Glossary of Welding Terms

Arc [Arc Length] —The physical gap between the end of the electrode to the point where the arc makes contact with the base metal.

Duty-cycle —The minutes out of a 10-minute period an arc welder can be operated at maximum rated output. For example, a 60% duty cycle @ 300 Amps means that the welding machine can be used for 6 minutes (at 300 Amps) and then must be allowed to cool with the fan running for 4 minutes. This reduces the chance of heat damage to the system.

Electrode —A coated metal wire having the same composition as the material being welded.

Flux—The coating on arc-welding rods and in flux-cored welding wire that's consumed in the arc to produce a shielding gas. The gas displaces air and impurities from around the weld.

Ground Lead/ Workpiece Lead—The conductor cable or electrical conductor between the arc welding machine and the work.

Rated Output—The Amps and voltage the power source will produce for a given duty-cycle period. For example, 300 Amps, 32 load volts @ 60% duty-cycle.

Shielding Gas - Protective gas used to prevent atmospheric contamination of the weld pool. Usually a mixed gas or CO2.

Slag—A layer of flux soot the protects the weld from oxides and other contaminants while the weld is solidifying (cooling). Slag is to be removed after cooling.

Spatter—Metal particles thrown from the weld, often cooling and hardening on the work surface. A spatter-resistant spray applied to the workpiece can minimize spatter.

Torch—A device in the TIG process to control the position of the electrode, to transfer current to the arc and to direct the flow of shielding gas.

Tungsten—A rare metallic element with extremely high melting point used for manufacturing TIG electrodes.

Wire Feed Speed—Expressed as in//min. or mm/s and refers to the speed and amount of filler metal fed into a weld. The higher the wire feed speed, the higher the amperage

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