low hydrogen electrodes and mild steel

I have a stock of various low hydrogen electrodes, 7018, 8018, ...,. These have been in my garage for a year or so, some opened, some not. Some are from Ernie's big welding rod giveaway a year or so ago.

Literature specifies that these rods should be used within a few hours of opening, or else stored in a hot oven. Neither of which have I done nor can likely do in the future.

My question is: can I still use these to weld mild steel? Have my low hydrogen electrodes simply become 'normal' hydrogen electrodes? They seem to work fine, make nice beads, look good, and seem strong. I make small projects, but some are guardrails and other things that I don't want to fall apart.

My thinking is that low hydrogen is necessary only because the greater rigidity of high carbon steel results in higher stresses in the weld HAZ. Since A36 is more ductile hydrogen cracking ought not be a concern.



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Hi JimIn message , Fox writes

Hi Jim.low hydrogen use a basic flux which should be used after drying

300/-400deg.C for up to 4 hours.This is to remove any moisture in the flux which could produce Hydrogen in the arc and be absorbed into the molten weldpool giving the possibility of hydrogen embrittlement.This reduces the impact strength particularly at low temperatures.This is most important for high strength steels in critical applications,however for welding mild steel for general fabrications your LH electrodes should be no worse than any general purpose electrode. Regards Gwyn.
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Gwyn Phillips

Ancedotal evidence only..but Ive burned a hundred pounds or more of

70 series rod that has been left out over night in the fog, (for weeks actually) and the welds passed the BFH test quite nicely.

But then..they were not used to weld anything involving life safety.


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