Author: Bob Page

When Metalcore Wire Is A Better Choice Than Solid Wire

Metalcore wire, like sold wire, is an AWS A5.18 mild steel GMAW or MIG wire. However, metalcore wire is not a solid wire but rather a composite, tubular wire filled with iron powder and, sometimes, various alloys that produce certain desired mechanical properties. The core of metalcore wire is not conductive meaning that current is moving only through the outer sheath. Therefore, metalcore wire at a given amperage has a higher current density (current to conductive cross section ratio). Higher current density translates into higher productivity, excellent penetration profile and higher operator appeal in an axial or pulsed spray transfer. Metalcore wire is not recommended for short circuit transfer.

Metalcored Wire Advantages vs Solid Wire:

  • Higher deposition rate/travel speed at a given amperage
  • Less heat input (and distortion) at a given amperage
  • Less prone to undercut
  • Excellent penetration and bead profile
  • More forgiving on dirty plates
  • Easier to run out of position (pulsed MIG transfer)
  • More forgiving on poor fit-up (pulsed MIG transfer)
  • Softer arc, better operator appeal
  • More alloy choices

Metalcored Wire Limitations vs Solid Wire:

  • 15% price premium
  • Not recommended for short circuit transfer
  • Not good for sheet metal apps
  • Fewer diameter choices
Travel Speed Analysis (See Pictures)