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What is Butt Fusion?

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  • Written By: Keith Koons
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 07 September 2016
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Butt fusion is a term used in welding that describes the process when two components are heated to extreme temperatures and then pressed together to form a permanent bond. Unlike other types of welding where a solder is incorporated, this technique actually melts metals and thermoplastics down to molten form so that the two pieces join to become one at the molecular level. The overall heat and force required will vary depending on the materials being joined together, and these variables need to be calculated beforehand in order to ensure that the items will not compromise their overall durability during the process. If this technique is completed correctly, the area where butt fusion has taken place will become just as strong or stronger than the original pieces and equally resistant to damage.

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One of the most common methods of butt fusion is completed on metal rods that are being shaped to form a variety of items. The two ends of the rods are cleaned and prepared for the bonding process, and then they are placed together at the desired angle. These two items are then heated until their surfaces begin to glow and actually melt, at which point they are forced together to allow the bonding process to take place. Once the heat source is removed from these pieces of metal, they will rapidly cool and form one solid object. In cases where the newly-formed joint needs to be especially strong, steel and tungsten alloys can be added to increase the overall durability to levels that are exceeded when compared to other parts of the metal’s surface.

The metal butt fusion process is normally completed by machinery that can form hundreds of these permanent bonds within minutes, and often the result is more technically perfect than what the human hand could create. An assembly line is normally implemented with this type of technology so that the newly-bonded metals can have a chance to cool naturally while other pieces are being attached, allowing for a continuous cycle of fusion and cooling. Larger objects may require several different welds simultaneously to maintain the structural integrity during the bonding process.

Everything from hand tools to complex machinery is created using butt fusion inside factories and on construction sites across the world. The main benefit of using this technique is the speed and precision that can be accomplished with little human interaction, while the major downside is the need to rely on machinery for heavy or complex welds. Electro-fusion and guided side-bend are a few of the more popular alternative procedures; however, both methods also have the same relative pros and cons when compared to butt fusion.

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