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Shielded Metal Arc Welding ( SMAW )
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Shielded metal arc welding.
Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) is a process that melts and joins metals by heating them with an arc established between a sticklike covered electrode and the metals, as shown in figure aside. It is often called stick welding. The electrode holder is connected through a welding cable to one terminal of the power source and the workpiece is connected through a second cable to the other terminal of the power source.
Figure: Shielded metal arc welding:
- (a) overall process
- (b) welding area enlarged.
The core of the covered electrode, the core wire, conducts the electric current to the arc and provides filler metal for the joint. For electrical contact, the top 1.5 cm of the core wire is bare and held by the electrode holder. The electrode holder is essentially a metal clamp with an electrically insulated outside shell for the welder to hold safely.
The heat of the arc causes both the core wire and the flux covering at the electrode tip to melt off as droplets . The molten metal collects in the weld pool and solidifies into the weld metal.The lighter molten flux, on the other hand, floats on the pool surface and solidifies into a slag layer at the top of the weld metal.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The welding equipment is relatively simple, portable, and inexpensive as compared to other arc welding processes. For this reason, SMAW is often used for maintenance, repair, and field construction. However, the gas shield in SMAW is not clean enough for reactive metals such as aluminum and titanium. The deposition rate is limited by the fact that the electrode covering tends to overheat and fall off when excessively high welding currents are used.The limited length of the electrode (about 35 cm) requires electrode changing, and this further reduces the overall production rate.
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