Different welding electrodes are used to weld different types of metals of varying thicknesses with non-identical chemical compositions. As there are hundreds of different welding electrodes on the market choosing the proper welding electrode might be a difficulty for some. Electrode diameter and flux composition affect the quality of the weld and overall performance. Choosing the proper quality electrode for each job can be identically challenging as the welding itself. So before you start welding it is a really good idea to learn about some of the properties of different electrodes that affect its quality.
The welding electrodes packaging is a good indicator of their overall condition. Welding electrodes are especially susceptible to moisture. If the packaging is deformed from moisture or shows clear signs of moisture damage due to improper storage, the best course of action is to avoid buying those electrodes. Welding electrodes that have been damaged by moisture will not produce as good a weld as a dry rod. Rods that have been exposed to too much moisture can cause cracking and porosity in the weld.
Examine the surface and the structure of the welding electrodes
Welding electrodes should be straight and structurally sound. The outer layer or the welding electrode or the flux coating should be uniformed without cracks, chips, etc. Having a chipped flux coating at the tip is a good indication of a bad bond between the wire core and the flux coating as a direct result of a bad flux coating formula. To avoid poor welding performance check the arc welding electrodes for any swaying, as they should be completely straight. It is not uncommon for the wire core to be bent during the production process leading to unstraight welding electrodes. You can accomplish this by rolling the electrodes on a flat surface such as a table.
Check if the product label specification matches the welding electrodes specification
It is common for manufactures to print the welding electrodes specification both on the product packaging label and on the base of the welding electrode. Always check if those two match. By checking the electrodes specification you prevent welding with the incorrect electrode from resulting in poor welding performance.
When buying welding electrodes always look for reputable suppliers that have a huge turnover. A huge turnover usually indicates that the welding electrodes weren’t kept in stock for a long time, thus ensuring their quality isn’t compromised. A straight away giveaway of poor storage conditions is the condition of the packaging. Welding electrodes kept in unsuitable conditions that have too much moisture can cause poor overall welding performance and may cause cracking and porosity in the weld. On the other hand, badly manufactured welding electrodes that are bent and are chipped may be the cause for unsatisfactory, poorly performed welds. In the end always check the electrode specifications as different welding electrodes are used for different materials, conditions, etc.