MIG welding, or Metal Inert Gas welding, is one of the most commonly used welding processes around the world. It is used in professional settings and by DIY enthusiasts, alike. The virtually limitless material combinations and relative ease of use make it the top choice for many.
But for the process to be successful, the correct gas must be used. Many users wonder, what gas is used in MIG welding?
This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the gas used in MIG welding and its various applications. Recent statistics suggest that over 100 million people every year utilize MIG welding to achieve their desired results.
Popular materials that are commonly joined with MIG welding include mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and copper. When the correct shielding gas is used, it helps to ensure a successful weld every time. So, let’s look at what gas is used in MIG welding.
What Gas Is Used In MIG Welding?MIG welding, also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), is a form of welding that uses a combination of a shielding gas, an electric current, and a consumable wire electrode to join two pieces of metal.
The term “MIG” stands for Metal Inert Gas, which refers to the shielding gas that is used during the welding process. As with any welding process, the type of shielding gas used can have an effect on the quality of the weld, so it’s important to choose the right gas for the job.
Types of Gases Used in MIG WeldingThe most common types of shielding gases used in MIG welding are argon, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and helium.
Each type of gas has its own unique properties that make it an excellent choice for certain applications. Here is a breakdown of the different gases and their benefits:
- Argon: Argon is the most popular type of shielding gas for MIG welding. It is non-reactive, meaning that it does not react with the weld and does not cause contamination.
It is also relatively inexpensive and is often used for welding carbon and stainless steel.
- Carbon Dioxide: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the least expensive of the shielding gases and is the most common choice for welding aluminum and magnesium.
It is also often used when welding with flux-cored wire because it helps to increase penetration and produce deep welds.
- Oxygen: Oxygen is rarely used as a shielding gas for MIG welding because it is extremely reactive. If oxygen is used in conjunction with other gases, it can cause the weld to oxidize and can even cause porosity in the weld.
However, it can be useful for welding stainless and other non-ferrous metals.
- Helium: Helium is often used as a shielding gas when welding aluminum and magnesium because it helps to increase the speed of the welding process and produces a smoother, higher-quality weld.
It is also often used when welding in tight spaces or with automated welding machines because it is less likely to be displaced by air currents.