wire welding is limited.
M-type electrodes require 75 to 80 percent argon/balance
CO2. If no M is present, CO2 is to be used, or with some
JO B TI P types of electrodes no shielding gas is required. In ad-
dition to carbon dioxide, a mixture consisting of 98 per-
Types of Work
cent argon and 2 percent oxygen or 95 percent argon and
Types of work needing welders that may
interest you:
5 percent oxygen may be used. A mixture of 75 percent
argon and 25 percent carbon dioxide is also satisfactory.
In general, the argon-rich mixtures offer more stable (less
penetrating) controllable arcs over 100 percent CO2. It can
be less smoky in operation, but it is a more expensive gas.
Ship building When using carbon dioxide, a gas flow rate of 30 to
Bridge building 45 cubic feet per minute must be maintained. It may be
Skyscraper construction necessary to increase flow rates 25 to 50 percent when
Sculpting welding outdoors or in drafty locations. To maintain
this flow rate, two or more standard cylinders should be

758 Chapter 23 FCAW (Plate), SAW, and Related Processes: FCAW-G Jobs 23-J1J11, FCAW-S Jobs 23-J1J12; SAW Job 23-J1