Welding is a specialised, heat-based process allowing two materials to be fused together. Stick welding, otherwise known as shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), is a type of manual welding process in which an electric current passes through a stick electrode to join two pieces of metal. It is a widely used welding process that produces of up to 9
5% efficiency, making it one of the most popular and economical methods of welding. One of the biggest questions that confuses many welders is understanding polarity in stick welding.
With an estimated 10 million individuals worldwide using this particular welding process, understanding what polarity is stick welding is a question that needs to be answered.
What Is Polarity In Stick Welding?Stick welding, or Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), is one of the most popular welding processes used nowadays. It involves the use of a welding electrode, a welding machine and an electrical current to connect two pieces of metal together.
In order for the welding weld to be successful, the right polarity must be chosen.
What Is Polarity?
Polarity is a term used to describe the direction of the electrical current. As a general rule, positive polarity is when the welding machine provides a positive electrical current and negative polarity is when the welding machine provides a negative electrical current.
Types Of PolarityThere are two common types of polarity used in stick welding: Direct Current Electrode Positive and Direct Current Electrode Negative.
- Direct Current Electrode Positive: DCEN is the most popular choice due to the fact that it provides for a deeper penetration. This is important in thicker metals that need to be welded.
- Direct Current Electrode Negative: DCEN provides for a softer and less penetrating arc. This is important when welding thinner metals, as the arc can be more easily controlled.
Which Polarity Is Right For You?The type of polarity you need for a particular welding job depends on the material thickness, the desired weld penetration and the type of electrode that is used. Thicker materials tend to require DCEN while thinner materials require DCEP.
Ultimately, it pays to experiment and find out which polarity works best with your welding job.