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WHY PLASTIC AND GLASS WELDING IS MORE DIFFICULT THAN WELDING OF METALS

 

Plastic and glass had been in use just like any other material in the earth surface but historically the use of metals started before any of them. It can be said that technology actually originated from metals especially the iron, copper, gold, and silver.

The use of metals started in the B.C. age, based on bible records, ancient cities with their kings did go to war with weapons made with metals but little was said about how the metallic warfare weapons were made so the use of metals and its processing started very early in the human history. However, the plastic did not have such history instead ceramic does.

The use of plastic started when the chemistry of crude oil processing was invented, and when the overall methods of obtaining monomers became available. In other words, the discovery and processing of hydrocarbons led to the discovery of raw materials used for plastic production.

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The principle behind the plastic production is the polymerization of the raw materials known as monomers usually made as billets from the raw material processing plants. Though plastic is not new its processing methods remain new to most people because little had been said about it.

Two popular types of plastics are in existence, they are:

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Thermoplastic and thermoset.

The thermoplastics are re-moldable after their lifespan or when broken and is mostly used for domestic products like chairs, buckets, cups, and jugs, etc. they are elastic and have a glossy feel on their surfaces.

The thermoset is the type that cannot be re-used after its lifespan. This type of plastic does not melt when placed on fire instead it burns. But the thermoplastics will first melt before burning when places on fire. Due to the higher heat resistance of the thermoset and its ability not to melt at the same temperature that thermoplastics would do, they are used for electric devices such as sockets, switches, electric jugs, also their use can be found in the making of electronics bodies such as; radios, televisions, and keyboards, etc.

The glass, on the other hand, is also as new or old as the plastic itself. It is a material obtainable from the processing silicon-based stones. The production process of the glass is very tedious and sometimes more difficult than the making of metals. The re-molding of bottles and making of window glasses may involves heating and be blowing into the shape of all the raw materials mixed together in the production plant.

Having discussed these three materials, why is it always difficult to make amend on them after putting into shape?

Evidence has shown that metals can easily be welded together than plastic and glass. The reason for that is based on the properties of the metals which is favoring fusion. Because metals were made through heating, melting and molding process, lots of unwanted elements in the metals were removed which helps it to possess the real metallic properties.

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During welding, heat is usually applied to melt the surfaces to be welded. If that occurs in metals, placing a molten metal of the same properties on the surface will make then to fuse together after solidification.

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However, in the case of plastic, it has low adhesion properties to its fellow plastic even when heat is applied to both surfaces. For that reason welding of plastic products had been a serious technical challenge that only a few experts can do with special machines. Another obstacle is that plastic is not a good conductor of electric which is why it will not be suitable for arc-welding operation, the popular way plastic products can be welding will be through the direct flame application.

The temperature needed to weld plastic is usually very low like those used in the soldering of electronics panels. Meanwhile, irrespective of how perfectly the welded surface may be, it wouldn’t last long before they separate again, that had been the major setback to plastic welding unlike the welding of metals.

Glass welding is a new technology that is trying to get to its perfection. The practice of welding glasses can be found mostly in Asian countries. It involves bring pieces of broken glass together and using heat to fuse them in place. Records had shown it is very possible and practicable, but the obvious evidence showed that the fused pieces easily chatter again under little impact force on the joints. Except when used with strong adhesive liquid or joining wire mesh is added, welded joints of glass may not last long under stressful use.

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Having compared welding property of the three popular materials used widely today, one can understand why metals had been dominating other materials and would possibly continue to do so until a well-competitive material emerges to challenge metals.

Metals can be welded with both arc and argon welding and the welded joints last longer than others.

 

Originally posted 2018-07-15 13:47:25.

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