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What is Welding?

Diana Bocco
By Diana Bocco
Updated May 17, 2024
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Welding is the process of joining metals by melting the parts and then using a filler to form a joint. It can be done using different energy sources, from a gas flame or electric arc to a laser or ultrasound.

Until the beginnings of the 20th century, welding was done via a process known as forge welding, which consists of heating up the pieces to be fixed together and then hammering them until they amalgamate. With the advent of electricity, the process became easier and faster, and it played an important part of the industry scene during World War I and II. There are different welding processes in use in modern times:

  • Arc welding is done through the use of an electrical current, and can be performed by using inexpensive equipment.
  • Gas Welding is widely used for repair work, especially in anything involving pipes and tubes. It is common in the jewelry industry, as well as for connecting plastics and other materials that cannot stand higher temperatures.
  • Resistance welding involves the use of additional sheets of metal to encase the pieces to be welded together. It is the most environmentally-friendly of all methods, but it requires costly equipment that cannot be used in all situations
  • Energy beam welding, also known as laser beam welding, is one of the most modern techniques used. This method is fast and accurate, but the high equipment cost makes it prohibitive for many industries.

Welding cannot be done with all types of metals, as some materials, such as stainless steel, are prone to cracking and distortion when overheated. Alloys are particularly problematic, since it's hard to know the exact chemical composition of the metal. Welding has become highly automatized over the last decade, and the use of robots is now commonplace in certain industries, such as the automotive manufacturing plants.

It is possible to weld items in unusual conditions, including underwater and in outer space. Underwater welding is widely used in the repair of pipelines and ships, while that performed in space is currently being researched as a possible way to put together space stations and other structures.

AboutMechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon348299 — On Sep 15, 2013

How and why do people choose welding?

By anon325385 — On Mar 15, 2013

Can you weld jewelry to cast metal steel?

By Ivan83 — On Nov 24, 2012

I have seen artists use welding in a lot of really creative ways. Recently I saw this sculpture that had been made from thousands of pieces of salvaged rebar welded together. It was hard to describe what it looked like, but imagine an explosion that someone was able to pause half way through.

Despite its size and scope, the sculpture seemed to have this feeling of movement and dynamic energy. It was amazing to see.

By vigilant — On Nov 23, 2012

I have heard that welders make good money and have a lot of job security, even in a bad economy like this one. Where do I get training in welding and what types of welding are the most in demand right now?

By anon91711 — On Jun 23, 2010

can i build a ship's hull with a welding machine?

By anon72479 — On Mar 23, 2010

yes cast iron can be welded.

By anon57824 — On Dec 27, 2009

effect of moisture on welding

when moisture is in the weld area it's become crack and lamination. we can find in such NDT in dye penetrant testing

By anon37640 — On Jul 21, 2009

what is the effect of moisture on welding?

By anon6065 — On Dec 14, 2007

1. Can you please add a date to the postings?

2. Can someone weld on a steel casting and if so, are there any extra cautions needed?

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