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TIG stands for tungsten inert gas and is technically called gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). The process uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode that delivers the current to the welding arc. The tungsten and weld puddle are protected and cooled with an inert gas, typically argon.
GTAW is most commonly used to weld thin sections of stainless steel and non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, magnesium, and copper alloys. The process grants the operator greater control over the weld than competing processes such as shielded metal arc welding and gas metal arc welding, allowing for stronger, higher quality welds. However, GTAW is comparatively more complex and difficult to master, and furthermore, it is significantly slower than most other welding techniques. A related process, plasma arc welding, uses a slightly different welding torch to create a more focused welding arc and as a result is often automated.