Welding

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Welding, technique used for joining metallic parts usually through the application of heat. This technique was discovered during efforts to manipulate iron into useful shapes. Welded blades were developed in the 1st millennium ce, the most famous being those produced by Arab armourers at Damascus, Syria. The process of carburization of iron to produce hard steel was known at this time, but the resultant steel was very brittle. The welding technique—which involved interlayering relatively soft and tough iron with high-carbon material, followed by hammer forging—produced a strong, tough blade.In modern times the improvement in iron-making techniques, especially the introduction of cast iron, restricted welding to the blacksmith and the jeweler. Other joining techniques, such as fastening by bolts or rivets, were widely applied to new products, from bridges and railway engines to kitchen utensils.Modern fusion welding processes are an outgrowth of the need to obtain a continuous joint on large steel plates. Rivetting had been shown to have disadvantages, especially for an enclosed container such as a boiler. Gas welding, arc welding, and resistance welding all appeared at the end of the 19th century. The first real attempt to adopt welding processes on a wide scale was made during World War I. By 1916 the oxyacetylene process was well developed, and the welding techniques employed then are still used. The main improvements since then have been in equipment and safety. Arc welding, using a consumable electrode, was also introduced in this period, but the bare wires initially used produced brittle welds. A solution was found by wrapping the bare wire with asbestos and an entwined aluminum wire. The modern electrode, introduced in 1907, consists of a bare wire with a complex coating of minerals and metals. Arc welding was not universally used until World War II, when the urgent need for rapid means of construction for shipping, power plants, transportation, and structures spurred the necessary development work.Resistance welding, invented in 1877 by Elihu Thomson, was accepted long before arc welding for spot and seam joining of sheet. Butt welding for chain making and joining bars and rods was developed during the 1920s. In the 1940s the tungsten-inert gas process, using a nonconsumable tungsten electrode to perform fusion welds, was introduced. In 1948 a new gas-shielded process utilized a wire electrode that was consumed in the weld. More recently, electron-beam welding, laser welding, and several solid-phase processes such as diffusion bonding, friction welding, and ultrasonic joining have been developed.
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Catalan hearth or forge used for smelting iron ore until relatively recent times. The method of charging fuel and ore and the approximate position of the nozzle supplied with air by a bellows are shown.

metallurgy: Welding

One of the most significant changes in the technology of metals fabrication has been the introduction of fusion welding during the 20th century. Before this, the main joining processes were riveting and forge welding. Both had limitations of scale, although they could be used…

Basic principles of welding

A weld can be defined as a coalescence of metals produced by heating to a suitable temperature with or without the application of pressure, and with or without the use of a filler material.

In fusion welding a heat source generates sufficient heat to create and maintain a molten pool of metal of the required size. The heat may be supplied by electricity or by a gas flame. Electric resistance welding can be considered fusion welding because some molten metal is formed.

Solid-phase processes produce welds without melting the base material and without the addition of a filler metal. Pressure is always employed, and generally some heat is provided. Frictional heat is developed in ultrasonic and friction joining, and furnace heating is usually employed in diffusion bonding.

The electric arc used in welding is a high-current, low-voltage discharge generally in the range 10–2,000 amperes at 10–50 volts. An arc column is complex but, broadly speaking, consists of a cathode that emits electrons, a gas plasma for current conduction, and an anode region that becomes comparatively hotter than the cathode due to electron bombardment. A direct current (DC) arc is usually used, but alternating current (AC) arcs can be employed.

Total energy input in all welding processes exceeds that which is required to produce a joint, because not all the heat generated can be effectively utilized. Efficiencies vary from 60 to 90 percent, depending on the process; some special processes deviate widely from this figure. Heat is lost by conduction through the base metal and by radiation to the surroundings.

Most metals, when heated, react with the atmosphere or other nearby metals. These reactions can be extremely detrimental to the properties of a welded joint. Most metals, for example, rapidly oxidize when molten. A layer of oxide can prevent proper bonding of the metal. Molten-metal droplets coated with oxide become entrapped in the weld and make the joint brittle. Some valuable materials added for specific properties react so quickly on exposure to the air that the metal deposited does not have the same composition as it had initially. These problems have led to the use of fluxes and inert atmospheres.

In fusion welding the flux has a protective role in facilitating a controlled reaction of the metal and then preventing oxidation by forming a blanket over the molten material. Fluxes can be active and help in the process or inactive and simply protect the surfaces during joining.

Pos-pos Terbaru

Inert atmospheres play a protective role similar to that of fluxes. In gas-shielded metal-arc and gas-shielded tungsten-arc welding an inert gas—usually argon—flows from an annulus surrounding the torch in a continuous stream, displacing the air from around the arc. The gas does not chemically react with the metal but simply protects it from contact with the oxygen in the air.

The metallurgy of metal joining is important to the functional capabilities of the joint. The arc weld illustrates all the basic features of a joint. Three zones result from the passage of a welding arc: (1) the weld metal, or fusion zone, (2) the heat-affected zone, and (3) the unaffected zone. The weld metal is that portion of the joint that has been melted during welding. The heat-affected zone is a region adjacent to the weld metal that has not been welded but has undergone a change in microstructure or mechanical properties due to the heat of welding. The unaffected material is that which was not heated sufficiently to alter its properties.

Weld-metal composition and the conditions under which it freezes (solidifies) significantly affect the ability of the joint to meet service requirements. In arc welding, the weld metal comprises filler material plus the base metal that has melted. After the arc passes, rapid cooling of the weld metal occurs. A one-pass weld has a cast structure with columnar grains extending from the edge of the molten pool to the centre of the weld. In a multipass weld, this cast structure may be modified, depending on the particular metal that is being welded.

The base metal adjacent to the weld, or the heat-affected zone, is subjected to a range of temperature cycles, and its change in structure is directly related to the peak temperature at any given point, the time of exposure, and the cooling rates. The types of base metal are too numerous to discuss here, but they can be grouped in three classes: (1) materials unaffected by welding heat, (2) materials hardened by structural change, (3) materials hardened by precipitation processes.

Welding produces stresses in materials. These forces are induced by contraction of the weld metal and by expansion and then contraction of the heat-affected zone. The unheated metal imposes a restraint on the above, and as contraction predominates, the weld metal cannot contract freely, and a stress is built up in the joint. This is generally known as residual stress, and for some critical applications must be removed by heat treatment of the whole fabrication. Residual stress is unavoidable in all welded structures, and if it is not controlled bowing or distortion of the weldment will take place. Control is exercised by welding technique, jigs and fixtures, fabrication procedures, and final heat treatment.

There are a wide variety of welding processes. Several of the most important are discussed below.

