Safety management in various fields is an interest of mine. The industrial field tends to have more accidents than most other types of job sites, so I’ve spent a lot of time learning about industrial accidents. How do they happen? Why do they happen? How do they affect employees, business owners, and clients? How do they impact the overall success of an industrial business? Some of the answers to these questions can be found in this blog. I started it to share the information that I’ve been collecting with people that are in my field of interest. If you work or own a business in the industrial field, knowing how to prevent accidents at work should be important to you. The information here can help you learn how to be more proactive in preventing them.
Welders from places like Suburban Welding & Steel LLC use special tools to fuse metals permanently together. This is typically done by melting the metal and then allowing it to cool as one piece. However not all metals can be welded together in this way. Metals that are difficult to fuse together can often be joined through a process called explosive welding or explosive bonding.
Conceptualizing Explosive Welding
The concept of explosive welding was introduced in World War II when engineers noticed something interesting. They saw that when shrapnel came into contact with armor plating on an airplane or other vehicle at a high rate of speed, the result was that the shrapnel became embedded into the armor plating. In fact, the two pieces of metal formed a bond.
Those studying the phenomenon realized that the pieces were actually fusing themselves together as one piece. They concluded that the fusing was the result of the tremendous force created when the two pieces collided.
The Process of Explosive Welding
Explosive welding allows two dissimilar metals to be combined in one fast motion. Even metals with different melting points can be combined using this technique.
The Base Metal
The strongest metal to be bonded is called the base metal. This would be the thicker of the two metals, and it is set in place first. When two plates are being fused, a common use of the explosive metal technique, each plate is ground down and made perfectly smooth before it is set.
The Cladding Metal
The cladding metal is the thinner, weaker piece of metal. It is placed on top of the base metal, and a small gap is left in between the two. When these metals are set in place, the whole piece is called a pack.
After the pack is in place, a powdered substances is placed on top of the cladding metal. This powder can be made of different materials such as ammonium nitrate or synthetic ingredients like polymer bonded explosives. The type of explosive powder used depends on the type of metal being bonded.
The explosive powder is then detonated, and the explosion spreads across the metals and creates a high pressure environment that instantly bonds the metals together. The explosion expels any impurities, so the newly formed metal is sound.
After the bonding process, the metals are typically flattened using a special pressing machine or large rollers.
Explosive welding is considered cold welding, which means that it does not depend on using enough heat to melt metals. This also means that the metals keep the integrity of their original form, which can be lost during the melting process.
When two types of metal have different melting points, welding them through traditional means can be difficult or impossible. By using explosive welding, metals like aluminum, copper and bronze can be fused into steel.
Explosive welding also allows metal plates with very different thicknesses to be easily combined. It allows lets welders fuse together huge surfaces in a short amount of time.
Another advantage of explosive welding is that it can sometimes be performed onsite in places where traditional welding would be difficult. An example of this is when a heat exchanger tube, such as those used in oil refineries, needs to be replaced or repaired.
According to SOURIAU PA&E, composites created through explosive welding are useful for manufacturing products used in cryogenics, high temperature processes and applications with corrosion resistance. These products are much stronger and better able to handle extreme conditions.
Explosive welding is a specialized type of bonding that is useful in many situations but requires welders who are trained in and understand the use of explosive materials.