Understanding electric arc welding

Today I will be discussing the definition, applications, types, equipment, working, advantages, and disadvantages of electric arc welding. previously, some articles were published on welding processes. check out!

Electric arc welding


What is electric arc welding?

Arc welding is a welding process that uses an electric arc to create enough heat to melt metal, it cools and results in bonding. This fusion welding uses AC or DC power supply as its source of heat. The power supply creates an arc between a consumable or non-consumable electrode, passing either AC or DC current to the base material.

In other words, it is a type of welding process that uses a welding power supply to generate an electric arc between a metal stick (electrode) and the base metal. It melts the metals at the point of contact. There choices and stability for welders to use direct or alternating current and consumable or non-consumable electrode depending on the factors considered.

Read more: Understanding gas welding

Arc welding was first developed in the late part of the 19th century, used in shipbuilding during the second world war. This process today becomes one of the fastest and common welding processes in fabrication companies.

Diagram of an electric arc welding:

diagram of electric arc welding

Electric arc welding equipment

The arc welding equipment mainly includes an AC machine, or DC machine, Electrode, Holder for the electrode, Cables, Connectors for cable, Earthing clamps, Chipping hammer, Helmet, Wire brush, Hand gloves, Safety goggles, sleeves, Aprons, etc.

Read more: Different types of equipment used in arc welding


Arc welding is widely used in many areas today as it comes in different types. The following are the applications of arc welding;

  • Shipbuilding
  • Construction industries
  • Automotive industries
  • Mechanical industries.

Here are some other applications of arc welding

  1. Aerospace industries use gas tungsten arc welding in many joining areas, most especially sheet metals
  2. Most fabrication industries use GTAW for welding thin workpiece, especially nonferrous metals
  3. Arc welding is used extensively in manufacturing space vehicles
  4. It is used for welding parts of small diameter, thin wall tubing, making it applicable in bicycle industries
  5. The GTAW types of arc welding are used to make nut or first-pass welds for piping of various sizes
  6. It is used to repair tools or dies, mostly on parts made with aluminum and magnesium
  7. GTAW welds are highly resistant to corrosion and cracking over a long period of time, it is used where these qualities are needed.

Read more: Understanding electro slag welding 

Types of Arc Welding

The various types of arc welding include:

  • Plasma Arc Welding
  • Metal Arc Welding
  • Carbon Arc Welding
  • Gas Tungsten Arc Welding
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding
  • Submerged Arc Welding
  • SMAW – Shielded Metal Arc Welding
  • FCAW (Flux Cored Arc Welding)
  • ESW (Electro-Slag Welding)
  • Arc Stud Welding

Although there are still other uncommon types of arc welding, the above listed are the common types.

Read more: Different types of electric arc welding

Watch the video below to learn about the working of electric arc welding:

Read more: Understanding shielded arc welding (SMAW)

Advantages and disadvantages of electric arc welding


Arc welding offers great advantages over many others welding processes. Some benefits of arc welding include:

  1. The welding equipment is portable, making it easy to transport for outside jobs
  2. It has the ability to weld on porous and dirty metals
  3. Its equipment is inexpensive
  4. It is a fast welding process when compared to others
  5. Its operation can be performed during wind or rain
  6. It offers strong joint
  7. Arc welding beads can be used to create designs on fine metals
  8. Its power supply can be used where there is electricity and the alternative can use be if there is no electricity but generator.

Read more: Understanding submerged arc welding


  1. An increase in project costs as wastage is inevitable during the process
  2. The well trained and skillful operator is needed for the task
  3. Not all thin metals can weld on arc welding

That is all for this article, where the definition, diagram, applications, equipment, types, working, advantages, and disadvantages of electric arc welding is discussed. I hope you got a lot from the reading, if so, kindly share with other students. Thanks for reading, see you next time!



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