Forge welding

This original fusion technique dates from the earliest uses of iron. The process was first employed to make small pieces of iron into larger useful pieces by joining them. The parts to be joined were first shaped, then heated to welding temperature in a forge and finally hammered or pressed together. The Damascus sword, for example, consisted of wrought-iron bars hammered until thin, doubled back on themselves, and then rehammered to produce a forged weld. The larger the number of times this process was repeated, the tougher the sword that was obtained. In the Middle Ages cannons were made by welding together several iron bands, and bolts tipped with steel fired from crossbows were fabricated by forge welding. Forge welding has mainly survived as a blacksmith’s craft and is still used to some extent in chain making.

Arc welding

Shielded metal-arc welding accounts for the largest total volume of welding today. In this process an electric arc is struck between the metallic electrode and the workpiece. Tiny globules of molten metal are transferred from the metal electrode to the weld joint. Since arc welding can be done with either alternating or direct current, some welding units accommodate both for wider application. A holder or clamping device with an insulated handle is used to conduct the welding current to the electrode. A return circuit to the power source is made by means of a clamp to the workpiece.

Gas-shielded arc welding, in which the arc is shielded from the air by an inert gas such as argon or helium, has become increasingly important because it can deposit more material at a higher efficiency and can be readily automated. The tungsten electrode version finds its major applications in highly alloyed sheet materials. Either direct or alternating current is used, and filler metal is added either hot or cold into the arc. Consumable electrode gas-metal arc welding with a carbon dioxide shielding gas is widely used for steel welding. Two processes known as spray arc and short-circuiting arc are utilized. Metal transfer is rapid, and the gas protection ensures a tough weld deposit.

Submerged arc welding is similar to the above except that the gas shield is replaced with a granulated mineral material as a flux, which is mounded around the electrode so that no arc is visible.

Plasma welding is an arc process in which a hot plasma is the source of heat. It has some similarity to gas-shielded tungsten-arc welding, the main advantages being greater energy concentration, improved arc stability, and easier operator control. Better arc stability means less sensitivity to joint alignment and arc length variation. In most plasma welding equipment, a secondary arc must first be struck to create an ionized gas stream and permit the main arc to be started. This secondary arc may utilize either a high-frequency or a direct contact start. Water cooling is used because of the high energies forced through a small orifice. The process is amenable to mechanization, and rapid production rates are possible.

Thermochemical processes

One such process is gas welding. It once ranked as equal in importance to the metal-arc welding processes but is now confined to a specialized area of sheet fabrication and is probably used as much by artists as in industry. Gas welding is a fusion process with heat supplied by burning acetylene in oxygen to provide an intense, closely controlled flame. Metal is added to the joint in the form of a cold filler wire. A neutral or reducing flame is generally desirable to prevent base-metal oxidation. By deft craftsmanship very good welds can be produced, but welding speeds are very low. Fluxes aid in preventing oxide contamination of the joint.

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Another thermochemical process is aluminothermic (thermite) joining. It has been successfully used for both ferrous and nonferrous metals but is more frequently used for the former. A mixture of finely divided aluminum and iron oxide is ignited to produce a superheated liquid metal at about 2,800 °C (5,000 °F). The reaction is completed in 30 seconds to 2 minutes regardless of the size of the charge. The process is suited to joining sections with large, compact cross sections, such as rectangles and rounds. A mold is used to contain the liquid metal.

Resistance welding

Spot, seam, and projection welding are resistance welding processes in which the required heat for joining is generated at the interface by the electrical resistance of the joint. Welds are made in a relatively short time (typically 0.2 seconds) using a low-voltage, high-current power source with force applied to the joint through two electrodes, one on each side. Spot welds are made at regular intervals on sheet metal that has an overlap. Joint strength depends on the number and size of the welds. Seam welding is a continuous process wherein the electric current is successively pulsed into the joint to form a series of overlapping spots or a continuous seam. This process is used to weld containers or structures where spot welding is insufficient. A projection weld is formed when one of the parts to be welded in the resistance machine has been dimpled or pressed to form a protuberance that is melted down during the weld cycle. The process allows a number of predetermined spots to be welded at one time. All of these processes are capable of very high rates of production with continuous quality control. The most modern equipment in resistance welding includes complete feedback control systems to self-correct any weld that does not meet the desired specifications.

Flash welding is a resistance welding process where parts to be joined are clamped, the ends brought together slowly and then drawn apart to cause an arc or flash. Flashing or arcing is continued until the entire area of the joint is heated; the parts are then forced together and pressure maintained until the joint is formed and cooled.

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Low- and high-frequency resistance welding is used for the manufacture of tubing. The longitudinal joint in a tube is formed from metal squeezed into shape with edges abutted. Welding heat is governed by the current passing through the work and the speed at which the tube goes through the rolls. Welding speeds of 60 metres (200 feet) per minute are possible in this process.

Electron-beam welding

In electron-beam welding, the workpiece is bombarded with a dense stream of high-velocity electrons. The energy of these electrons is converted to heat upon impact. A beam-focusing device is included, and the workpiece is usually placed in an evacuated chamber to allow uninterrupted electron travel. Heating is so intense that the beam almost instantaneously vaporizes a hole through the joint. Extremely narrow deep-penetration welds can be produced using very high voltages—up to 150 kilovolts. Workpieces are positioned accurately by an automatic traverse device; for example, a weld in material 13 mm (0.5 inch) thick would only be 1 mm (0.04 inch) wide. Typical welding speeds are 125 to 250 cm (50 to 100 inches) per minute.

Cold welding

Cold welding, the joining of materials without the use of heat, can be accomplished simply by pressing them together. Surfaces have to be well prepared, and pressure sufficient to produce 35 to 90 percent deformation at the joint is necessary, depending on the material. Lapped joints in sheets and cold-butt welding of wires constitute the major applications of this technique. Pressure can be applied by punch presses, rolling stands, or pneumatic tooling. Pressures of 1,400,000 to 2,800,000 kilopascals (200,000 to 400,000 pounds per square inch) are needed to produce a joint in aluminum; almost all other metals need higher pressures.

Friction welding

In friction welding two workpieces are brought together under load with one part rapidly revolving. Frictional heat is developed at the interface until the material becomes plastic, at which time the rotation is stopped and the load is increased to consolidate the joint. A strong joint results with the plastic deformation, and in this sense the process may be considered a variation of pressure welding. The process is self-regulating, for, as the temperature at the joint rises, the friction coefficient is reduced and overheating cannot occur. The machines are almost like lathes in appearance. Speed, force, and time are the main variables. The process has been automated for the production of axle casings in the automotive industry.

Laser welding

Laser welding is accomplished when the light energy emitted from a laser source is focused upon a workpiece to fuse materials together. The limited availability of lasers of sufficient power for most welding purposes has so far restricted its use in this area. Another difficulty is that the speed and the thickness that can be welded are controlled not so much by power but by the thermal conductivity of the metals and by the avoidance of metal vaporization at the surface. Particular applications of the process with very thin materials up to 0.5 mm (0.02 inch) have, however, been very successful. The process is useful in the joining of miniaturized electrical circuitry.

