Tungsten Electrodes - What's the difference?

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Choosing a correct tungsten electrode helps you weld better.

There are different color of tungsten electrodes. Blue, red, gold, white and green. Do you know how to choose them? Different material need different tungsten.
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WP- Pure Tungsten

Pure tungsten electrodes (AWS classification EWP) contain 99.50 percent tungsten, have the highest consumption rate of all electrodes, and typically are less expensive than their alloyed counterparts.
These electrodes form a clean, balled tip when heated and provide great arc stability for AC welding with a balanced wave. Pure tungsten also provides good arc stability for AC sine wave welding, especially on aluminum and magnesium It is not typically used for DC welding because it does not provide the strong arc starts associated with thoriated or ceriated electrodes.

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WT20- Thoriated Tungsten

Thoriated (Color Code: Red)
Thoriated tungsten electrodes (AWS classification EWTh-2) contain a minimum of 97.30 percent tungsten and 1.70 to 2.20 percent thorium and are called 2 percent thoriated. They are the most commonly used electrodes today and are preferred for their longevity and ease of use. Thorium increases the electron emission qualities of the electrode, which improves arc starts and allows for a higher current-carrying capacity. This electrode operates far below its melting temperature, which results in a considerably lower rate of consumption and eliminates arc wandering for greater stability. Compared with other electrodes, thoriated electrodes deposit less tungsten into the weld puddle, so they cause less weld contamination.
These electrodes are used mainly for specialty AC welding (such as thin-gauge aluminum and material less than 0.060 inch) and DC welding, either electrode negative or straight polarity, on carbon steel, stainless steel, nickel, and titanium.
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WL20-Lanthanated Tungsten

These electrodes have excellent arc starting, a low burnoff rate, good arc stability, and excellent reignition characteristics—many of the same advantages as ceriated electrodes. Lanthanated electrodes also share the conductivity characteristics of 2 percent thoriated tungsten. In some cases,  lanthanated can replace 2 percent thoriated without having to make significant welding program changes.
Lanthanated tungsten electrodes are ideal if you want to optimize your welding capabilities. They work well on AC or DC electrode negative with a pointed end, or they can be balled for use with AC sine wave power sources. Lanthanated tungsten maintains a sharpened point well, which is an advantage for welding steel and stainless steel on DC or AC from square wave power sources.
Unlike thoriated tungsten, these electrodes are suitable for AC welding and, like ceriated electrodes, allow the arc to be started and maintained at lower voltages. Compared with pure tungsten, the addition of lanthana increases the maximum current-carrying capacity by approximately 50 percent for a given electrode size.

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Wzr8-zirconiated tungsten

A zirconiated tungsten electrode produces an extremely stable arc and resists tungsten spitting. It is ideal for AC welding because it retains a balled tip and has a high resistance to contamination. Its current-carrying capability is equal to or greater than that of thoriated tungsten. Under no circumstances is zirconiated recommended for DC welding
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WC20-Ceriated tungsten

Ceriated tungsten electrodes (AWS classification EWCe-2) contain a minimum of 97.30 percent tungsten and 1.80 to 2.20 percent cerium and are referred to as 2 percent ceriated. These electrodes perform best in DC welding at low current settings but can be used proficiently in AC processes. With its excellent arc starts at low amperages, ceriated tungsten has become popular in such applications as orbital tube and pipe fabricating, thin sheet metal work, and jobs involving small and delicate parts. Like thorium, it is best used to weld carbon steel, stainless steel, nickel alloys, and titanium, and in some cases it can replace 2 percent thoriated electrodes. Ceriated tungsten has slightly different electrical characteristics than thorium, but most welders can't tell the difference.
Using ceriated electrodes at higher amperages is not recommended because higher amperages cause the oxides to migrate quickly to the heat at the tip, removing the oxide content and nullifying its process benefits.

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