10 Most Common Types Of ARC Welding Processes

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ARC welding is a process that uses an electric arc to heat and melt the base metals so they can be joined together. It's used in industries such as construction, automotive manufacturing, and aerospace engineering. Types of ARC Welding include Bare Metal ARC Welding (BMAW), Carbon ARC Welding (CAW), Flux-Cored ARC Welding (FCAW), Gas Metal ARC Welding (GMAW), Gas Tungsten ARC Welding (GTAW), Plasma ARC Welding (PAW), Shielded Metal ARC Welding (SMAW), Submerged ARC Welding (SAW), Magnetically Impelled ARC Butt (MIAB), Atomic Hydrogen Welding (AHW). 

This article will discuss the details of 10 common ARC welding processes. 

Here are some of the best types of ARC welding processes we found: 

01. Bare Metal ARC Welding (BMAW)
02. Carbon ARC Welding (CAW)
03. Flux-Cored ARC Welding (FCAW)
04. Gas Metal ARC Welding (GMAW)
05. Gas Tungsten ARC Welding (GTAW)
06. Plasma ARC Welding (PAW)
07. Shielded Metal ARC Welding (SMAW)
08. Submerged ARC Welding (SAW)
09. Magnetically Impelled ARC Butt (MIAB)
10. Atomic Hydrogen Welding (AHW)

01. Bare metal ARC welding (BMAW)

Bare Metal ARC Welding (BMAW)

Fig 01: Bare Metal ARC Welding (BMAW)

What is bare metal ARC welding (BMAW)? 

The bare metal is a system that uses large filler rod and electrodes in welding. The process involves consumable electrodes used to supply electricity into the welding joint, enhancing the combination of the two metals. Accordingly, the electrodes melt on reaching near the welding pool and get consumed

The welding process is wandering and erratic with less spatter and porosity due to the lack of a flux coat for protecting the gas shield. Additionally, the lack of flux on the rod causes mechanical problems due to oxidation. However, the welding process is not efficient since it allows too much loss of current into the atmosphere. The loss of current contribute to poor welding and too costly to the welders.

02. Carbon ARC Welding (CAW)

Carbon ARC Welding (CAW)

Fig 02: Carbon ARC Welding (CAW)

What is Carbon ARC Welding (CAW)?

Carbon welding involves the process of joining metals by heating an arc between the workpiece and the carbon electrode. The carbon electrodes vary in size and range from the diameter of 3.2- 22.2 mm with large size of water-cooled holders.

The application of the process includes copper welding that requires a large amount of heat and in making repairs of bronze on the cast iron parts. Additionally, the carbon arc welding applies in combining galvanized steel by adding bronze filler between the base metal and the arc.

03. Flux-cored ARC welding (FCAW)

Flux-Cored ARC Welding (FCAW)

Fig 03: Flux-Cored ARC Welding (FCAW)

What is Flux-Cored ARC Welding (FCAW)?

Flux-cored is a type of arc welding that uses tubular electrodes fed with flux and a continuous voltage current supply that creates a constant arc length. Accordingly, the process uses the gas formed by the flux in providing a coating protects against contamination. The coating is also essential in allowing the slow cooling of the weld, thus creating a steadier weld.

The method is perfect for dense section welding due to its high rate of weld-metal deposition. Accordingly, the process enables a high wire deposition rate and more stability of the arch facilitating to its effective performance. Structural welding and repair operations on the pipeline welds are among the major applications of the welding process.

04. Gas metal ARC welding (GMAW)

Gas Metal ARC Welding (GMAW)

Fig 04: Gas Metal ARC Welding (GMAW)

What is Gas Metal ARC Welding (GMAW)? 

GMAW is the next type of welding that uses a shielding mixture of gases such as helium and argon in protecting base metals against contamination. The system contains de-oxidizers used to prevent oxidation hence help in the welding of multiple layers.

The method performs different functions. Simplicity is one of the functions in which the system contains less complex operation guidelines. Additionally, the GMAW is economical on energy usage hence helps on energy-saving bills. The operation of the system occurs at low temperatures and has simple automation. The application of the welding techniques include sections and thin sheets.

05. Gas tungsten ARC welding (GTAW)

Gas Tungsten ARC Welding (GTAW)

Fig 05: Gas Tungsten ARC Welding (GTAW)

What is Gas Tungsten ARC Welding (GTAW)? 

The GTAW is another welding method that uses a non-consumable tungsten rod in creating the arc, an inert shielding gas. The gas helps in protecting the molten pool and weld from atmospheric contamination. The filler wire in the system also helps in the addition of molten required to facilitate effective performance.

The method uses alloys and metals in producing top quality welds and less generation of fumes during the process. The fumes produced during the operation originates mainly from the external metal filler and the metal base. The process is suitable for welding light metals and stainless steel thin sections.