Diffusion bonding

This type of bonding relies on the effect of applied pressure at an elevated temperature for an appreciable period of time. Generally, the pressure applied must be less than that necessary to cause 5 percent deformation so that the process can be applied to finished machine parts. The process has been used most extensively in the aerospace industries for joining materials and shapes that otherwise could not be made—for example, multiple-finned channels and honeycomb construction. Steel can be diffusion bonded at above 1,000 °C (1,800 °F) in a few minutes.

Ultrasonic welding

Ultrasonic joining is achieved by clamping the two pieces to be welded between an anvil and a vibrating probe or sonotrode. The vibration raises the temperature at the interface and produces the weld. The main variables are the clamping force, power input, and welding time. A weld can be made in 0.005 second on thin wires and up to 1 second with material 1.3 mm (0.05 inch) thick. Spot welds and continuous seam welds are made with good reliability. Applications include extensive use on lead bonding to integrated circuitry, transistor canning, and aluminum can bodies.

Explosive welding

Explosive welding takes place when two plates are impacted together under an explosive force at high velocity. The lower plate is laid on a firm surface, such as a heavier steel plate. The upper plate is placed carefully at an angle of approximately 5° to the lower plate with a sheet of explosive material on top. The charge is detonated from the hinge of the two plates, and a weld takes place in microseconds by very rapid plastic deformation of the material at the interface. A completed weld has the appearance of waves at the joint caused by a jetting action of metal between the plates.

Weldability of metals

Carbon and low-alloy steels are by far the most widely used materials in welded construction. Carbon content largely determines the weldability of plain carbon steels; at above 0.3 percent carbon some precautions have to be taken to ensure a sound joint. Low-alloy steels are generally regarded as those having a total alloying content of less than 6 percent. There are many grades of steel available, and their relative weldability varies.

Aluminum and its alloys are also generally weldable. A very tenacious oxide film on aluminum tends to prevent good metal flow, however, and suitable fluxes are used for gas welding. Fusion welding is more effective with alternating current when using the gas-tungsten arc process to enable the oxide to be removed by the arc action.

Copper and its alloys are weldable, but the high thermal conductivity of copper makes welding difficult. Refractory metals such as zirconium, niobium, molybdenum, tantalum, and tungsten are usually welded by the gas-tungsten arc process. Nickel is the most compatible material for joining, is weldable to itself, and is extensively used in dissimilar metal welding of steels, stainlesses, and copper alloys.

Welding, “Welded” redirects here. For the 1924 Broadway play, see Eugene O’Neill.
Gas Metal Arc Welding (MIG welding) on pipe.

Welding is a fabrication or sculptural process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by using high heat to melt the parts together and allowing them to cool causing fusion. Welding is distinct from lower temperature metal-joining techniques such as brazing and soldering, which do not melt the base metal.

In addition to melting the base metal, a filler material is typically added to the joint to form a pool of molten material (the weld pool) that cools to form a joint that, based on weld configuration (butt, full penetration, fillet, etc.), can be stronger than the base material (parent metal). Pressure may also be used in conjunction with heat, or by itself, to produce a weld. Welding also requires a form of shield to protect the filler metals or melted metals from being contaminated or oxidized.

Many different energy sources can be used for welding, including a gas flame (chemical), an electric arc (electrical), a laser, an electron beam, friction, and ultrasound. While often an industrial process, welding may be performed in many different environments, including in open air, under water, and in outer space. Welding is a hazardous undertaking and precautions are required to avoid burns, electric shock, vision damage, inhalation of poisonous gases and fumes, and exposure to intense ultraviolet radiation.

Until the end of the 19th century, the only welding process was forge welding, which blacksmiths had used for millennia to join iron and steel by heating and hammering. Arc welding and oxy-fuel welding were among the first processes to develop late in the century, and electric resistance welding followed soon after. Welding technology advanced quickly during the early 20th century as the world wars drove the demand for reliable and inexpensive joining methods. Following the wars, several modern welding techniques were developed, including manual methods like shielded metal arc welding, now one of the most popular welding methods, as well as semi-automatic and automatic processes such as gas metal arc welding, submerged arc welding, flux-cored arc welding and electroslag welding. Developments continued with the invention of laser beam welding, electron beam welding, magnetic pulse welding, and friction stir welding in the latter half of the century. Today, the science continues to advance. Robot welding is commonplace in industrial settings, and researchers continue to develop new welding methods and gain greater understanding of weld quality.

Etymology  Welding

The term “weld” is of English origin, with roots from Scandinavia. It is often confused with the Old English word, weald, meaning “a forested area”, but this word eventually morphed into the modern version, “wild”. The Old English word for welding iron was samod (to bring together) or samodwellung (to bring together hot, with “hot” more relating to red-hot or a swelling rage; in contrast to samodfæst, “to bind together with rope or fasteners”).[1] The term “weld” is derived from the Middle English verb “well” (wæll; plural/present tense: wælle) or “welling” (wællen), meaning: “to heat” (to the maximum temperature possible); “to bring to a boil”. The modern word was likely derived from the past-tense participle, “welled” (wællende), with the addition of “d” for this purpose being common in the Germanic languages of the Angles and Saxons. It was first recorded in English in 1590, from a version of the Christian Bible that was originally translated into English by John Wycliffe in the fourteenth century. The original version, from Isaiah 2:4, reads, “…thei shul bete togidere their swerdes into shares…” (they shall beat together their swords into plowshares), while the 1590 version was changed to, “…thei shullen welle togidere her swerdes in-to scharris…” (they shall weld together their swords into plowshares), suggesting this particular use of the word likely became popular in English sometime between these periods.

The word is derived from the Old Swedish word valla, meaning “to boil”. Sweden was a large exporter of iron during the Middle Ages, and many other European languages used different words but with the same meaning to refer to welding iron, such as the Illyrian (Greek) variti (to boil), Turkish kaynamak (to boil), Grison (Swiss) bulgir (to boil), or the Lettish (Latvian) sawdrit (to weld or solder, derived from wdrit, to boil). In Swedish, however, the word only referred to joining metals when combined with the word for iron (jarn), as in valla jarn (literally: to boil iron). The word possibly entered English from the Swedish iron trade, or possibly was imported with the thousands of Viking settlements that arrived in England before and during the Viking Age, as more than half of the most common English words in everyday use are Scandinavian in origin.

