Welding is a process of fabrication where various materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, can be joined by liquefying the area where the joint is to occur. The method of welding is often done using a combination of heat and pressure to melt the materials being joined together with a filler material, such as a welding rod, to form a pool of molten substrate (also known as the weld puddle), which is then allowed to cool to create a strong joint.
Welding is a potentially dangerous process, which is primarily used as an industrial application but is becoming more common with the home DIY enthusiast. Welding can be achieved in many forms and using a variety of energy sources including gas flame, electric arc, laser, friction, ultra-sound and electric beam. Each individual method requires its own particular set of welding equipment supplies. However, a basic welding application requires the use of some common equipment supplies, such as the power supply, electrodes, welding rods and arcs, shielding gas, and a protective mask or helmet.
The use of protective equipment when welding is extremely important. Because the most common welding methods involve an open electric arc or flame, it can be a very dangerous practise if the correct safety precautions are not observed. There is a high risk of burns, to avoid them, welders wear protective clothing including heavy-duty leather gloves and thick log-sleeved coveralls to protect from exposure to excessive heat and flames. In addition to burns, the brightness of the welding areas can cause severe eye damage – there is a condition where the cornea is burned called arc eye. To prevent this, welders use protective goggles, masks and welding helmets that have specially designed dark or self-darkening lenses and faceplates to alleviate the effects of the highly damaging UV light.
Also, welders are often exposed to highly dangerous gases and fine particles. Some welding processes produce smoke that can cause various types of breathing conditions. In addition, these gases and fumes can be toxic with prolonged exposure, so it is important to ensure that there is proper ventilation in place to avoid this. It is also very important to consider that the use of bottles of compressed gasses in welding process do carry the risk of fire and explosion, especially with the proximity of naked electric arcs and flames. These must be located in a safe position to alleviate the risk of fire.
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