Electric arc welding with stick electrodes is one of the oldest and most versatile welding processes. And it is also considered one of the simplest and safest methods.
For electric arc welding with stick electrodes, an electric arc is ignited between a coated stick electrode and the workpiece; the electrode acts as the conductor and also as a depositing filler material. In the high temperature of the arc, the electrode melts and drips into the weld pool. Gases form that stabilize the arc and protect the weld pool from oxidation. Slag also forms. It floats on the weld pool as a protective layer and fulfills several functions. It protects against the influences of the surrounding atmosphere (especially oxidation), binds impurities, and since the weld pool cools off more slowly, it reduces residual stresses.
For electric arc welding with stick electrodes, the current must be kept constant. The current is delivered from a power source. The current used in electric arc welding with stick electrodes has a constant output current. This ensures that the current (and therefore the heat) remains relatively constant, even when the arc length and thereby the voltage changes. This is important because electric arc welding is usually a manual process where a welder holds the welding torch. That’s why a constant current source is required. But even with a constant current power source, the current is never absolutely constant; it varies with the length of the arc. Qualified welders make use of this fact to produce slight current fluctuations.
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