When Metal-Cored Wire Is A Better Choice Than Solid Wire

Metal-Cored wire, like sold wire, is an AWS A5.18 mild steel GMAW or MIG wire. However, this 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 the wire is not conductive because the current is moving only through the outer sheath. Therefore, metal-cored wire at a given amperage has a higher current density (current to conductive cross section ratio). When it has a higher current density, it also has higher productivity, excellent penetration profile and higher operator appeal in an axial or pulsed spray transfer. Therefore, metal-cored wire is not recommended for short circuit transfer.

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

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

Contact a representative at General Air if you have any questions.

Author: Bob Page