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The shielding gas used in a welding process has a significant influence on the overall performance of the welding system. This article discusses the basic properties of a shielding gas in terms of ionization potential, thermal conductivity, dissociation and recombination, reactivity/oxidation potential, surface tension, gas purity, and gas density. It describes the characteristics of the components of a shielding gas blend. The article discusses the selection of shielding gas for gas-metal arc welding (GMAW), gas-tungsten arc welding (GTAW), and plasma arc welding (PAW), as well as the influence of shielding gas on weld mechanical properties. It concludes with a discussion on flux-cored arc welding.

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