What Is Flux-Cored Welding?

UTI Profile Image Universal Technical Institute Jun 27, 2019 ·

Flux-cored welding, also known as flux-cored arc welding (FCAW), is a welding process that is suitable for the outdoors, enabling welders to meld metals and other materials together by applying heat and pressure.

If you've wondered, “What is flux-cored welding, and how does it differ from other types?,” know that during flux-cored welding, a continuous hollow wire electrode is fed through the welding gun. It is similar to gas metal arc welding (also known as GMAW welding or MIG welding) in the type of power supply it uses. But unlike GMAW welding, FCAW welding does not require an external shielding gas.

That's because a flux compound within the wire protects the weld pool, by forming a gas as it reacts with the welding arc. This makes FCAW an ideal type of welding for dirty, rusty and contaminated materials, as well.

How Flux-Cored Arc Welding Works

In FCAW, an electric arc unites a continuous filler metal electrode with the base material. As the welding process happens, the shield gas provided by the flux protects the weld pool from oxidation and other atmospheric elements.

After the FCAW weld is completed, there is “slag” that must be removed. Slag is a layer of byproduct, which the welder chips off to achieve the aesthetic they're looking for. Welders need to account for time to remove this slag to make the metal look great after the weld.

Like any type of welding process, proper safety equipment must be warn during flux-cored welding jobs. That includes safety boots or shoes, flame-resistant apparel, leather gloves, a helmet and safety glasses. FCAW welding tends to create more spatter than welding types like MIG welding, so you want to be very cautious and protect yourself.

What Is FCAW Welding Used For?

FCAW welding is a good technique to use on thick materials that are no thinner than 20 gauge, including carbon steel, low-alloy steels, high nickel alloys, cast iron and stainless steels. The flux-cored wire is powerful and able to penetrate into thick weld joints.

FCAW welding is often used in the construction industry, since this semi-automatic type of welding can be used outdoors, has a high welding speed and is easily portable.

FCAW welding can be used in jobs such as:

  • Shipbuilding
  • Construction
  • Water tank repairs

When a welder needs to work outdoors or on contaminated materials, FCAW welding can produce high amounts of welds in a short amount of time.

What Will You Learn in the Flux-Cored Arc Welding Program at UTI?

FCAW is one of the cored components of Universal Technical Institute's (UTI) welding program. In the welding program, students are introduced to welding tools including hand grinders, pedestal grinders, plasma cutters, CNC pipe cutters and more. State-of-the-art industry equipment is provided by Lincoln Electric, one of the world's leading brands in welding equipment.

UTI welding school students learn about welding subjects including general safety and safe operation, math that's practical to welding industry fabrication, welding theory, metallurgy, advanced welding machine functions, the science behind welding and hands-on welding applications. Students take a Flux-Cored Arc Welding course, which builds upon stick welding skills so that they learn how to perform overhead, vertical and horizontal welding operations.

Students will then apply those skills in Welding Applications 1, where they'll use blueprinting and project planning skills to fabricate specific projects using FCAW welding.

“Students choose this program because they like to work with their hands,” says Edward Lopez, welding technical team leader at UTI Rancho Cucamonga. “They want to choose an industry that pays very well and will be in demand for many years to come.”

FCAW is one major welding skill students learn in the UTI program. For more information on the UTI welding program, contact us.
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