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The gas-tungsten arc welding (GTAW) process is performed using a welding arc between a nonconsumable tungsten-base electrode and the workpieces to be joined. The arc discharge requires a flow of electrons from the cathode through the arc column to the anode. This article discusses two cases of electron discharge at the cathode: thermionic emission and nonthermionic emission, also called cold cathode, or field emission. It schematically illustrates relative heat transfer contributions to workpiece in the GTAW process. The article provides information on the effects of cathode tip shape and shielding gas composition in the GTAW process.

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J.F. Key, Arc Physics of Gas-Tungsten Arc Welding, Welding, Brazing and Soldering, Vol 6, ASM Handbook, Edited By David LeRoy Olson, Thomas A. Siewert, Stephen Liu, Glen R. Edwards, ASM International, 1993, p 30–35,

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