What is TIG Welding (GTAW) & How it Works

TIG welding, also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), is a welding process that uses a tungsten electrode to produce an electric arc that melts and fuses metal together. TIG welding is typically used for welding thin sections of stainless steel, aluminum, magnesium, and other non-ferrous metals, as well as for welding critical welds such as those found in aerospace, medical, and automotive applications.

The basic components of a TIG welding setup include a power source, a TIG torch with a tungsten electrode, a shielding gas source, and a ground clamp. When the TIG torch is triggered, the tungsten electrode produces a high-intensity electric arc that heats the metal to its melting point. As the metal melts, a filler rod is fed into the weld pool to add additional metal and strengthen the weld.

TIG welding is unique in that it uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the arc, whereas other welding processes typically use a consumable electrode. The tungsten electrode does not melt during welding, and instead remains in place to maintain the arc and provide a stable heat source. This allows for precise control of the welding process and the ability to produce high-quality welds with minimal distortion.

To protect the weld from atmospheric contamination, TIG welding uses a shielding gas such as argon or helium. The gas flows through the TIG torch and covers the weld area, preventing oxygen and other contaminants from interacting with the molten metal. The choice of shielding gas depends on the specific metal being welded and the desired characteristics of the weld.

Overall, TIG welding is a versatile and precise welding process that is often used in applications where high-quality welds are essential. Its ability to weld thin materials and produce minimal distortion makes it a popular choice in industries such as aerospace, automotive, and medical. However, TIG welding requires a higher level of skill and expertise compared to other welding processes, and can be more time-consuming and expensive due to the need for specialized equipment and shielding gas.