There are any number of reasons why you may wish to join two pieces of metal together. Welding is the most common way in which metals are joined, but there are a large number of alternatives.
As scientists capture the first footage of metal atomic bonding, whereby atoms of rhenium around the thickness of a human hair were joined, these techniques work with metals we can at least see with the naked eye.
First up, and perhaps least scientific on our list, is good old-fashioned glue. Metal bonding adhesive is required to join metals together for good, as other types of adhesive may well find themselves too weak to cope with the stresses involved. It is important to clamp the metals to be joined together until the glue has cured.
A quick internet search using the phrase ‘what is a metal bonding adhesive?’ will provide more information about the glues that stick metals together.
Used primarily in electronics, soldering is similar to welding in that heat is applied to a fuel source to bond materials together. Soldering allows an electrical current to pass through the components once they have been bonded; what’s more, as solder melts at a low temperature, it requires far less heat than welding.
Brazing calls for a filler metal to be melted, which then flows into the gaps between two metals. This produces a metallurgical bond between the metals to be joined and the filler. Unlike welding, brazing does not require heat to be applied directly to the metal parts to be bonded.
For an exciting way to join metals, riveting involves pinning pieces of metal together using mechanical fasteners. This produces a strong, solid and permanent bond. Perhaps the most difficult of the techniques to carry out due to the sheer amount of force required to drive the fasteners through metal, riveting is used in heavy engineering projects such as ship and bridge building.
Nuts and bolts
From when a child was first able to manipulate a Meccano spanner to today, using nuts and bolts to join pieces of metal together is an incredibly common way to do so. If metals need to be joined together strongly but in a way that can be reversed and manipulated, nuts and bolts are great for the job.