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Welding in the 21st Century

Over the last several years many new alloys have been developed to offer increased fitness for purpose, increased service life, and reduced weight. On the transportation side in the ferrous group are the Martensitic, Dual Phase, and strip steels. Their increased strength and reduced weight help to meet CAFE legislation by increasing gas mileage etc. I can see increased use of these type of steels in military vehicles, heavy equipment, building supports, etc.

Each of these ultra high strength steels are very particular when it comes to welding. Much more research and attention must be paid to welding metallurgy prior to and during welding than with standard grade hot or cold rolled steel.

As these new alloys were being developed many schools in the US closed their welding programs. Along with this is the fact that information from research laboratories is very slow to reach the grass roots area of manufacturing.

My concern is that material technology appears to be way ahead of the skilled trades technology, and until current welding education activities are increased, and welding R&D information is transferred to the grass roots level in a seamless mannor we will not be able to reap the rewards of the above mentioned materials, or other ferrous, non-ferrous super alloys.



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