*Shielded Metal Arc welding *is the most widely used method for general welding applications. It is also referred to as metallic arc, manual metal-arc, or stick-electrode welding. It is an arc welding process in which the joining of metals is produced by heat from an electric arc that is maintained between the tip of a covered electrode and the base metal surface of the joint being welded.
Shielded Metal Arc Welding Advantages
The Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) process can be used for welding most structural and alloy steels. These include low-carbon or mild steels; low-alloy, heat-treatable steels; and high-alloy steels such as stainless steels. SMAW is used for joining common nickel alloys and can be used for copper and aluminum alloys. This welding process can be used in all positions–flat, vertical, horizontal, or overhead–and requires only the simplest equipment. Thus, SMAW lends itself very well to field work (fig. 10-21).
Shielded Metal Arc Welding Disadvantages
Slag removal, unused electrode stubs, and spatter add to the cost of SMAW. Unused electrode stubs and spatter account for about 44 percent of the consumed electrodes. Another cost is the entrapment of slag in the form of inclusions, which may have to be removed.