Welding rods are very important in the welding process. They add material into the weld zone. Usually the welding rod is made of the same things that the work piece is made of and also has flux to help with the welding. In some kinds of arc welding, the welding rod is the electrode as well. Usually the welding rods are held by electrode holders and these holders insulate the person who is welding from electric current. In an automated welding system, a wire is used and this is simply a continuous, thin welding rod.
The welding rod is also the electrode in the majority of kinds of arc welding. The rod guides the electric arc to the location of the weld. Rods used for arc welding have the "E" prefix in the classification. If the arc welding method doesn't use shielding gas, then rods that have a flux coating are used instead. This flux vaporizes at the rod's tip, making a gas which then pushes air away and leaves a clean weld.
Steel is the most widely welded material and there are many welding rods that are available in different kinds of steel alloy so that there is a rod available for any kind of steel welding job. Some of the more common kinds of welding rods for steel are low alloy steel, mild steel, and stainless steel. These kinds of welding rods can be found with and without flux coatings.
Aluminum is another commonly welded material. There are aluminum welding rods available just for this kind of welding, and will allow a welder to weld aluminum alloys together that are not exactly alike. These kinds of welding rods can be used with tungsten inert gas (TIG) equipment, metal inert gas (MIG) equipment, as well as equipment used in standard arc welding.
There are also bronze welding rods available. These kinds of rods are used by welders to join copper and other kinds of metals, brazing, and also repairing brass or bronze parts. Bronze welding rods used in brazing is very useful because it can offer increased salt water corrosion resistance.
Other kinds of rods available are composite welding rods. These rods are thanks to advancements in welding technology and have two or more layers of materials which will give higher quality, stronger welds. Welding rods with a flux core allows flux to be used that otherwise would wear off if on the outside. There is also metal-cored rods which have mild steel as the outer layer and a core of metal powders custom mixed for specific jobs.
Take a look at all of the TIG rod Bakers has to offer here.