Welding is the process of fusing two or more different metals or thermoplastics using extremely high temperature, high pressure, or both combined.
The welding process is a staple in countless industries. This simple process that joins two materials is the key to sectors like automotive, aerospace, and gigantic constructions.
So, this might make you wonder, how does welding work? This article will tell you everything you need to know about welding and how it works. Let’s dive in.
What Is the Process of Welding?
The primary purpose of welding is to bind two or more elements together with a strong connection. The elements joined together are usually metals or thermoplastics.
These elements are joined together on a molecular level. That means the connection between them will be strong enough to withstand the toughest situations.
Using high pressure, high heat, or a mixture of both, we melt the elements to combine them together as one piece. After they cool off, the bond between them is as tough as it can get.
That’s why welding is used in all sorts of manufacturing processes and countless essential industries, including:
Automotive, Construction, Infrastructure, Railroads and Aerospace.
How Does Welding Work?
The welding process depends on the type of materials you want to join. So, we’ll discuss the most commonly used materials and how they’re welded.
Welding metals is the most common welding process. We heat the two metals we want to bind together, creating a portion of molten metal that cools to form the bond between the two pieces.
Welding metals depends on the melting point of each one. Brazing is preferred over welding if there’s a significant difference in melting points between the two metals. It is sometimes used by plumbers to connect copper pipes.
The process of welding thermoplastics is similar to welding metal. The plastic undergoes three phases to be welded: preparing the surface, applying heat, and cooling.
Many types of plastics can be welded. This is sometimes referred to as gluing but the reality is that it is a type of welding as the materials get heated up. A lot of products around your household were made by welding plastic. For example:
-Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
As odd as it may sound, you can weld two pieces of wood together using friction. This method is effective, fast, and eco-friendly.
What’s good about this method is that we’ll no longer need glue or nails to hold wood together.
That’s because the process depends on applying mechanical friction to the surface of the wood until the two pieces of wood are joined together.
Welding wood by friction is a new concept, though, and it’s still not fully developed. So, you may not find a lot of examples of it.
Is Welding Different From Soldering?
Welding is different from soldering. In soldering, we use a filler or binder material that we burn. This material mostly has a low melting point. In other words, soldering includes an adhesive material that brings the two elements together.
On the other hand, in welding, we join the two elements together without using an external filler. The filler, in this case, is the molten metal that was originally part of the material we’re welding.
The Energy Sources Used in Welding
Forge welding was the first method used to weld metals together. It includes heating the metals to a high temperature and hammering them until they are bound together. By the beginning of the 20th century, new methods were being developed.
Nowadays, numerous methods are used for welding different kinds of materials. For instance:
-Electric arc (stick welding)
-Gas flame (MIG or TIG welding)
What Are the Types of Welding?
There are various types of welding. Each type is used for a particular product or in a specific industry. For example, laser beam welding is frequently used in the jewelry industry. Meanwhile, arc welding is known for its broad uses in automotive industries.
The different types of welding can be classified according to the source of energy used. So there’s heat-based welding and pressure-based welding.
Here are some examples of the types of welding used nowadays:
-Laser beam welding
-Shielded-Metal Arc Welding
-Gas metal arc
-Common Mechanisms and Configurations of Welding
There are many configurations to how you can join two materials together by welding. This depends on the desired final product. Here are some of the most common joint structures for welding:
-Butt joint: an angle of 135-180° between two ends
-T joint: an angle of 90° between one part’s edge and the other’s face
-Corner joint: 30-135° connection between two ends or edges
-Edge joint: 0-30° degree connection between two edges
-Lap joint: an angle of 0-5° between two overlapping parts
Why Is Welding a Good Method to Join Materials?
Welding is one of the best methods to join metal and thermoplastics together. It forms a highly durable bond between the elements.
The final product of the two joined materials will look like they’re one piece of material. So, it’s suitable for any sort of manufacturing that requires high durability joining of two or more materials.
Does welding make good money in the USA in 2022?
Welders can earn anything from 30-150 USD. A lot of it depends on their experience level and what type of welding they are able to do.
Welding takes a lot of experience. This is why some companies only increase the payment after a few years of proven experience. You might have to work a few years for less when you start out. Taking some courses can help your skills as well. Stick welding is typically one of the better-paid welding jobs.
It has to be noted that welding machines are getting more complex. For this reason, it might be a good idea to look into these machines and study how they work. For smaller production batches, welding by hand will remain relevant. For bigger production cycles, we can start to see machines taking this over.
We have to keep in mind that welding is an intense job and it can be hard to do this for multiple decades. This is why you should try to optimize the amount that you get. Always try to find ways to grow and get better.
Not a lot of people want to become a welder nowadays so the pay is going
Underwater welding is typically the best paid as it involves a lot of dangers. You have to be able to dive and work with the equipment underwater. As with anything, the more skills that a job requires, the more it will pay. You will have to take a lot of courses if you want to become an underwater welder. There are not a lot of companies that need this but it can be required to fix bridges or work on complex industrial machines. This involves a lot of dangers and you get a risk premium for this. Not everyone wants to take on this kind of risk though.
We have discussed how much plumbers make here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have a question in mind? Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the process of welding:
What is arc welding?
Arc welding uses an electric arc to create the required temperature to melt materials. An electric arc is an electric current flowing between two electrodes through an ionized column of gas.
What gas is used for welding?
Gases that are commonly used in the welding processes include propane, butane, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, and helium.
Can you weld any type of metal?
All metals can be welded. However, some metal combinations don’t go well together. Additionally, some metals like steel are more easily welded than others. So, you should always check the compatibility of the materials you’re willing to weld.
What are the most common types of welding?
While it’s hard to assume the most common type of welding, these types are more commonly used nowadays:
-Shielded Metal Arc
-Gas Metal Arc
-Flux Cored Arc
-Gas Tungsten Arc
Welding is a brilliant solution for joining metals. Metal, plastic, and wood can all be welded using different methods. To make the materials stick together, we use heat, pressure, or a mixture of both sources.