In the simplest sense, welding is used to create bonds between pieces of metal. However, welding is also a playground for creativity, which has resulted in many unusual applications of this process. From architectural marvels such as the Gothic architecture of Notre Dame or the Golden Gate Bridge to military installations, welding is used to make everything from cars to cell phones.
One of the largest constructions in the world is the Interstate Highway system, which was built between 1952 and 1980. It includes about 47,890 miles (77,037 km) of road. This monstrous highway system consists of many bridge crossings and viaducts, which were all welded together.
The roadway of an interstate is typically made as a series of viaducts or bridges, each of these being a single unique structure. Each section is welded together in the same manner—each one is welded along its entire length, with no junctions.
Welding has also been used in sports to make tennis rackets and baseball bats. Baseball bats, for example, are made from a single piece of steel and have only one sleeve that is welded onto a piece of wood.
The outer layer of the bat is the most striking and noticeable part. It is made from a pure form of carbon steel—a dark-colored metal—drawn out into a bat-like shape.
The most obvious use of welding for everyday people is that vehicles get welded together. Of course, this does not just involve automobiles: trucks, boats, airplanes, and even homes get built from welded metal.
The earliest cars had to be assembled from multiple parts, which must have been quite a pain. After World War II, mass automobile assembly became widely popular. However, this process was very time-consuming and also rather error-prone. It was only in the 1950s that welding became the main method used for automobile manufacture. Today some 98% of cars are produced by welding.
For the first time, a car could be assembled by one person who did not have to know anything about engineering or manufacturing. An artisan who worked with metals could do everything from designing a new model to welding together steel plates.
The technology used in some modern cars also uses traditional welding techniques. The technology in more expensive cars such as BMWs allows the driver to control the car’s direction using a joystick on the steering wheel. This is a bit like playing a video game. Also, there is an anti-lock braking system, which uses computer-controlled disc brakes on all four wheels. All these things are welded together by professionals.
Another example of modern technology that involves welding is the screen of an iPad, which is composed of thousands of smaller displays that work together and are made from glass. This, too, uses a process that is known as vacuum-forming. However, the welding method used is different from the one used to make automobiles.
As we can see in the examples above, welding can be used in many different ways and can give us a glimpse into the future. So many modern cars are made by welding proves that it has become an essential part of everyday life. It shows how technology advances every day without us even being aware.