What is Explosion Welding?
Explosion welding is achieved by accelerating one of the components at an extremely high velocity through the use of chemical explosives. It is a solid-state welding process that is often used to clad carbon steel with a thin layer of corrosion-resistant material such as stainless steel, nickel alloy, titanium or zirconium.
History of Explosion Welding
Explosion welding was developed fairly recently, unlike other forms of welding such as arc welding which was developed in the late 19th Century.
The origins of explosion welding go back to World War I and in the decades after World War II. It was observed that pieces of shrapnel were sticking to armour plating, but not being embedded themselves, they were being welded. This was due to the extreme heat and the phenomenon caused by the explosive forces acting on the shrapnel.
Advantages vs. Disadvantages of Explosion Welding
One of the benefits of explosion welding is that it can produce a bond between two metals that cannot necessarily be welded together by other means. This means that with explosion welding you can join an array of compatible and non-compatible metals. Explosion welding allows this because the process often does not melt either metal, instead plasticising the surfaces of both. The effect causes the metals to come into sufficient contact with each other and create a weld.
This process is a similar principle to other non-fusion welding techniques such as friction welding.
Another key benefit of explosion welding is that large areas can be bonded extremely quickly. The weld itself is very clean because the surface material of the metals is violently expelled during the reaction.
One disadvantage of explosion welding is that before carrying out this welding method you must have extensive knowledge of explosives before the procedure can be carried out safely. Oftentimes, there are also regulations for the use of explosives and it may require special licensing.
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