Unlike other forms of welding such as arc welding (which was developed in the early 19th century), explosion welding was developed relatively recently, in the decades after World War II. Its origins, however, go back to World War I, when it was observed that pieces of shrapnel sticking to armor plating were not only embedding themselves, but were actually being welded to the metal. Since the extreme heat involved in other forms of welding did not play a role, it was concluded that the phenomenon was caused by the explosive forces acting on the shrapnel. These results were later duplicated in laboratory tests and, not long afterwards, the process was patented and put to use.
Explosive welding has mainly found commercial application in large plate cladding of one metal on another , tube to tube plate welding, cladding one tube on another, plugging of heat exchangers, various electrical connectors, especially those between copper and aluminum , transition pieces, especially for pipework in cryogenic systems, pipe to pipe welding etc.