History Welding
The iron pillar of Delhi, India

The history of joining metals goes back several millennia. The earliest examples of this come from the Bronze and Iron Ages in Europe and the Middle East. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus states in The Histories of the 5th century BC that Glaucus of Chios “was the man who single-handedly invented iron welding”.[5] Welding was used in the construction of the Iron pillar of Delhi, erected in Delhi, India about 310 AD and weighing 5.4 metric tons.[6]

The Middle Ages brought advances in forge welding, in which blacksmiths pounded heated metal repeatedly until bonding occurred. In 1540, Vannoccio Biringuccio published De la pirotechnia, which includes descriptions of the forging operation.[7] Renaissance craftsmen were skilled in the process, and the industry continued to grow during the following centuries.[7]

In 1800, Sir Humphry Davy discovered the “short-pulse” electrical arc and presented his results in 1801.[8][9][10] In 1802, Russian scientist Vasily Petrov created the continuous electric arc,[10][11][12] and subsequently published “News of Galvanic-Voltaic Experiments” in 1803, in which he described experiments carried out in 1802. Of great importance in this work was the description of a stable arc discharge and the indication of its possible use for many applications, one being melting metals.[13] In 1808, Davy, who was unaware of Petrov’s work, rediscovered the continuous electric arc.[9][10] In 1881–82 inventors Nikolai Benardos (Russian) and Stanisław Olszewski (Polish)[14] created the first electric arc welding method known as carbon arc welding using carbon electrodes. The advances in arc welding continued with the invention of metal electrodes in the late 1800s by a Russian, Nikolai Slavyanov (1888), and an American, C. L. Coffin (1890). Around 1900, A. P. Strohmenger released a coated metal electrode in Britain, which gave a more stable arc. In 1905, Russian scientist Vladimir Mitkevich proposed using a three-phase electric arc for welding. Alternating current welding was invented by C. J. Holslag in 1919, but did not become popular for another decade.[15]

Resistance welding was also developed during the final decades of the 19th century, with the first patents going to Elihu Thomson in 1885, who produced further advances over the next 15 years. Thermite welding was invented in 1893, and around that time another process, oxyfuel welding, became well established. Acetylene was discovered in 1836 by Edmund Davy, but its use was not practical in welding until about 1900, when a suitable torch was developed.[16] At first, oxyfuel welding was one of the more popular welding methods due to its portability and relatively low cost. As the 20th century progressed, however, it fell out of favor for industrial applications. It was largely replaced with arc welding, as advances in metal coverings (known as flux) were made.[17] Flux covering the electrode primarily shields the base material from impurities, but also stabilizes the arc and can add alloying components to the weld metal.[18] Bridge of Maurzyce

World War I caused a major surge in the use of welding processes, with the various military powers attempting to determine which of the several new welding processes would be best. The British primarily used arc welding, even constructing a ship, the “Fullagar” with an entirely welded hull.[19][20] Arc welding was first applied to aircraft during the war as well, as some German airplane fuselages were constructed using the process.[21] Also noteworthy is the first welded road bridge in the world, the Maurzyce Bridge designed by Stefan Bryła of the Lwów University of Technology in 1927, and built across the river Słudwia near Łowicz, Poland in 1928.[22] Acetylene welding on cylinder water jacket, US Army 1918

During the 1920s, major advances were made in welding technology, including the introduction of automatic welding in 1920, in which electrode wire was fed continuously. Shielding gas became a subject receiving much attention, as scientists attempted to protect welds from the effects of oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere. Porosity and brittleness were the primary problems, and the solutions that developed included the use of hydrogen, argon, and helium as welding atmospheres.[23] During the following decade, further advances allowed for the welding of reactive metals like aluminum and magnesium. This in conjunction with developments in automatic welding, alternating current, and fluxes fed a major expansion of arc welding during the 1930s and then during World War II.[24] In 1930, the first all-welded merchant vessel, M/S Carolinian, was launched.

During the middle of the century, many new welding methods were invented. In 1930, Kyle Taylor was responsible for the release of stud welding, which soon became popular in shipbuilding and construction. Submerged arc welding was invented the same year and continues to be popular today. In 1932 a Russian, Konstantin Khrenov successfully implemented the first underwater electric arc welding. Gas tungsten arc welding, after decades of development, was finally perfected in 1941, and gas metal arc welding followed in 1948, allowing for fast welding of non-ferrous materials but requiring expensive shielding gases. Shielded metal arc welding was developed during the 1950s, using a flux-coated consumable electrode, and it quickly became the most popular metal arc welding process. In 1957, the flux-cored arc welding process debuted, in which the self-shielded wire electrode could be used with automatic equipment, resulting in greatly increased welding speeds, and that same year, plasma arc welding was invented. Electroslag welding was introduced in 1958, and it was followed by its cousin, electrogas welding, in 1961.[25] In 1953, the Soviet scientist N. F. Kazakov proposed the diffusion bonding method.[26]

Other recent developments in welding include the 1958 breakthrough of electron beam welding, making deep and narrow welding possible through the concentrated heat source. Following the invention of the laser in 1960, laser beam welding debuted several decades later, and has proved to be especially useful in high-speed, automated welding. Magnetic pulse welding (MPW) is industrially used since 1967. Friction stir welding was invented in 1991 by Wayne Thomas at The Welding Institute (TWI, UK) and found high-quality applications all over the world.[27] All of these four new processes continue to be quite expensive due the high cost of the necessary equipment, and this has limited their applications.[28] Processes
Arc
Main article: Arc welding
File:Man welding a metal structure in a newly constructed house in Bengaluru, India.webmPlay media
Man welding a metal structure in a newly constructed house in Bengaluru, India

These processes use a welding power supply to create and maintain an electric arc between an electrode and the base material to melt metals at the welding point. They can use either direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC), and consumable or non-consumable electrodes. The welding region is sometimes protected by some type of inert or semi-inert gas, known as a shielding gas, and filler material is sometimes used as well.
Power supplies

To supply the electrical power necessary for arc welding processes, a variety of different power supplies can be used. The most common welding power supplies are constant current power supplies and constant voltage power supplies. In arc welding, the length of the arc is directly related to the voltage, and the amount of heat input is related to the current. Constant current power supplies are most often used for manual welding processes such as gas tungsten arc welding and shielded metal arc welding, because they maintain a relatively constant current even as the voltage varies. This is important because in manual welding, it can be difficult to hold the electrode perfectly steady, and as a result, the arc length and thus voltage tend to fluctuate. Constant voltage power supplies hold the voltage constant and vary the current, and as a result, are most often used for automated welding processes such as gas metal arc welding, flux cored arc welding, and submerged arc welding. In these processes, arc length is kept constant, since any fluctuation in the distance between the wire and the base material is quickly rectified by a large change in current. For example, if the wire and the base material get too close, the current will rapidly increase, which in turn causes the heat to increase and the tip of the wire to melt, returning it to its original separation distance.[29]

The type of current used plays an important role in arc welding. Consumable electrode processes such as shielded metal arc welding and gas metal arc welding generally use direct current, but the electrode can be charged either positively or negatively. In welding, the positively charged anode will have a greater heat concentration, and as a result, changing the polarity of the electrode affects weld properties. If the electrode is positively charged, the base metal will be hotter, increasing weld penetration and welding speed. Alternatively, a negatively charged electrode results in more shallow welds.[30] Nonconsumable electrode processes, such as gas tungsten arc welding, can use either type of direct current, as well as alternating current. However, with direct current, because the electrode only creates the arc and does not provide filler material, a positively charged electrode causes shallow welds, while a negatively charged electrode makes deeper welds.[31] Alternating current rapidly moves between these two, resulting in medium-penetration welds. One disadvantage of AC, the fact that the arc must be re-ignited after every zero crossing, has been addressed with the invention of special power units that produce a square wave pattern instead of the normal sine wave, making rapid zero crossings possible and minimizing the effects of the problem.[32] Processes

