Double-electrode arc welding process: Principle, variants, control and developments

Yi Lu, Shujun Chen, Yu Shi, Xiangrong Li, Jinsong Chen, Lee Kvidahl, Yu Ming Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Double-electrode gas metal arc welding (DE-GMAW) is a novel welding process in which a second electrode, non-consumable or consumable, is added to bypass part of the wire current. The bypass current reduces the heat input in non-consumable DE-GMAW or increases the deposition rate in consumable DE-GMAW. The fixed correlation of the heat input with the deposition in conventional GMAW and its variants is thus changed and becomes controllable. At the University of Kentucky, DE-GMAW has been tested/developed by adding a plasma arc welding torch, a GTAW (gas tungsten arc welding) torch, a pair of GTAW torches, and a GMAW torch. Steels and aluminum alloys are welded and the system is powered by one or multiple power supplies with appropriate control methods. The metal transfer has been studied at the University of Kentucky and Shandong University resulting in the desirable spray transfer be obtained with less than 100 A base current for 1.2 mm diameter steel wire. At Lanzhou University of Technology, pulsed DE-GMAW has been successfully developed to join aluminum/magnesium to steel. At the Adaptive Intelligent Systems LLC, DE-GMAW principle has been applied to the submerged arc welding (SAW) and the embedded control systems needed for industrial applications have been developed. The DE-SAW resulted in 1/3 reduction in heat input for a shipbuilding application and the weld penetration depth was successfully feedback controlled. In addition, the bypass concept is extended to the GTAW resulting in the arcing-wire GTAW which adds a second arc established between the tungsten and filler to the existing gas tungsten arc. The DE-GMAW is extended to double-electrode arc welding (DE-AW) where the main electrode may not necessarily to be consumable. Recently, the Beijing University of Technology systematically studied the metal transfer in the arcing-wire GTAW and found that the desired metal transfer modes may always be obtained from the given wire feed speed by adjusting the wire current and wire position/orientation appropriately. A variety of DE-AW processes are thus available to suit for different applications, using existing arc welding equipment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-108
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Processes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Adaptive Intelligent Systems LLC thanks the support from the Navy under contracts N00024-09-C-4140 , N65538-08-M-0049 , and N65538-10-M-0110 and Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development (CED) Office of Commercialization and Innovation through Kentucky Science and Engineering Corp. under agreements KSTC-184-512-08-038 and KSTC-184-512-09-067 . The Adaptive Intelligent Systems LLC also thanks the approvals for public release from the Navy (5720/00DT 2013-0033, 5720/00DT 2012-0854, 5720/00DT 2011-0979). The University of Kentucky thanks the support from the National Science Foundation under grant CMMI-0355324 . The authors also appreciate the technical assistance from Dr. Jeffrey D. Farren, Ms. Maria Posada, and Mr. Jonnie Deloach.


  • Deposition
  • Distortion
  • Double-electrode (DE)
  • Gas metal arc welding (GMAW)
  • Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW)
  • Heat input
  • Metal transfer
  • Submerged arc welding (SAW)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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