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Image depicting In space, two pieces of the same metal will bond permanently

In space, two pieces of the same metal bond permanently!


Recommended for Middle Grades

In space, if you put two pieces of the same metal together, they will stick to each other permanently. Why? Because of a process called cold fastening or cold welding. We first came to know about cold fastening in the 1940s. It was due to the character of general materials.

Key facts about metal bonding in space!

  • Scientists found out that two clean, flat surfaces of metal would powerfully adhere (stick to each other) in a vacuum.
  • The reason for this cold fastening is clear.
  • It is because once the atoms of one piece of metal touch the area of another identical piece, they never “know” that they’re different.
  • However, this is a process that will not happen on Earth.
  • Earth contains an extremely caustic oxygen-rich atmosphere. This leads to oxidation.
  • So, on Earth, there is always a skinny film of metal on each surface left after oxidation.
  • The layer of the oxidation part acts as protection that prevents the metal from sticking out.
  • So, it is not like how it is in space.

Watch a video about this process.

Video credit: Veritasium/Youtube


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