Stainless Steel Wire for Welding: Understanding TIG and MIG

Welding is a process of fabrication that allows metals to be seamlessly and securely joined together. Though welding technology has of course undergone constant improvement, the basic concept has been around for many thousands of years; the earliest examples discovered date all the way back to the Bronze Age, which began in around 3500 BC.

The key element that unites all welding processes, of which there are many, is heat. In fact, the word 'weld' is itself ultimately derived from 'wæll', a verb in Middle English that means 'to heat to the highest possible temperature'. These high temperatures cause the disconnected parts to literally melt together; after a process of cooling, the materials are fused. 

TIG Welding Wire 
The abbreviation TIG stands for 'Tungsten Inert Gas' and refers to a specific type of arc welding process. Specifically, this process utilises a (non-consumable) tungsten electrode to create a high-temperature electric arc between the base metal and the electrode itself. The electric arc acts to melt the base metal and it is at this point that welding wire is introduced to the weld pool, allowing a robust and durable weld joint to be created.

Though TIG welding wire can be made from several different alloys, stainless steel is by far the most common. Numerous different grades of the component are available, with their varying qualities being chosen to suit particular applications. 

MIG Welding Wire
Another type of arc welding is MIG, which stands for 'Metal Inert Gas'. Like TIG welding, this process also uses an electrode to produce an electric arc between the base metal and the electrode itself; the difference is that the electrode is consumable and melts into the weld pool. Stainless steel is once again the primary alloy of choice for manufacturing the welding wire used in the MIG process, especially where high rates of both weld-deposition and general productivity are key requirements. 

It is the composition of the stainless steel that defines the difference between MIG and TIG welding wire; generally speaking, MIG welding wire has a lower alloy content than TIG welding wire. This means that TIG wire displays better corrosion resistance and increased strength at high temperatures; MIG welding wire is thus less costly to purchase. Another difference is the form in which the wire is supplied: MIG wire comes on a spool while TIG wire is supplied as individual rods. 

BS Stainless is a specialist supplier of both TIG and MIG welding wire in a comprehensive selection of grades. All of our stainless steel wire intended for welding purposes is guaranteed to adhere rigidly to the AWS A5.9 and EN-14343 standards and is of course produced under our ISO 9001 certification. 

For more details about our premium-quality MIG and TIG stainless steel wire, please visit the product pages on our website.

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