Old welder to young welder: “OK, now we’re going to check your welds to see if they hold.”
Young welder: “They’re tight, they’ll hold up to anything.”
Old welder: “We’ll see about that.”
Explosive welding and explosive forming are old techniques if by “old” you mean “since we had high explosives available.” I’m endlessly amazed by the concept and I have to admit that I’d love to try explosive welding. Out here where I live there’s a lot of mining activity so there are suppliers that sell blasting materials. I just don’t want to go through all the regulatory headaches and the risk of making myself into a fine, pinkish, paste.
When I started working on wet plate photography in 2007, I was very concerned about the difficulty of getting my hands on stuff like ether and cyanide, but it turned out that in Pennsylvania what’s really hard to get is: anhydrous ethanol. Because the college kids like to drink it so it’s highly regulated. The cyanide took a phone call and a credit check. And that was how I learned that security on materials is spotty, at best. For another example: you can buy crystal iodine on ebay (used to sensitize silver for photography) but if you do, the sellers are most likely FBI agents trolling for meth cookers. But tincture of iodine, sold on amazon.com, just has a bit of alcohol in it and it doesn’t affect the dilution for your film. It’s really goofy, how security is a whack-a-mole game based on the last failure, and no forethought for the next.
I’m not sure if this is an application of high explosive, or low explosive, really. It could be a low explosive and the forming is done by gas pressure, e.g.: gunpowder. Whatever it is, it sure is a great test for the quality of your welds!
I am unsure of the term “hydroforming” for this process. I suppose it’s because there are fluid/gas dynamics at play, but isn’t there a more appropriate term?
Do you know of any other delightful applications of explosives?