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This process was developed between the two world wars for the welding of heavy sections in ships, combat vehicles and pressure vessels. In this process, an arc is struck between a continuously fed bare wire electrode and the work piece. The arc and molten metal are submerged in a blanket of granular fusible flux. The flux has a similar composition to that of the coating materials used in the manufacture of manual arc welding electrodes. It serves to provide a good arc stability and the required chemical and mechanical properties of the welds by using relatively high current densities deep penetrations and thus, high welding speeds can be obtained.

Submerged arc welding may be used with semi-automatic as well as fully automatic processes. The automatic submerged arc welding process is used extensively for welding plain carbon steels, low-alloyed steels, high strength low-alloyed steels and stainless steels. This process is most suitable for making flat butt or fillet welds. The main application areas of this process are circumferential weldings of large diameter pipes and tanks, longitudinal welding of fuel storage tanks, ship plates. " I " beams and other heavy sections. This process is also used for the hard surfacing of large parts, such as the wear parts in earth moving and mining equipment, hot drawing cylinders in the steel industry, etc.
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