Science and technology are evolving at a rapid pace. Computers and digital tech get most of the attention but they’re not the only areas that deserve credit. In fact, many of the latest breakthroughs are made from metal and built using traditional fabrication processes such as welding.
Welding on its own is a complex, interesting science. When you combine it with other ideas, the possibilities are virtually endless. Here are eight high-tech things that wouldn’t be possible without metal and welding.
Right now, the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) is underway. When complete around 2025, the telescope will have a resolving power 10 times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope. GMT will be installed in the 22-story Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, which will be the largest observatory in the world. While the highlight of GMT will be seven revolutionary mirrors, the wide variety of welding taking place to construct the telescope will surely make viewing the galaxy at a new level a possibility.
Today’s robots are capable of doing incredible, human-like tasks, from speech recognition to running on two legs. To build these complex machines, custom metal components need to be made using methods like laser cutting and welding.
The relationship between robots and welding goes two ways. Robotics and computer programming are also used to automate welding processes and boost manufacturing productivity.
It’s estimated that by 2050, one-third of the world’s electricity needs could be met by wind power. Even today, a single wind turbine can power up to 500 homes. Since wind turbines are exposed to the force of high wind speed, high and low temperatures and other weather conditions, welders are called in to construct the structure to be extremely strong with corrosion-resistant materials.
Launching a rocket into space is no easy task. It needs to reach a speed of nearly 18,000 miles per hour (about 20 times the speed of sound) and be strong enough to withstand atmospheric temperatures up to 4,500 degrees Fahrenheit. For these reasons, and more, the materials and construction of rockets are incredibly important. Skilled aerospace welders used advanced techniques to weld high-strength, lightweight metal alloys. Learn more about rocket welding techniques.
From the Revolutionary War to the Cold War, submarines have played an important role in American history. Today, the U.S. Navy uses the latest generation called the Virginia-class submarine. Featuring cutting-edge technology, each sub costs around $1.65 billion to produce. To protect against intense underwater pressure and possible attacks, submarine hulls are built with thick metal that must be welded together.
When you check your social media feeds or stream a video, the digital information comes from a data center somewhere in the world. To keep the servers running and to reduce energy use, data centers must be built as very controlled environments. From solar power panels to advanced cooling systems to raised floor platforms, metal and welding are important for keeping us online.
Knowing how to weld can allow you to do some pretty crazy – or even nerdy – things to cars, motorcycles, scooters or basically anything with wheels and motors. We’re not just talking about suping up a car to be fast or loud – you can fabricate your ride to pay tribute to your favorite cultural icon. Check out these geeky custom cars.
How to get started
Welding continues to play an important role in the science and technology fields. Getting into a career in welding is a good way to be part of these exciting advancements. To search for welding schools in your area, visit the Welding School Locator.