One of the most common types of arc welding is shielded metal arc welding (SMAW);[33] it is also known as manual metal arc welding (MMAW) or stick welding. Electric current is used to strike an arc between the base material and consumable electrode rod, which is made of filler material (typically steel) and is covered with a flux that protects the weld area from oxidation and contamination by producing carbon dioxide (CO2) gas during the welding process. The electrode core itself acts as filler material, making a separate filler unnecessary.[33] Shielded metal arc welding

The process is versatile and can be performed with relatively inexpensive equipment, making it well suited to shop jobs and field work.[33][34] An operator can become reasonably proficient with a modest amount of training and can achieve mastery with experience. Weld times are rather slow, since the consumable electrodes must be frequently replaced and because slag, the residue from the flux, must be chipped away after welding.[33] Furthermore, the process is generally limited to welding ferrous materials, though special electrodes have made possible the welding of cast iron, nickel, aluminum, copper, and other metals.[34] Diagram of arc and weld area, in shielded metal arc welding.
1. Coating Flow
2. Rod
3. Shield Gas
4. Fusion
5. Base metal
6. Weld metal
7. Solidified Slag

Gas metal arc welding (GMAW), also known as metal inert gas or MIG welding, is a semi-automatic or automatic process that uses a continuous wire feed as an electrode and an inert or semi-inert gas mixture to protect the weld from contamination. Since the electrode is continuous, welding speeds are greater for GMAW than for SMAW.[35]

A related process, flux-cored arc welding (FCAW), uses similar equipment but uses wire consisting of a steel electrode surrounding a powder fill material. This cored wire is more expensive than the standard solid wire and can generate fumes and/or slag, but it permits even higher welding speed and greater metal penetration.[36]

Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), or tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, is a manual welding process that uses a nonconsumable tungsten electrode, an inert or semi-inert gas mixture, and a separate filler material.[37] Especially useful for welding thin materials, this method is characterized by a stable arc and high quality welds, but it requires significant operator skill and can only be accomplished at relatively low speeds.[37]

GTAW can be used on nearly all weldable metals, though it is most often applied to stainless steel and light metals. It is often used when quality welds are extremely important, such as in bicycle, aircraft and naval applications.[37] A related process, plasma arc welding, also uses a tungsten electrode but uses plasma gas to make the arc. The arc is more concentrated than the GTAW arc, making transverse control more critical and thus generally restricting the technique to a mechanized process. Because of its stable current, the method can be used on a wider range of material thicknesses than can the GTAW process and it is much faster. It can be applied to all of the same materials as GTAW except magnesium, and automated welding of stainless steel is one important application of the process. A variation of the process is plasma cutting, an efficient steel cutting process.[38]

Submerged arc welding (SAW) is a high-productivity welding method in which the arc is struck beneath a covering layer of flux. This increases arc quality, since contaminants in the atmosphere are blocked by the flux. The slag that forms on the weld generally comes off by itself, and combined with the use of a continuous wire feed, the weld deposition rate is high. Working conditions are much improved over other arc welding processes, since the flux hides the arc and almost no smoke is produced. The process is commonly used in industry, especially for large products and in the manufacture of welded pressure vessels.[39] Other arc welding processes include atomic hydrogen welding, electroslag welding (ESW), electrogas welding, and stud arc welding.[40] ESW is a highly productive, single pass welding process for thicker materials between 1 inch (25 mm) and 12 inches (300 mm) in a vertical or close to vertical position.
Gas welding
Main article: Oxy-fuel welding and cutting

The most common gas welding process is oxyfuel welding,[17] also known as oxyacetylene welding. It is one of the oldest and most versatile welding processes, but in recent years it has become less popular in industrial applications. It is still widely used for welding pipes and tubes, as well as repair work.[17]

The equipment is relatively inexpensive and simple, generally employing the combustion of acetylene in oxygen to produce a welding flame temperature of about 3100 °C.[17] The flame, since it is less concentrated than an electric arc, causes slower weld cooling, which can lead to greater residual stresses and weld distortion, though it eases the welding of high alloy steels. A similar process, generally called oxyfuel cutting, is used to cut metals.

Resistance Welding

Main article: Resistance welding

Resistance welding involves the generation of heat by passing current through the resistance caused by the contact between two or more metal surfaces. Small pools of molten metal are formed at the weld area as high current (1000–100,000 A) is passed through the metal.[41] In general, resistance welding methods are efficient and cause little pollution, but their applications are somewhat limited and the equipment cost can be high.[41] Spot welder

Spot welding is a popular resistance welding method used to join overlapping metal sheets of up to 3 mm thick.[41] Two electrodes are simultaneously used to clamp the metal sheets together and to pass current through the sheets. The advantages of the method include efficient energy use, limited workpiece deformation, high production rates, easy automation, and no required filler materials. Weld strength is significantly lower than with other welding methods, making the process suitable for only certain applications. It is used extensively in the automotive industry—ordinary cars can have several thousand spot welds made by industrial robots. A specialized process, called shot welding, can be used to spot weld stainless steel.

Like spot welding, seam welding relies on two electrodes to apply pressure and current to join metal sheets. However, instead of pointed electrodes, wheel-shaped electrodes roll along and often feed the workpiece, making it possible to make long continuous welds. In the past, this process was used in the manufacture of beverage cans, but now its uses are more limited.[41] Other resistance welding methods include butt welding,[42] flash welding, projection welding, and upset welding.[41] Energy beam

Energy beam welding methods, namely laser beam welding and electron beam welding, are relatively new processes that have become quite popular in high production applications. The two processes are quite similar, differing most notably in their source of power. Laser beam welding employs a highly focused laser beam, while electron beam welding is done in a vacuum and uses an electron beam. Both have a very high energy density, making deep weld penetration possible and minimizing the size of the weld area. Both processes are extremely fast, and are easily automated, making them highly productive. The primary disadvantages are their very high equipment costs (though these are decreasing) and a susceptibility to thermal cracking. Developments in this area include laser-hybrid welding, which uses principles from both laser beam welding and arc welding for even better weld properties, laser cladding, and x-ray welding.[43]

Solid-state
Solid-state welding processes classification chart

Like the first welding process, forge welding, some modern welding methods do not involve the melting of the materials being joined. One of the most popular, ultrasonic welding, is used to connect thin sheets or wires made of metal or thermoplastic by vibrating them at high frequency and under high pressure.[45] The equipment and methods involved are similar to that of resistance welding, but instead of electric current, vibration provides energy input. Welding metals with this process does not involve melting the materials; instead, the weld is formed by introducing mechanical vibrations horizontally under pressure. When welding plastics, the materials should have similar melting temperatures, and the vibrations are introduced vertically. Ultrasonic welding is commonly used for making electrical connections out of aluminum or copper, and it is also a very common polymer welding process.[45]

