What is Welding Spatter: Causes and Tips to Avoid It

Marcus Colson Last updated on September 4, 2023
Reading Time: 4 Minute

As a welder, I sometimes encounter welding spatter at some point in my welding projects.

These droplets may stick to my workpiece, floor, or welding equipment. That is why it becomes a nuisance for all welders.

Actually, what is weld spatter?

In this article, I’ll share all information related to this welding issue, including its definition, causes, as well as the way to reduce it.

What is Weld Spatter?

Weld spatter is the small droplets of molten metal that are generated during the welding process.

This hot material splashes from the weld. When it cools, it will harden and form small metal droplets on the surfaces.

The most common welding defect I often encounter is the MIG welding spatter. It usually happens when I use the gas metal arc welding technique.

Then, is weld spatter dangerous?

Yes, the molten droplets splashed through the air. Then, it can cause burn injury if you do not wear welding spatter protection equipment.

Besides, these molten droplets are also hazardous for oil industries since they can cause a fire.

Additionally, the marks that occur on the workpiece can cause corrosion.

Most beginners may wonder how to stop welding spatter. Unfortunately, it is impossible to stop this issue. What you can do is only reduce it.

Read Also : Welding Crack: Causes & Effective Prevention Methods

What Causes Welding Spatter?

Many factors can lead to weld spatter. The main cause is the trouble in the weld pool.

So, what are the causes of these droplets?

Check this explanation so that you can avoid it.

  • Low Voltage and High Amperage

The welding aspects that contribute to weld spatter are voltage and amperage. The incorrect setting of these parameters can cause a stubbing effect.

Besides, it makes the arc unstable. As a result, it leads to a greater amount of spatter.

  • Incorrect Gas Selection and Filler

Many welders may use CO2 because it is cheap.

But, this gas can cause more spatter. On the contrary, argon is better as it can counterbalance spatter.

Furthermore, the wrong selection of filler can lead to a spatter. The cheap welding wire and rods usually can make filler easy to spatter.

  • Contamination on The Surface

What will happen when you pour water into hot cooking oil?

Doing so will make the oil splash and splatter. This analogy is similar to the contamination on your welding project.

The dirt on the workpieces can cause molten metal splatter.

So, before welding, it is a good idea to clean the surface of metal and filler material. Ensure they are free of dirt, rust, oil, and a protective layer.

  • The Incorrect Technique When Welding

The welding technique really matters. Incorrect techniques can increase the amount of spatter.

For instance, if the angle of the electrode is more than 15o, the droplets will increase because the arc is concentrated in one area.

The speed of movement also affects weld spatter. Too slow or too fast movement can create more sparks.

So, it is necessary to practice a lot to find the best technique to get flawless welding without any spatter.

Read Also : Inductance in Welding: Don’t Let It Ruin Your Welds

Tips to Reduce Weld Spatter

As I have stated before, you cannot avoid weld spatter. But you can minimize it.

Then, how to reduce the number of hot metal droplets?

To solve this problem, it is necessary to find out the causes. Then, it is easy to determine the right technique to minimize this spatter.

Here I try to give some tips on reducing the number of spatters in the welding project.

  • Use High-Quality Material

Only use high-quality metal, wire, and rods for the best welding result. These materials may be expensive.

But they do not cause spatter easily. In contrast, cheap materials are prone to spatter. Sometimes they are difficult to weld.

  • Remove All Dirt

The first step of welding is cleaning the surface of the metals you want to weld.

Make sure the surface is free of contaminants. You can clean it using a grinder or wire brush to remove dust and rush.

  • Check The Welder Setting

The welder setting varies by the type of metal and technique. So, the setting for MIG or TIG welding is different.

Even though there is a general rule for it, I always adjust for a certain weld. I always make sure that the heat is sufficient to decrease spatter.

Keep practicing is key to determining the ideal setting for each type of weld.

  • Use The Right Technique

When you use the MIG welding technique, you can implement these tips.

First, the angle of the electrode should not be more than 15 degrees. Then, pushing is better than pulling as it can distribute the heat well.

If you use TIG welding, it is good to move the electrode slower. Also, do not set the voltage too high, which can result in more spatter.

How to Remove Weld Spatter

Sometimes, even though I have used the correct setting and technique, the flux core welding spatter still appears. But, the number of droplets may decrease.

When the molten metal droplets are cool, I must clean them to make my welding flawless.

Here are some methods that I often use to remove the spatter.

  • Grinding

It is easy to remove the spatter by grinding it. I usually remove the spatter using an angle grinder when I do the finishing step on my work.

  • Using a Chipping Hammer

Consider using a chipping hammer if you do not want to damage the base metal. It is an effective method to clean spatter quickly.

  • Using Anti-Spatter Spray or Tapes

Removing spatter is time-consuming.

So, it is better to prevent the sticking droplets by using a welding anti spatter shield. The spray or tapes can create a barrier between your workpiece and molten metal droplets.

Therefore, it will be easier to clean up the welding spatter.

I recommend you use aluminum tape. This material is strong, and it can withstand hot spatter.

Read Also : What is Overlap Welding: Causes and How to Avoid Them

In conclusion, welding spatter is a common problem many welders encounter during welding. You may not be able to avoid it.

But, it is possible to reduce it by using the correct settings on your welding machine and implementing the right technique.

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Marcus Colson
Marcus Colson

Welding is more than a hobby for me - it's a passion. The art of fusing metal together to create something new and functional never gets old. From intricate sculptures to sturdy structures, I love the endless possibilities that welding offers.

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