Welding electrode, commonly known as Welding rod, which is widely used in welding process. Welding is the procedure of joining two pieces of metal (known as workpiece) together into one unit with the use of extreme heat and transferring the electric from the welding electrode to the metal that creates an electric arc. The welding process is completed when the two metals are heated and melted with an electric arc and resulting in a strong bond between them.
Welding electrode acts as a filler to melt along with the metals. It is made of a metal wire and flux coating in the outer layer. The flux coating is used to prevent the oxidation of the metal during the welding process. There are a variety of sizes and metals available for the welding rod, we normally use the type which is identical or similar to the workpieces, but this may not apply to every case. However, choosing the right types of welding rod for your welding work is very critical as the wrong selection may weaken the weld.
The most common use of welding electrode in the industry is 6010, 6011, 6013, 7014 and 7018. From the number, we can easily understand the characteristics of the rod:
i. The first two digits indicate how much pressure the welding rod can withstand, measured in pounds per square inch, (PSI).
ii. The third digit represents its optimal welding position. Number 1 means the rod can be used in all positions; Number 2 denotes a flat and horizontal position; Number 4 means a vertically up or down position.
iii. The fourth digit tells us the flux material and suitable currents to use. It can be easily understood from the following table:
Welding Electrode 6010
The first two digits of 6010 indicate its maximum tensile strength, which is 60,000 PSI (same as 6013). 6010 is quite popular in the industry and it has high cellulose sodium in the coating. They are usually used for deep penetration as it can achieve a very high power density of a maximum of 1 megawatt per square centimeter. We normally used it for many types of general repair and maintenance jobs such as piping, patchworks, steel castings, storage tanks, or field construction. However, you will need to learn how to control its highly tight arc as it is not easy to hold during the welding process. It is important to note that 6010 can be only run on the welding machine that uses Direct Current (DC).
Welding Electrode 6013
6013 is ideal for general and light fabrication works as it provides medium-range penetration for smaller welding works or on thinner metal. They have a high titanium-potassium coating, compatible with many types of currents, power supplies, and can be paired with small welding machines. 6013 is pretty strong which also can create a smooth and stable arc, it is perfect for those application works that involve short/irregular weld which require changing from different welding position. 6013 will produce more spatter than 7018 but the slags can be easily removed once they appear. This type of welding rod is commonly used for welding metal sheets, shabby mild steel surfaces, or overworked welding.
Welding Electrode 7018
The first two digits of 7018 tell us that it can withstand the pressure of up to 70,000 PSI and the last two digits indicate that this electrode is coated with iron powder with low hydrogen content. Hence, it can produce a smooth yet very strong weld. 7018 is a very common type of welding rod that is easier to use than 6010, it is an all-position rod and can be used with both AC and DC power sources. With these advantages, 7018 is widely used in structural weldings such as bridges, powerhouses, and factories. However, 7018 must be stored in a moisture-free storage space with an oven of around 250°F and must not contact with water as these can reduce its lifespan.
Welding Electrode 7014
7014 is a good choice for beginners. It is a multi-purpose electrode which can be used for all position and even multi-layer welding application, it has coated with an iron powder that provides a high deposition rate and efficiency than 6013 or 6012. This electrode provides a stable arc, which results in a smooth bead appearance, fine ripples and its slag can be easily removed. Unlike other rods, it does not require strict storage requirements as 7014 is not low hydrogen content and not vulnerable to moisture environments. It is commonly used for heavy metal sheets and fabrication such as ship structure, bridge, building, tank, or machinery parts. AC or DC may be used for 7014 as well.