What is Carbon Arc Welding and How it Works?

By | August 13, 2019

Have you ever heard about Arc Welding? Well, It is the most common welding process. It has various types and one of those types is carbon arc welding (CAW). Inside this article, we are going to discuss all the details of the CAW process.

What is Carbon Arc Welding (CAW)?

CAW is a welding process in which metals are joined by an electric arc between the work-piece and a non-consumable carbon electrode. It is the first arc welding process that has discovered. Previously, many people were using the CAW process but nowadays the use of this welding process has decreased. 

The main purpose behind the CAW process is to form a strong bond between the distinct metals. Here, the carbon electrode is used for producing an electric arc between the electrode and the metals being bonded. 

During this welding process, a temperature more than 3,000 ºC is produced.

The History Behind 

Carbon arc welding is impossible without an electric arc. In 1800, Sir Humphry Davy discovered the electric arc. Later, Nikolay Benardos and Stanislaw Olszewski discovered the CAW process in 1981. Initially, this welding process was given the name Elektrogefest.



  • Electrode: The diameter of the electrode used in this process is around 3 to 22 mm. 
  • Power source: In the CAW process, direct current welding machines are used as a power source. These machines can be either of the rotating or rectifier types. 
  • Electrode holder: You may have a question; do we use the same conventional electrode holder in the CAW? No. As the temperature involved in this process is very much high, we can’t use the traditional electrode holder during this process. 

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Working Of Carbon Arc Welding

As shown in the below figure, a single electrode is used in this process. 


An electric arc is generated between the electrode and the parent metal. The heat generated due to the electric arc melts the base metal. After the solidification of the molten metal, the required weld is produced in the given region. You can vary the size of the electrode used in the process depending on the generated current. 

One of the variations of the CAW is twin carbon arc welding (TCAW). TCAW is a slightly different process than CAW. 

In the TCAW, a special type of electrode is used. TCAW is designed in such a way that one carbon electrode is movable and can be touch with the other to produce the arc. 

During the twin carbon arc welding alternating current is used. Also, electrodes should be burned off at equal rates in the TCAW.


  • The equipment used in this process has a lower cost. So, you don’t need to invest big bucks to carry out this welding process. As the cost of the equipment involved in it is very less, you can do this welding with less money. 
  • It is easy to carry out. Anyone can perform CAW. A skilled operator is not required during this arc welding. 
  • Very fewer distortions are produced on the workpiece. 
  • You can easily automate this entire welding process. 


  • Sometimes, you may not get the quality weld from this process. 
  • The carbon electrode does the contamination of the weld material with the carbides. 


Thus, in this article, we have discussed meaning, working, benefits and drawbacks of the carbon arc welding. Thanks for reading this article. Please let us know in the comments your questions and queries.


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