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The air carbon-arc process (CAC-A) remove metal physically not chemically (as in oxy-fuel cutting - OFC). Gouging or cutting occurs when the intense heat of the arc between the carbon electrode and the workpiece melts part of the workpiece. Meanwhile, air passes through the arc quickly enough to blow the molten material away.

Since the air carbon-arc process doesn't need oxidation to maintain the cut, it can gouge or cut metals that the OFC process can't. Most common metals - carbon steel, stainless steel, many copper alloys and cast irons - can be cut using on the melting rate and the air jet's efficiency in removing molten metal. The air lift the molten metal clear of the arc before the metal solidifies.

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