1. One of the most common types of arc welding is shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), which is also known as manual metal arc welding (MMA) or stick welding. Electric current is used to strike an arc between the base material and consumable electrode rod, which is made of steel and is covered with a flux that protects the weld area from oxidation and contamination by producing CO2 gas during the welding process.
2. Gas metal arc welding (GMAW), also known as metal inert gas or MIG welding, is a semi-automatic or automatic process that uses a continuous wire feed as an electrode and an inert or semi-inert gas mixture to protect the weld from contamination. As with SMAW, reasonable operator proficiency can be achieved with modest training. Since the electrode is continuous, welding speeds are greater for GMAW than for SMAW.
3. A related process, flux-cored arc welding (FCAW), uses similar equipment but uses wire consisting of a steel electrode surrounding a powder fill material. This cored wire is more expensive than the standard solid wire and can generate fumes and/or slag, but it permits even higher welding speed and greater metal penetration.
4. Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), or tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding (also sometimes erroneously referred to as heliarc welding), is a manual welding process that uses a nonconsumable tungsten electrode, an inert or semi-inert gas mixture, and a separate filler material.
5. Submerged arc welding (SAW) is a high-productivity welding method in which the arc is struck beneath a covering layer of flux. This increases arc quality, since contaminants in the atmosphere are blocked by the flux. The slag that forms on the weld generally comes off by itself, and combined with the use of a continuous wire feed, the weld deposition rate is high. Working conditions are much improved over other arc welding processes, since the flux hides the arc and almost no smoke is produced.
6. The most common gas welding process is oxyfuel welding, also known as oxyacetylene welding. It is one of the oldest and most versatile welding processes, but in recent years it has become less popular in industrial applications. It is still widely used for welding pipes and tubes, as well as repair work. It is also frequently well-suited, and favored, for fabricating some types of metal-based artwork.
7. Resistance welding involves the generation of heat by passing current through the resistance caused by the contact between two or more metal surfaces. Small pools of molten metal are formed at the weld area as high current (1000–100,000 A) is passed through the metal. In general, resistance welding methods are efficient and cause little pollution, but their applications are somewhat limited and the equipment cost can be high.
8. and 9. Spot welding is a popular resistance welding method used to join overlapping metal sheets of up to 3 mm thick. Two electrodes are simultaneously used to clamp the metal sheets together and to pass current through the sheets. A specialized process, called shot welding, can be used to spot weld stainless steel.
Like spot welding, seam welding relies on two electrodes to apply pressure and current to join metal sheets. Other resistance welding methods include flash welding, projection welding, and upset welding.
10. Energy beam welding methods, namely laser beam welding and electron beam welding, are relatively new processes that have become quite popular in high production applications. The two processes are quite similar, differing most notably in their source of power.
11. Like the first welding process, forge welding, some modern welding methods do not involve the melting of the materials being joined. One of the most popular, ultrasonic welding, is used to connect thin sheets or wires made of metal or thermoplastic by vibrating them at high frequency and under high pressure.
Ultrasonic welding is commonly used for making electrical connections out of aluminum or copper, and it is also a very common polymer welding process.
12. Another common process, explosion welding, involves the joining of materials by pushing them together under extremely high pressure. Other solid-state welding processes include friction welding (including friction stir welding), electromagnetic pulse welding, co-extrusion welding, cold welding, diffusion welding, exothermic welding, high frequency welding, hot pressure welding, induction welding, and roll welding.