Is stick welding electrode positive or negative?
Stick welding, also known as shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), is a popular welding process that uses a flux coated consumable electrode to create an electric arc between the electrode and the metal being welded.
One of the key considerations when stick welding is determining whether the electrode is positive or negative?
In this blog post, we will explore the difference between positive and negative electrodes polarity in stick welding, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
We will also discuss how to choose the right electrode polarity for your welding job and how to properly set up your welding equipment for optimal results.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced welder, this post will provide you with valuable information on electrode polarity in stick welding.
Stick Welding Electrode: Is It Positive or Negative?
In stick welding, the electrode is the consumable rod that creates an electric arc between itself and the metal being welded.
The electrode can be either positive or negative, and the choice of polarity can have a significant impact on the quality of the weld & weld penetration.
A positive electrode, also known as reverse polarity (DCEP), is where the electrode is connected to the positive terminal of the welding power source, and the workpiece is connected to the negative terminal.
Read more: What is Reverse Polarity?
This results in the electrode being positively charged and the workpiece negatively charged.
A positive electrode is typically used for welding thicker materials, as it creates a deeper and wider weld puddle. This allows for more penetration and a stronger weld.
On the other hand, a negative electrode, also known as straight polarity, is where the electrode is connected to the negative terminal of the welding power source, and the workpiece is connected to the positive terminal.
It is important to choose the right electrode polarity for the type of welding you are doing and the thickness of the material you are welding. Many welding machines have a switch to change polarity as shown in the below image.
It’s always good to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each polarity, and select the one that is appropriate for the task at hand. This will ensure that you get the best possible results from your stick welding.
Well, stick welding polarity depends on the Welding rod, How? let’s see.
The choice of electrode polarity in stick welding depends on the type of welding rod being used.
Different types of welding rods have different chemical compositions and coatings, which can affect the way they interact with the electric arc and the metal being welded.
The coating on the electrode can be made of different materials such as cellulose, rutile, and iron powder.
These coatings have different characteristics that will affect the way the electrode melts and the weld puddle behave.
For example, cellulose electrodes (e.g., E6010, E8010 & E6011) have a coating that burns off quickly, creating a shield of vapor around the weld puddle.
This shield helps protect the weld from contamination and improves its appearance. These electrodes are generally used with reverse polarity.
Welding polarity for different types of stick welding electrodes are given in the below table (Reference: AWS A5.1 Specification).
On the other hand, rutile electrodes (Such as E6012 & E6013) have a coating that burns off more slowly, creating a more stable arc. These electrodes are generally used with straight polarity as well as reverse polarity.
Iron powder electrodes (E7015 & E7018) have a coating that contains iron powder, which helps create a deeper and wider weld puddle. These electrodes are also generally used with reverse polarity.
In conclusion, the choice of electrode polarity in stick welding is a crucial factor that can greatly impact the quality of the final weld.
DC electrode positive (DC+) polarity is typically used for welding with low hydrogen electrodes and is known for its greater penetration, better arc control, and greater efficiency.
While DC electrode negative (DC-) polarity is typically used for welding with cellulosic electrodes, it produces a cooler, more diffused arc that helps to prevent the electrode from burning too quickly.
When choosing the polarity, it is important to consider the type of electrode being used, the desired welding characteristics and the specific requirements of the project.
By understanding the advantages and limitations of each polarity, welders can make informed decisions that will result in the highest quality welds possible.