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Thorium-free TIG welding electrodes gain in popularity

10-29-2010 09:03 AM CET | Industry, Real Estate & Construction

Press release from: PLANSEE SE

WL15 electrodes

WL15 electrodes

Not only health considerations, but also additional costs for the packaging of radioactive thorium-containing welding electrodes lead more and more PLANSEE customers to switch to thorium-free alternatives.

Tungsten electrodes contain different doping agents such as thorium oxide, lanthanum oxide or cerium oxide. These increase the heat resistance of the electrode and reduce the electron work function. Thus, the electrons release themselves from the tungsten electrode’s atomic orbit using less energy and so the light arc ignites more easily.

PLANSEE offers various types of tungsten electrodes, which comply to international standard which are marked with uniform color codes. In the past, red-marked tungsten electrodes containing thorium, served as the standard for a long time. PLANSEE is now launching an educational campaign demonstrating the advantages of modern electrode materials.

Thorium is a weakly radioactive element with a low radiation range, which poses no direct threat to humans nor the environment, as long as it is integrated into the solid metal matrix of the electrode. During the production and use of the electrodes, dust or fumes containing thorium develop which accumulate in the lungs and can cause a health risk. Thorium-free electrodes such as the lanthanum-containing WL15 (color code gold) have proven themselves in practical use. They are especially recommended because of improved ignition properties and higher wear-resistance.

- Excellent ignition and re-ignition properties
- High wear resistance
- Constant light arc quality
- Long service lifespan

Legal regulations for the handling of thorium-containing materials, lead to high costs of production, packaging (to meet the radiation limits according to UN 2909), shipping and disposal. These concern all stakeholders along the value chain, from manufacturers to the retailer to the consumer, and can be easily avoided by a transition to thorium-free alternatives.

PLANSEE invites all customers to test the performance of thorium-free TIG welding electrodes. The new web shop at offers the entire range at a very attractive price.

For more information, please visit Or contact PLANSEE at or +43 5672 / 600-2935

PLANSEE High Performance Materials (HPM) is a world-leading manufacturer of products made from refractory metals and metallic composite materials. The privately owned company has been manufacturing innovative powder-metallurgically processed high-performance materials for over 85 years, and covers the whole production process, right from the raw material to the finished product. The company employs materials experts, product developers and local technical sales staff to provide customers all over the world with all the help and assistance they require.

Metallwerk-Plansee-Str. 71
6600 Reutte / Austria
+43 5672 600-0

Contact person:
Dr. Nicole Peter
+43 5672 600-2080

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