Tungsten electrodes come in a variety of types and sizes. Which Tungsten electrode you use, may be dependant on what you want to weld?
Here is a list of the most common Tungsten electrodes:
Tungsten electrodes are made by adding small quantities of metallic oxides (Cerium, Thorium, Lanthanum, etc) using a process called Sintering… “Compacting and forming a solid mass by heat or pressure, without liquefaction”.
The reason these oxides are added, is to enhance the performance of the electrodes. I.e. Their current carrying capacity, longevity, arc stability, etc. Each oxide can give slightly different characteristics when welding. Therefore, some oxides are more suited to a particular material (see the table below: “The Differences Between Tungsten Electrodes”).
The table below tries to set out the differences between tungsten electrodes. However, there are many slight differences between each electrode, (and all the detail can’t fit in one table). So try to check any data sheets (if available).
|TIG Welding – Tungsten Electrodes|
|Material||Colour||AC||DC||Amp||Material (and their alloys) 4|
|Ceriated 2%||Gray Orange 5||Y||Y 2||low||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Thoriated 1% 1||Yellow||Y|
|Thoriated 2% 1||Red||Y||Y 2||med||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Lanthanated 1% 3||Black||Y||Y|
|Lanthanated 1.5% 3||Gold||Y||Y||all||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Lanthanated 2% 3||Blue||Y||Y||med-high||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Zirconiated 0.8%||White Brown 5||Y||all||Y||Y|
|Tungsten Electrode – Sizes|
The general opinion online appears to be that Lanthanated 1.5% (Gold) electrodes appear to be taking over from Thoriated 2% (Red)1 as one of the most popular ‘multi purpose’ types of Tungsten electrode. For best results on Aluminium or Magnesium, use a Zirconiated 0.8% electrode.
As always, a specific job may be suited to a particular electrode. Therefore please read the manufacturers data sheets to check suitability.
Loosen the TIG torch back cap and move the Tungsten electrode to the position required. Retighten the back cap.
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