Welding Electrode Analysis with XRF Analyzers

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Welding Electrode Analysis with XRF Analyzers

In order to produce the expected results—a high-quality, long-lasting weld—it is essential to use the correct type of welding electrode. Rods that are not actually of the composition noted on their labeling, rods with the wrong element added, or rods with the incorrect amount of the additive element will likely produce results that are far from ideal or expected. An electrode that is subject to a materials mix-up or is out of spec can damage the base metal/component that is being welded, which leads to wasted materials, lost production time, lost profits, and expensive rework.

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) electrodes are made out of different materials depending on their application. While tungsten is the base material, there are many combinations of other elements alloyed with tungsten that account for the properties of an electrode. Typical elements alloyed with tungsten to make electrode rods are zirconium, thorium, lanthanum, cerium, and other various rare earth elements. The electrodes are called zirconiated, thoriated, lanthanated, ceriated, and rare earth electrodes, respectively. There are also pure tungsten electrodes. Choosing the proper electrode rod for your application depends on the composition and thickness of the base material, as well as on the type of current used. For example, ceriated tungsten electrodes are best for welding stainless and carbon steels, nickel alloys, and titanium alloys; pure tungsten electrodes, on the other hand, are excellent for AC welding of magnesium and aluminum. 

In order to produce the expected results—a high-quality, long-lasting weld—it is essential to use the correct type of welding electrode. Rods that are not actually of the composition noted on their labeling, rods with the wrong element added, or rods with the incorrect amount of the additive element will likely produce results that are far from ideal or expected. An electrode that is subject to a materials mix-up or is out of spec can damage the base metal/component that is being welded, which leads to wasted materials, lost production time, lost profits, and expensive rework.

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