Your Child Wants To Become A Welder? – A Brief Look At Stud Welding

Posted on: 11 August 2015

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If your child has an interest in welding, he or she may have talked about a career in stud welding during one of your conversations. And, you are probably wondering what stud welding is and what it's used for. Here is a brief overview of stud welding and the many applications it's used for:

Definition of Stud Welding

According to the Dictionary of Construction, stud welding is a method of permanently attaching a metal shear stud or fastener to another piece of metal by welding it together. The fasteners used can be made of mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum alloys, copper, brass, silver, gold, or any other type of alloy.

A special gun is used to stud weld, which not only holds the stud or fastener in place, but also provides the electric current needed to create the weld. One of the most common uses for stud welding is construction applications, where steel and concrete need to be joined together, like when forming a composite beam.

Stud Welding Uses And Applications

Evidence of stud welding is all around you, but most of the time you never realize it's there. Items that you and your family use every day without a second thought probably contain stud welds. Here's a look at some of the most popular uses and applications for stud welding:

1. Construction

Probably the most-used areas of stud welding is in construction. Stud welding is used in many different areas during the construction of high-rise buildings, and in electrical panels found in both residential and commercial buildings. You probably don't know that the St. Louis Arch is made of stainless steel that is held together with weld studs.

2. Food Service Equipment

The next time you're at a fast food restaurant, look behind the counter. All the stainless steel appliances back there, including ovens, microwaves, mixers, kitchen hoods, etc. are put together with weld studs. That's why you don't see many fasteners, screws, or bolts on them. If screws are used, it is too easy for food debris to collect in the crevices and create health and sanitary problems.

3. Nameplates

Have you ever really looked at one of those fancy name plates outside of a lawyer or doctor's office? It looks like they are just stuck to the wall or door, because you can't see any screws. Actually, they have weld studs on the back to keep the nameplates in place without negatively affecting the brass finish.

4. Bridges

Bridge construction heavily relies on stud welding during the construction process. Stud welds are used to keep various pieces of the bridge together, with a joint strong enough to keep every vehicle and pedestrian who crosses it safe. Think about when you drive over a highway bridge.

You know that "thump-thump" you hear when your car drives onto the bridge? That is the metal expansion joint, which looks like a small gap or space where the road meats the bridge. This allows the bridge to expand during hot weather without fear of buckling. On each side of that gap is a metal plate, and on the back of the plates are large weld studs called concrete anchors.

During bridge construction, once the metal plate is in position, concrete is poured behind it. When it's cured, the concrete holds the heads of the studs in place, which anchors the plate to the bridge or the highway, depending on what side it's on.

5. Elevator Panels

Most elevators have a polished steel switch panel that house the buttons and the wires they are attached too. You'll notice that there are no screws in these panels. This is because they are held in place with weld studs. People choose stud welding because it's more aesthetically pleasing, doesn't mark the front face of the panel, and there are no screws for vandals to fiddle with.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of uses and applications for stud welding systems. But, this should give you a good idea as to what stud welding is the next time your child brings it up in a conversation. If you'd like to learn more about welding so you can be an active participant in a welding conversation with your child, contact your local welder's union or welding school. They will be happy to help you.