MIG (metal inert gas) welding, also called gas metal arc welding (GMAW), is one of the most common welding processes used in industries and households. It is a type of arc welding method that uses electricity through a hand-held welding gun. A steady solid wire electrode is run through it to the weld pool.
This process creates an arc of electricity connecting an electrode wire and the parent metal to be welded. The arc dissolves the electrode wire, which also acts as a filler. After, the weld pool cools down and solidifies into a fused metal called “the weld.”
A shielding gas is used to prevent environmental gases, such as oxygen and nitrogen, from contaminating the weld bead. It is crucial in creating a good quality weld—neat, deep, strong, and steady.
Yes to the Right Gas, No to Weak Welds
A mix of 75% argon and 25% CO2 is ideal for most metals joined through MIG welding. Mild steels and nonferrous metals like copper, nickel, and aluminum work well with this gas mixture. Thus, it is widely used for a range of work, from home crafting to shipbuilding.
Other gas mixtures may be used for MIG welding depending on your project’s needs, such as preparation requirements, base material, post-weld cleaning, and finished weld features.
Choosing the right shielding gas is important because of its various functions in the whole process: shielding the arc and weld pool from airborne contaminants, stabilizing the arc from surface to roots, and facilitating smooth transfer of the molten material.
nexAir Gases for Quality MIG Welding
MIG welding is relatively faster and easier to do compared to other welding processes but still requires expert KnowHow of the consumables, materials, and the techniques to ensure quality.
nexAir knows which gas works with what metal type and has a team of welding experts who provide training for various MIG welding applications.
Some of the high quality and expert-certified MIG welding gases nexAir offers are:
Argon and Helium
Pure mixtures of these two noble gases are widely used for aluminum and copper. Argon gives more stability but less deep penetration, while helium issues more heat when burned and provides a deeper weld—a balanced combination ideal for nonferrous materials.
Helium is costlier than argon, so some welders combine argon with the cheaper carbon dioxide (CO2). Mixed at a 25% ratio with 75% argon, it works well for MIG welding of various materials.
With deep penetrating properties, this semi-inert gas can be used in its pure form without needing an inert gas. The drawback is that carbon dioxide tends to produce more spatter and thus requires post-weld cleaning.
CO2 may be applied to mild steel or combined with argon for non-ferrous materials MIG welding.
Other Gas Combination Options
Other gas combinations can also be used for MIG welding, like argon + 2–5% oxygen or argon + 5–25% CO2 for steel materials.
Before deciding on the type of shielding gas to use for your project, consider their limitations:
- Argon-based gases tend to be less resistant to parameter settings.
- Argon-based gases produce less spatter than CO2.
- CO2 is not compatible with pulsed or spray transfer modes because of high back-plasma forces. For these, argon and CO2 blends are normally used.
Forge Forward With Quality
Creating a seamless and durable MIG weld requires the right skills and materials. A continuous supply of gases and quality metals is necessary to keep assembly lines and metallurgy projects going without a hitch.
nexAir offers only the best quality gases suitable for MIG welding. We also provide guidance on the newest and most cost-efficient techniques for your business and projects. Contact us today for your MIG welding gases supply and rental needs.
Looking out for your future
Get your career going on the right track with nexAir
Industry Knowledge and Expertise
Find out how nexAir KnowHow has impacted businesses all over the Southeast
nexAir in the news
Our expertise makes us more than a valuable partner, it makes us headlines
nexAir is always open!
Don't see what you're looking for?
Everything we offer is a click away and it will arrive before you know it.