Another common process, explosion welding, involves the joining of materials by pushing them together under extremely high pressure. The energy from the impact plasticizes the materials, forming a weld, even though only a limited amount of heat is generated. The process is commonly used for welding dissimilar materials, such as the welding of aluminum with steel in ship hulls or compound plates.[45] Other solid-state welding processes include friction welding (including friction stir welding),[46] magnetic pulse welding,[47] co-extrusion welding, cold welding, diffusion bonding, exothermic welding, high frequency welding, hot pressure welding, induction welding, and roll welding.[45]

Geometry Welding

Main article: Welding joint
Common welding joint types – (1) Square butt joint, (2) V butt joint, (3) Lap joint, (4) T-joint

Welds can be geometrically prepared in many different ways. The five basic types of weld joints are the butt joint, lap joint, corner joint, edge joint, and T-joint (a variant of this last is the cruciform joint). Other variations exist as well—for example, double-V preparation joints are characterized by the two pieces of material each tapering to a single center point at one-half their height. Single-U and double-U preparation joints are also fairly common—instead of having straight edges like the single-V and double-V preparation joints, they are curved, forming the shape of a U. Lap joints are also commonly more than two pieces thick—depending on the process used and the thickness of the material, many pieces can be welded together in a lap joint geometry.

Many welding processes require the use of a particular joint design; for example, resistance spot welding, laser beam welding, and electron beam welding are most frequently performed on lap joints. Other welding methods, like shielded metal arc welding, are extremely versatile and can weld virtually any type of joint. Some processes can also be used to make multipass welds, in which one weld is allowed to cool, and then another weld is performed on top of it. This allows for the welding of thick sections arranged in a single-V preparation joint, for example.[49] The cross-section of a welded butt joint, with the darkest gray representing the weld or fusion zone, the medium gray the heat-affected zone, and the lightest gray the base material.

After welding, a number of distinct regions can be identified in the weld area. The weld itself is called the fusion zone—more specifically, it is where the filler metal was laid during the welding process. The properties of the fusion zone depend primarily on the filler metal used, and its compatibility with the base materials. It is surrounded by the heat-affected zone, the area that had its microstructure and properties altered by the weld. These properties depend on the base material’s behavior when subjected to heat. The metal in this area is often weaker than both the base material and the fusion zone, and is also where residual stresses are found.[50] Quality
Main article: Weld quality assurance
The blue area results from oxidation at a corresponding temperature of 600 °F (316 °C). This is an accurate way to identify temperature, but does not represent the HAZ width. The HAZ is the narrow area that immediately surrounds the welded base metal.

Many distinct factors influence the strength of welds and the material around them, including the welding method, the amount and concentration of energy input, the weldability of the base material, filler material, and flux material, the design of the joint, and the interactions between all these factors.[51] To test the quality of a weld, either destructive or nondestructive testing methods are commonly used to verify that welds are free of defects, have acceptable levels of residual stresses and distortion, and have acceptable heat-affected zone (HAZ) properties. Types of welding defects include cracks, distortion, gas inclusions (porosity), non-metallic inclusions, lack of fusion, incomplete penetration, lamellar tearing, and undercutting.

The metalworking industry has instituted specifications and codes to guide welders, weld inspectors, engineers, managers, and property owners in proper welding technique, design of welds, how to judge the quality of Welding Procedure Specification, how to judge the skill of the person performing the weld, and how to ensure the quality of a welding job.[51] Methods such as visual inspection, radiography, ultrasonic testing, phased-array ultrasonics, dye penetrant inspection, magnetic particle inspection, or industrial computed tomography can help with detection and analysis of certain defects.
Heat-affected zone

The heat-affected zone (HAZ) is a ring surrounding the weld in which the temperature of the welding process, combined with the stresses of uneven heating and cooling, alter the heat-treatment properties of the alloy. The effects of welding on the material surrounding the weld can be detrimental—depending on the materials used and the heat input of the welding process used, the HAZ can be of varying size and strength. The thermal diffusivity of the base material plays a large role—if the diffusivity is high, the material cooling rate is high and the HAZ is relatively small. Conversely, a low diffusivity leads to slower cooling and a larger HAZ. The amount of heat injected by the welding process plays an important role as well, as processes like oxyacetylene welding have an unconcentrated heat input and increase the size of the HAZ. Processes like laser beam welding give a highly concentrated, limited amount of heat, resulting in a small HAZ. Arc welding falls between these two extremes, with the individual processes varying somewhat in heat input.[52][53] To calculate the heat input for arc welding procedures, the following formula can be used:

Q = ( V × I × 60 S × 1000 ) × E f f i c i e n c y {\displaystyle Q=\left({\frac {V\times I\times 60}{S\times 1000}}\right)\times {\mathit {Efficiency}}} Q=\left({\frac {V\times I\times 60}{S\times 1000}}\right)\times {\mathit {Efficiency}}

where Q = heat input (kJ/mm), V = voltage (V), I = current (A), and S = welding speed (mm/min). The efficiency is dependent on the welding process used, with shielded metal arc welding having a value of 0.75, gas metal arc welding and submerged arc welding, 0.9, and gas tungsten arc welding, 0.8.[54] Methods of alleviating the stresses and brittleness created in the HAZ include stress relieving and tempering.[55] Lifetime extension with aftertreatment methods
Example: High Frequency Impact Treatment for lifetime extension

The durability and life of dynamically loaded, welded steel structures is determined in many cases by the welds, in particular the weld transitions. Through selective treatment of the transitions by grinding (abrasive cutting), shot peening, High Frequency Impact Treatment, etc. the durability of many designs increase significantly.

Metallurgy Welding

Most solids used are engineering materials consisting of crystalline solids in which the atoms or ions are arranged in a repetitive geometric pattern which is known as a lattice structure. The only exception is material that is made from glass which is a combination of a supercooled liquid and polymers which are aggregates of large organic molecules.[56]

Crystalline solids cohesion is obtained by a metallic or chemical bond which is formed between the constituent atoms. Chemical bonds can be grouped into two types consisting of ionic and covalent. To form an ionic bond, either a valence or bonding electron separates from one atom and becomes attached to another atom to form oppositely charged ions. The bonding in the static position is when the ions occupy an equilibrium position where the resulting force between them is zero. When the ions are exerted in tension force, the inter-ionic spacing increases creating an electrostatic attractive force, while a repulsing force under compressive force between the atomic nuclei is dominant.[56]

Covalent bonding takes place when one of the constituent atoms loses one or more electrons, with the other atom gaining the electrons, resulting in an electron cloud that is shared by the molecule as a whole. In both ionic and covalent bonding the location of the ions and electrons are constrained relative to each other, thereby resulting in the bond being characteristically brittle.[56]

