Welding is a fabrication or sculptural process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence. This is often done by melting the work pieces and adding a filler material to form a pool of molten material (the weld pool) that cools to become a strong joint, with pressure sometimes used in conjunction with heat, or by itself, to produce the weld. This is in contrast with soldering and brazing, which involve melting a lower-melting-point material between the work pieces to form a bond between them, without melting the work pieces.
Many different energy sources can be used for welding, including a gas flame, an electric arc, alaser, an electron beam, friction, and ultrasound. While often an industrial process, welding can be done in many different environments, including open air, under water and in outer space. Regardless of location, welding remains dangerous, and precautions are taken to avoid burns, electric shock, eye damage, poisonous fumes, and overexposure to ultraviolet light.