https://www.scotsman.com/business/compa ... -1-4881281Welding breakthrough at Heriot-Watt to transform manufacturing
Researchers at Heriot-Watt University have unveiled a welding breakthrough which could have major repercussions for the manufacturing industry.
Scientists based at the Edinburgh university have successfully fused glass to metal using an ultrafast laser system, a feat which has historically been impossible because of the differences in thermal properties which would cause the glass to shatter.
The new process could potentially transform the manufacturing sector by eliminating the need for adhesives, increasing durability and offering more design flexibility. It can also have direct applications for businesses active in the aerospace, defence, optical technology and healthcare fields.
The Heriot-Watt laser system uses pulses of infrared light which last a picosecond – one trillionth of a second – applied in tracks along the materials to bind them together.
It has successfully welded optical materials such as quartz, borosilicate glass and even sapphire to metals including aluminium, titanium and stainless steel.
The welds have remained intact during tests conducted at temperatures varying from -50C to 90C, reassuring scientists that they are “robust enough to cope with extreme conditions”.
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