06. Plasma ARC Welding (PAW)

Plasma ARC Welding (PAW)

Fig 06: Plasma ARC Welding (PAW)

What is Plasma ARC Welding (PAW)? 

The PAW is a welding system formed between the workpiece and the pointed electrode. The method employs ionized electrodes and gases that generate hot plasma jets pointed at the welding region. The Power for PAW originates from the arc constricted through relatively small Orifice using force and usually operated by DC powerhouse.

The method consists of three modes of operation, including micro plasma, medium current, and keyhole plasma. Micro plasma welding is a needle-like to minimize arc distortion and wander. The medium current has deeper penetration and high tolerance to surface contamination. The keyhole has a high welding rate and deep penetration.

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07. Shielded Metal ARC Welding (SMAW)

Shielded Metal ARC Welding (SMAW)

Fig 07: Shielded Metal ARC Welding (SMAW)

What is Shielded Metal ARC Welding (SMAW)? 

SMAW is the oldest, most adaptable, and simplest method of arc welding. The generation of the arc involves coating the tip of the electrode touching the welding region and its withdrawal to facilitate maintenance of the arc. In the process, heat supplied facilitates the melting of the metal, tip, and coating, creating the weld once the alloy solidifies.

The shielding metal system is highly versatile due to its usability in most of the welding positions, as well as in repair and production welding situations. Accordingly, the application of the method includes shipbuilding, pipeline work, and the daily construction process. Notably, the welding system should remain covered using a moisture-proof canister before its application.

08. Submerged ARC Welding (SAW)

Submerged ARC Welding (SAW)

Fig 08: Submerged ARC Welding (SAW)

What is Submerged ARC Welding (SAW)? 

The construction of the SAW mechanism includes a granular flux creating a thick layer in the welding process. The thick layer helps in sealing the molten metal completely, thus preventing spatter and sparks in the process of welding. This mechanism facilitates deeper penetration of heat due to its thermal insulation ability.

The submerged arc welding has a high-quality weld and advanced operation environment with the ability to achieve the perfect performance. The method is the best necessary foe sheet metal welding up to 1.5 mm upwards and thicks, however mainly used for welding thicker materials. Additionally, large items like plates in shipyards and large cylindrical vessels mainly use the process during welding.

09. Magnetically Impelled ARC Butt (MIAB)

Magnetically Impelled ARC Butt (MIAB)

Fig 09: MIAB welding set-up, cross-sectional view.

What is Magnetically Impelled ARC Butt (MIAB)? 

MIAB is a welding mechanism generating uniform heat at the joint by the rapid arc rotation. The rotation of the arc emerges from the force applied on the through the external field of magnetism. The welding process is strong with a simple modification and requires less upset pressure in operation.

The tubular construction is imperative due to its lightweight, material savings, and rigidity provisions used to facilitate the effective performance of the model. The tubes welded from MIAB procedures have great potential for cost reduction hence easily affordable by individuals with low incomes. However, designing tubes with MIAB has unique technical difficulties affecting its efficiency functionality.

The welding process majorly applies in the industry of automotive for butt welding of tubular parts and tubes with the wall thickness of 0.8-6 mm and the diameter of 8-100 mm. For the ideal performance, the steel tubes of the model contain chromium plate and voltage monitoring techniques for weld quality assessment.

10. Atomic Hydrogen Welding (AHW)

Atomic Hydrogen Welding (AHW)

Fig 10: Atomic Hydrogen Welding (AHW)

What is Atomic Hydrogen Welding (AHW)? 

The AHW system is a combination of a gas and electric arc welding techniques. The thermochemical process of the model involves joining workpieces using heat. The heat used to evolve from passing the hydrogen stream through the electric struck existing between two electrodes. During the welding process, the arc supplies energy for the chemical reaction to occur, releasing more heat due to exothermic reaction.

For effective performance, the hydrogen molecules efficiently break up by the electric arc, then the molecules recombine, releasing tremendous heat with a temperature range between 3400-4000 degrees Celsius. The hydrogen serves as a shielding gas and heating element to prevent the oxidation of molten liquid and contamination by oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen.

The application involves welding tools with molybdenum, tungsten, and nickel. The atomic welding by hydrogen mainly applies in areas with rapid welding needs, including non-ferrous metals and stainless steel.


We cover the most common and essential types of arc welding processes so that you can be able to meet the welding demands of different industries and applications.

Welders can pick a welding machine for their best choice. The discussion above on arc welding process is a basis for wise decision making in picking models with outstanding specifications for efficient performance in the welding operation. Most importantly, welders should ready the stated guidelines of each model before purchasing to avoid incurring regular maintenance expenses.


What is the difference between an arc and argon welding?

Arc welding is a process that requires an electric arc in joining metals to each other, while argon welding is a process of combining metals using argon gas.

How hot is a welding arc?

The arc temperature normally ranges between 6000-80000 Celsius.

Last Updated on January 6, 2022 by weldinghubs

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