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What Do American Welding Society Wire Filler Metal Designations Mean?

07 September, 18 2:58 pm · Leave a comment · reddarc
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Selecting Welding Wire

coil of welding wire
When selecting a wire electrode for welding, one will most likely run into an American Welding Society (AWS) filler metal classification. A purchaser who isn’t familiar with the AWS classification system might select the wrong type of wire. If the purchaser is only familiar with gas metal arc welding (GMAW) wire and is attempting to purchase self-shielded flux-cored wire (FCAW-S), confusion may arise about the differences between the two classifications. This too could result in selecting the wrong wire electrode. To help prevent this from happening, we’ve created this welding wire reference guide to remind welders exactly what the different AWS classifications designations mean. We’ve included references for solid wire electrodes, metal-cored wire electrodes, gas-shielded flux-cored electrodes, and self-shielded flux-cored electrodes.


Solid Welding Wire Electrode Designation Example:

welder welding
One of the most common low carbon steel solid welding wires is ER70S-6. It is widely used in many different applications, but some may not understand what those letters and numbers mean. From left to right:

E = electrode; this means that it is capable of being a carrier of electricity

R = rod; this means that it does not have to be an electrode to be used as weld metal. An example of this would be cutting the solid wire up into 50 cm sections for gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW)

70 = 70,000 as-welded tensile strength in pounds per square inch

S = solid; not tubular

-6 = variation of chemical composition; for instance, an ER70S-6 wire has more silicon than an ER70S-2


ER308LSi is a stainless steel solid wire.

From left to right:
E = electrode; this means that it is capable of being a carrier of electricity
R = rod; this means that it does not have to be an electrode to be used as weld metal. An example of this would be cutting the solid wire up into 50 cm sections for gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW)
308 = The stainless steel alloy of the welding wire
L = low carbon; as opposed to “H”, which would mean high carbon
Si = higher than normal amounts of silicon, improves the wetting of the weld puddle.


Metal-Cored Arc Welding Wire Example:

A common low carbon steel metal-cored arc welding wire is E70C-6M-H4:

E* = electrode; this means that it is capable of being a carrier of electricity
*Note that there is no “R” following the “E” in E70C-6M-H4; this is because this wire must be used as an electrode.

70 = 70,000 as-welded tensile strength in pounds per square inch
C = composite; as opposed to solid
-6 = variation of chemical composition
M = shielding gas type; “M” means a blend (typically 75% Argon/25% CO2), “C” designates 100% CO2
-H4 = maximum diffusible hydrogen level of 4 ml/100 grams of weld metal


Gas-Shielded Flux-Cored Welding Wire Example:

An example of a gas-shielded flux-cored arc welding wire is E70T-1C-JH8.

From left to right:

E* = electrode; this means that it is capable of being a carrier of electricity
*Note that there is no “R” following the “E” in E70C-6M-H4; this is because this wire must be used as an electrode.
7 = 70,000 as-welded tensile strength in pounds per square inch
0 = With flux-cored arc welding wires, the digit after the as-welded tensile strength designation is used to define the welding position capability of the wire; a “0” indicates flat or horizontal only, whereas a “1” indicates all positions including vertical and overhead
T = tubular; as opposed to solid
-1 = operating attributes; can help determine the electrical polarity that should be used for best performance and other welding attributes relative to other flux-cored wires
C = shielding gas type; “C” designates 100% CO2, “M” means a blend (typically 75% Argon/25% CO2)
-J = indicates that the welding wire is notable for its impact strength and toughness at cold temperatures relative to wires without the “J” designation
H4 = maximum diffusible hydrogen level of 4 ml/100 grams of weld metal


Self-Shielded Flux-Cored Welding Wire Example:

An example of a self-shielded flux-cored wire is E71T-14.
welding torch
E* = electrode; this means that it is capable of being a carrier of electricity
*Note that there is no “R” following the “E” in E70C-6M-H4; this is because this wire must be used as an electrode.
1 = with flux-cored arc welding wires, the digit after the as-welded tensile strength designation is used to define the welding position capability of the wire; a “0” indicates flat or horizontal only, whereas a “1” indicates all positions including vertical and overhead.
T = tubular, as opposed to “S”, which would mean solid; the flux-cored wire must be tubular so that flux can be inserted
-14 = operating characteristics; this is an arbitrary number that is used to relate to other flux-cored wire.

You can find a range of welding wire options here.

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