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Choosing the right type of MIG wire is critical for the look and strength of the welds you create. In some cases, it will depend on the kind of welding machine you’re using and in others, it will depend on the method. Whatever the case, you want to make the choice that allows for the best level of weldability. This includes:
Other factors to take into account include shielding gas and arc voltage. Both can have a significant impact on cost.
Soundness in the weld metal is characterized by a lack of porosity, as well as good fusion and freedom from cracking. Porosity is the most common cause of poor weld soundness and is caused by excess oxygen from the atmosphere, the shielding gas, and any base plate surface contaminants combined with carbon in the weld metal. This forms bundles of carbon monoxide (CO) gas. Some of the CO can become trapped as the weld cools, forming pores.
Typically, the MIG wire process is recognized as having very low hydrogen in the deposit. Although, factors – such as moisture in the shielding gas, atmospheric conditions, and plate condition – may impact the actual diffusible hydrogen in the weld deposit.
To minimize CO formation and porosity, sufficient deoxidation of the weld puddle is needed. To accomplish this, Spoolarc MIG welding wires contain elements that combine with oxygen instead of carbon to form harmless slags.
These elements, called deoxidizers, are manganese (Mn), silicon (Si), titanium (Ti), aluminum (Al), and zirconium (Zr). Aluminum, titanium, and zirconium are very powerful deoxidizers — perhaps five times as effective as manganese and silicon.
The fluidity of the molten weld puddle is also important to consider for several reasons. Fluid puddles tend to wet out smoothly at the edges and produce a flat, smooth bead shape, especially on fillet welds. This can impact multi-pass, short arc welds where lack-of-fusion defects can occur if bead shape is poor. Flat, well-wet-in beads are also desirable where appearance is a primary concern and where post-weld grinding may be necessary to meet job requirements.
(Caution: Excessive puddle fluidity can cause performance difficulties in out-of-position welding or in making concave horizontal fillets.)
Choosing the manganese and silicon content of a MIG wire is another major decision to take into account. Increasing manganese and silicon likewise affects puddle fluidity, bead shape, and other factors. The Al, Ti, and Zr deoxidizers in Spoolarc 65 wire tend to make its puddle somewhat sluggish. The “stiff” puddle characteristic makes this wire ideal for pipe – especially small diameter pipe – and many other out-of-position welding jobs.
Many welders don't fully understand the impact that shielding gas and arc voltage can have on the bottom-line cost of the welding operation. However, both are critically important to take into account for the following reasons:
(Note: Spoolarc “bare” wires are a standard product for customers requiring or preferring no copper coating.)
All Spoolarc MIG wires are cleaned after the final drawing process to remove residual drawing lubricants. They are then treated with a proprietary ESAB process to ensure the best results.
For instance, ESAB offers:
Most of the data in this guide are based on AWS tests performed under standard conditions. In normal practice, however, the results can differ. The following factors can affect the results produced by any wire/gas combination:
It’s therefore important to test the selected wire/gas combination in the same joint and under the same condition that would be used during actual production.