What is Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)?

Flux cored arc welding (FCAW) is a welding process that produces the coalescence of metals by means of heat from an electric arc established between a consumable tubular electrode and the workpiece. Shielding gas may or may not be used. The main advantage of this welding process over other types of arc welding is its higher deposition rates, which can be as much as ten times higher than with shielded metal arc welding (SMAW).

2 types of FCAW

There are two types of FCAW:

  1. Gas-shielded and self-shielded. In gas-shielded FCAW, an externally supplied shielding gas is used to protect the weld pool from atmospheric contamination. This results in a cleaner, more consistent weld.
  2. Self-shielded FCAW does not require an external shielding gas, as the flux core of the electrode provides protection for the weld pool. However, this also results in a less consistent weld.

What is flux-cored arc welding used for?

FCAW is commonly used in welding applications where higher deposition rates are necessary, such as in heavy equipment fabrication. It is also often used in welding applications where other arc welding processes would be difficult to use, such as in the vertical or overhead positions.

Flux cored arc welding advantages and disadvantages


  • Higher deposition rates than other arc welding processes.
  • Can be used in difficult positions.


  • Less consistent welds than gas-shielded FCAW.
  • Requires more frequent electrode changes.

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