Metallic bonding can be classified as a type of covalent bonding for which the constituent atoms of the same type and do not combine with one another to form a chemical bond. Atoms will lose an electron(s) forming an array of positive ions. These electrons are shared by the lattice which makes the electron cluster mobile, as the electrons are free to move as well as the ions. For this, it gives metals their relatively high thermal and electrical conductivity as well as being characteristically ductile.[56]

Three of the most commonly used crystal lattice structures in metals are the body-centred cubic, face-centred cubic and close-packed hexagonal. Ferritic steel has a body-centred cubic structure and austenitic steel, non-ferrous metals like aluminum, copper and nickel have the face-centred cubic structure.[56]

Ductility is an important factor in ensuring the integrity of structures by enabling them to sustain local stress concentrations without fracture. In addition, structures are required to be of an acceptable strength, which is related to a material’s yield strength. In general, as the yield strength of a material increases, there is a corresponding reduction in fracture toughness.[56]

A reduction in fracture toughness may also be attributed to the embrittlement effect of impurities, or for body-centred cubic metals, from a reduction in temperature. Metals and in particular steels have a transitional temperature range where above this range the metal has acceptable notch-ductility while below this range the material becomes brittle. Within the range, the materials behavior is unpredictable. The reduction in fracture toughness is accompanied by a change in the fracture appearance. When above the transition, the fracture is primarily due to micro-void coalescence, which results in the fracture appearing fibrous. When the temperatures falls the fracture will show signs of cleavage facets. These two appearances are visible by the naked eye. Brittle fracture in steel plates may appear as chevron markings under the microscope. These arrow-like ridges on the crack surface point towards the origin of the fracture.

Fracture toughness is measured using a notched and pre-cracked rectangular specimen, of which the dimensions are specified in standards, for example ASTM E23. There are other means of estimating or measuring fracture toughness by the following: The Charpy impact test per ASTM A370; The crack-tip opening displacement (CTOD) test per BS 7448-1; The J integral test per ASTM E1820; The Pellini drop-weight test per ASTM E208.

Underwater welding

While many welding applications are done in controlled environments such as factories and repair shops, some welding processes are commonly used in a wide variety of conditions, such as open air, underwater, and vacuums (such as space). In open-air applications, such as construction and outdoors repair, shielded metal arc welding is the most common process. Processes that employ inert gases to protect the weld cannot be readily used in such situations, because unpredictable atmospheric movements can result in a faulty weld. Shielded metal arc welding is also often used in underwater welding in the construction and repair of ships, offshore platforms, and pipelines, but others, such as flux cored arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding, are also common. Welding in space is also possible—it was first attempted in 1969 by Russian cosmonauts, when they performed experiments to test shielded metal arc welding, plasma arc welding, and electron beam welding in a depressurized environment. Further testing of these methods was done in the following decades, and today researchers continue to develop methods for using other welding processes in space, such as laser beam welding, resistance welding, and friction welding. Advances in these areas may be useful for future endeavours similar to the construction of the International Space Station, which could rely on welding for joining in space the parts that were manufactured on Earth.[57]

Safety issues

Arc welding with a welding helmet, gloves, and other protective clothing

Welding can be dangerous and unhealthy if the proper precautions are not taken. However, using new technology and proper protection greatly reduces risks of injury and death associated with welding.[58] Since many common welding procedures involve an open electric arc or flame, the risk of burns and fire is significant; this is why it is classified as a hot work process. To prevent injury, welders wear personal protective equipment in the form of heavy leather gloves and protective long-sleeve jackets to avoid exposure to extreme heat and flames. Synthetic clothing such as unfireproofed polyester should not be worn since it will ignite and burn rapidly. Additionally, the brightness of the weld area leads to a condition called arc eye or flash burns in which ultraviolet light causes inflammation of the cornea and can burn the retinas of the eyes. Goggles and welding helmets with dark UV-filtering face plates are worn to prevent this exposure. Since the 2000s, some helmets have included a face plate which instantly darkens upon exposure to the intense UV light. To protect bystanders, the welding area is often surrounded with translucent welding curtains. These curtains, made of a polyvinyl chloride plastic film, shield people outside the welding area from the UV light of the electric arc, but can not replace the filter glass used in helmets.

A chamber designed to contain welding fumes for analysis
File:Welding Helmet Effects on Breathing Zone Exposures.webmPlay media
A video describing research on welding helmets and their ability to limit fume exposure

Welders are often exposed to dangerous gases and particulate matter. Processes like flux-cored arc welding and shielded metal arc welding produce smoke containing particles of various types of oxides. The size of the particles in question tends to influence the toxicity of the fumes, with smaller particles presenting a greater danger. This is because smaller particles have the ability to cross the blood–brain barrier. Fumes and gases, such as carbon dioxide, ozone, and fumes containing heavy metals, can be dangerous to welders lacking proper ventilation and training.[60] Exposure to manganese welding fumes, for example, even at low levels (<0.2 mg/m3), may lead to neurological problems or to damage to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or central nervous system.[61] Nano particles can become trapped in the alveolar macrophages of the lungs and induce pulmonary fibrosis.[62] The use of compressed gases and flames in many welding processes poses an explosion and fire risk. Some common precautions include limiting the amount of oxygen in the air, and keeping combustible materials away from the workplace.[60] Costs and trends

As an industrial process, the cost of welding plays a crucial role in manufacturing decisions. Many different variables affect the total cost, including equipment cost, labor cost, material cost, and energy cost.[63] Depending on the process, equipment cost can vary, from inexpensive for methods like shielded metal arc welding and oxyfuel welding, to extremely expensive for methods like laser beam welding and electron beam welding. Because of their high cost, they are only used in high production operations. Similarly, because automation and robots increase equipment costs, they are only implemented when high production is necessary. Labor cost depends on the deposition rate (the rate of welding), the hourly wage, and the total operation time, including time spent fitting, welding, and handling the part. The cost of materials includes the cost of the base and filler material, and the cost of shielding gases. Finally, energy cost depends on arc time and welding power demand.

For manual welding methods, labor costs generally make up the vast majority of the total cost. As a result, many cost-saving measures are focused on minimizing operation time. To do this, welding procedures with high deposition rates can be selected, and weld parameters can be fine-tuned to increase welding speed. Mechanization and automation are often implemented to reduce labor costs, but this frequently increases the cost of equipment and creates additional setup time. Material costs tend to increase when special properties are necessary, and energy costs normally do not amount to more than several percent of the total welding cost.

In recent years, in order to minimize labor costs in high production manufacturing, industrial welding has become increasingly more automated, most notably with the use of robots in resistance spot welding (especially in the automotive industry) and in arc welding.[64][65] In robot welding, mechanized devices both hold the material and perform the weld[66] and at first, spot welding was its most common application, but robotic arc welding increases in popularity as technology advances. Other key areas of research and development include the welding of dissimilar materials (such as steel and aluminum, for example) and new welding processes, such as friction stir, magnetic pulse, conductive heat seam, and laser-hybrid welding. Furthermore, progress is desired in making more specialized methods like laser beam welding practical for more applications, such as in the aerospace and automotive industries. Researchers also hope to better understand the often unpredictable properties of welds, especially microstructure, residual stresses, and a weld’s tendency to crack or deform.

