Comparison Between MIG Welding And MAG Welding: Knowing The Key Differences

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MIG/MAG welding is a type of arc welding that uses a shielding gas with a consumable electrode. Both types of welding use an electrode used by a continuous wire that is protected from the atmosphere. Next, we are going to see the differences between MIG vs MAG welding.

In this blog we will talk a little about both welding and we will establish the great difference between the two, first we will know what MIG / MAG welding is and then we will look at MIG vs MAG welding differences. If you want to learn, we invite you to continue reading.

What is MIG/MAG welding?

MIG/MAG welding (MIG: Metal Inert Gas MAG: Metal Active Gas) or GMWA (Gas Metal Arc Welding or in Spanish Gas and metal arc welding) is an arc welding process, this type of welding uses a protective gas With an electrode that is consumable, the gases vary depending on the welding, however, the most commonly used are:

  • CO2
  • 02
  • Argon
  • Helium
  •  Mixtures between Argon, C02 and 02
  • Mixtures between Argon and Helium

This welding process is more effective than MMA because work does not have to be stopped frequently to change the consumable electrode, since MIG/MAG welding works with a solid electrode wire strand in which the arc and the bath of welding are protected from the atmosphere by the gas used in welding.

Shielding gases.

Shielding gases are those that are used to protect the arc and the weld pool from the atmosphere, each process uses different gases that we will explain a bit below.

MIG welding: This welding process uses two main gases to carry out welding, Argon and Helium, from these two main gases others are derived that are also widely used.

Argon is a chemical element that has the number 18 and its symbol in the periodic table is Ar, it is a noble, colorless and inert gas (that is, it does not react). This gas is used in high purity when welding materials such as: titanium, aluminum, copper or nickel. If you want to weld a more resistant material such as stainless steel, mix the Argon with hydrogen peroxide so that irregular weld seams are not generated, which is what argon tends to do.

Helium is a chemical element with the atomic number 2 and the symbol He, it is a noble and inert gas in many occasions. This gas produces wider beads and does not penetrate the material as deeply that when Argon is used, this gas is widely used in the United States.

MAG Welding: This welding process uses carbon dioxide and its mixture with O2 as a welding gas.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an odorless, colorless gas with a pungent taste, it has an oxidizing character and when it reaches very high temperatures it dissociates in an arc reaction, absorbing the heat in the recomposition of the base 2CO2+O yielding heat.

This gas is cheaper than those used by MIG welding and has a deeper and wider penetration into the material, the risk of bites and lack of fusion are minimal.

MIG vs MAG welding differences

As we have seen previously, both welding processes are very similar to each other, the only difference that we have been deciphering is the protective gas used to separate the arc and weld pool from the atmosphere, MIG welding uses inert protective gases, that is, , which do not react like Argon and Helium noble gases and MAG welding uses active gases, that is, they do react like carbon dioxide (CO2) and its mixture with CO.

In summary…

MIG/MAG welding has a very similar welding process in which it uses a solid electrode wire strand and uses a gas to protect the weld from the atmosphere. MIG vs MAG welding differences between both processes is the protective gas they use, MIG uses inactive gases while MAG uses active gases.

 If you want to know more about these welding processes, I invite you to read our blogs: MIG welding and Which weld is stronger?

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