The trend of accelerating the speed at which welds are performed in the steel erection industry comes at a risk to the integrity of the connection. Without proper fusion to the base materials provided by sufficient arc time on the weld, a project inspector cannot ensure the effective diameter of the puddle weld therefore he or she cannot guarantee the published load capacities unless they witness the actual installation.[68] This method of puddle welding is common in the United States and Canada for attaching steel sheets to bar joist and structural steel members. Regional agencies are responsible for ensuring the proper installation of puddle welding on steel construction sites. Currently there is no standard or weld procedure which can ensure the published holding capacity of any unwitnessed connection, but this is under review by the American Welding Society.

Glass and plastic welding

The welding together of two tubes made from lead glass
A bowl made from cast-glass. The two halves are joined together by the weld seam, running down the middle.

Glasses and certain types of plastics are commonly welded materials. Unlike metals, which have a specific melting point, glasses and plastics have a melting range, called the glass transition. When heating the solid material past the glass transition (Tg) into this range, it will generally become softer and more pliable. When it crosses through the glass melting temperature (Tm), it will become a very thick, sluggish, viscous liquid, slowly decreasing in viscosity as temperature increases. Typically, this viscous liquid will have very little surface tension, becoming a sticky, taffy to honey-like consistency, so welding can usually take place by simply pressing two melted surfaces together. The two liquids will generally mix and join at first contact. Upon cooling through the glass transition, the welded piece will solidify as one solid piece of amorphous material.

Glass welding Welding
Main article: Glassblowing

Glass welding is a common practice during glassblowing. It is used very often in the construction of lighting, neon signs, flashtubes, scientific equipment, and the manufacture of dishes and other glassware. It is also used during glass casting for joining the halves of glass molds, making items such as bottles and jars. Welding glass is accomplished by heating the glass through the glass transition, turning it into a thick, formable, liquid mass. Heating is usually done with a gas or oxy-gas torch, or a furnace, because the temperatures for melting glass are often quite high. This temperature may vary, depending on the type of glass. For example, lead glass becomes a weldable liquid at around 1,600 °F (870 °C), and can be welded with a simple propane torch. On the other hand, quartz glass (fused silica) must be heated to over 3,000 °F (1,650 °C), but quickly loses its viscosity and formability if overheated, so an oxyhydrogen torch must be used. Sometimes a tube may be attached to the glass, allowing it to be blown into various shapes, such as bulbs, bottles, or tubes. When two pieces of liquid glass are pressed together, they will usually weld very readily. Welding a handle onto a pitcher can usually be done with relative ease. However, when welding a tube to another tube, a combination of blowing and suction, and pressing and pulling is used to ensure a good seal, to shape the glass, and to keep the surface tension from closing the tube in on itself. Sometimes a filler rod may be used, but usually not.

Because glass is very brittle in its solid state, it is often prone to cracking upon heating and cooling, especially if the heating and cooling are uneven. This is because the brittleness of glass does not allow for uneven thermal expansion. Glass that has been welded will usually need to be cooled very slowly and evenly through the glass transition, in a process called annealing, to relieve any internal stresses created by a temperature gradient.

There are many types of glass, and it is most common to weld using the same types. Different glasses often have different rates of thermal expansion, which can cause them to crack upon cooling when they contract differently. For instance, quartz has very low thermal expansion, while soda-lime glass has very high thermal expansion. When welding different glasses to each other, it is usually important to closely match their coefficients of thermal expansion, to ensure that cracking does not occur. Also, some glasses will simply not mix with others, so welding between certain types may not be possible.

Glass can also be welded to metals and ceramics, although with metals the process is usually more adhesion to the surface of the metal rather than a commingling of the two materials. However, certain glasses will typically bond only to certain metals. For example, lead glass bonds readily to copper or molybdenum, but not to aluminum. Tungsten electrodes are often used in lighting but will not bond to quartz glass, so the tungsten is often wetted with molten borosilicate glass, which bonds to both tungsten and quartz. However, care must be taken to ensure that all materials have similar coefficients of thermal expansion to prevent cracking both when the object cools and when it is heated again. Special alloys are often used for this purpose, ensuring that the coefficients of expansion match, and sometimes thin, metallic coatings may be applied to a metal to create a good bond with the glass.[69][70] Plastic welding

Main article: Plastic welding

Plastics are generally divided into two categories, which are “thermosets” and “thermoplastics.” A thermoset is a plastic in which a chemical reaction sets the molecular bonds after first forming the plastic, and then the bonds cannot be broken again without degrading the plastic. Thermosets cannot be melted, therefore, once a thermoset has set it is impossible to weld it. Examples of thermosets include epoxies, silicone, vulcanized rubber, polyester, and polyurethane.

Thermoplastics, by contrast, form long molecular chains, which are often coiled or intertwined, forming an amorphous structure without any long-range, crystalline order. Some thermoplastics may be fully amorphous, while others have a partially crystalline/partially amorphous structure. Both amorphous and semicrystalline thermoplastics have a glass transition, above which welding can occur, but semicrystallines also have a specific melting point which is above the glass transition. Above this melting point, the viscous liquid will become a free-flowing liquid (see rheological weldability for thermoplastics). Examples of thermoplastics include polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyvinylchloride (PVC), and fluoroplastics like Teflon and Spectralon.

Welding thermoplastic is very similar to welding glass. The plastic first must be cleaned and then heated through the glass transition, turning the weld-interface into a thick, viscous liquid. Two heated interfaces can then be pressed together, allowing the molecules to mix through intermolecular diffusion, joining them as one. Then the plastic is cooled through the glass transition, allowing the weld to solidify. A filler rod may often be used for certain types of joints. The main differences between welding glass and plastic are the types of heating methods, the much lower melting temperatures, and the fact that plastics will burn if overheated. Many different methods have been devised for heating plastic to a weldable temperature without burning it. Ovens or electric heating tools can be used to melt the plastic. Ultrasonic, laser, or friction heating are other methods. Resistive metals may be implanted in the plastic, which respond to induction heating. Some plastics will begin to burn at temperatures lower than their glass transition, so welding can be performed by blowing a heated, inert gas onto the plastic, melting it while, at the same time, shielding it from oxygen.

Many thermoplastics can also be welded using chemical solvents. When placed in contact with the plastic, the solvent will begin to soften it, bringing the surface into a thick, liquid solution. When two melted surfaces are pressed together, the molecules in the solution mix, joining them as one. Because the solvent can permeate the plastic, the solvent evaporates out through the surface of the plastic, causing the weld to drop out of solution and solidify. A common use for solvent welding is for joining PVC or ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) pipes during plumbing, or for welding styrene and polystyrene plastics in the construction of models. Solvent welding is especially effective on plastics like PVC which burn at or below their glass transition, but may be ineffective on plastics like Teflon or polyethylene that are resistant to chemical decomposition.

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