What is Metal Cladding – Process , types , Advantages

Cladding is a term given to an outer layer that is bonded to a core, or inner layer. Metal cladding is specifically used to describe a metal outer layer—cladding—that is bonded to a core metal material. The outer and inner metals are typically dissimilar

Metal cladding is a method of protecting one metal (or composite) by forming a layer of a second metal to its surface by using techniques such as diffusion, deformation and lasers.

The advantage of cladding is that the process as well as the material can be chosen as per the needs of the application and the bond strength required. The laser beam method of cladding can be used for ceramic coating as well as metallic coating. Effective cooling in such cases ensures better micro-structure, and hence only a smaller area is thermally affected. With metal cladding, the surfaces can develop adequate wear resistance. The method is suitable for complex shapes as well.

Metal cladding is also used in construction materials. In this case, the metal exterior may be bonded to a non-metal core. Metal cladding in construction is used for cost savings, but also to enhance the functionality of the façade. The façade, or cladding, provides certain desirable benefits, while the core may provide another set of benefits. For example, metal-cladded siding will protect against rain, while its core, possibly foam core, which provides insulation properties.

roll bonding - metal cladding
roll bonding – metal cladding

Types Of Metal Cladding

  • Metal cladding is extremely sturdy and durable and has a very long lifespan depending on the metal cladding types. Walls can be finished with a wide array of metals and techniques which provide excellent resistance and coverage against weather conditions while being completely resistant to abrasions, UV rays and staining.
  • Today, Metal wall cladding is one of the most preferred cladding materials for newer homes. They not only improve the value and appearance of your interiors or exteriors but are also lightweight, fireproof and waterproof whilst also providing excellent acoustic performance.
  • Types of metal cladding range for interior and exterior cladding are:
    • Ziinc Cladding
    • Cooper Cladding
    • Galvanised steel Cladding
    • Aluminium Cladding
    • Brass Cladding
    • Bronze Cladding
    • Titanium Cladding
  • Metal cladding can be painted too and is available in a wide range of textures and patterns to replicate the look of different materials. With the right maintenance, it can increase the service life of any structure while also proving to be one of the best investments you can make to improve the value of your house. Metal cladding generally has a long lifespan varying from metal to metal.

Metal Cladding Processes : 

  • Roll bonding – In roll bonding, two or more layers of different metals are thoroughly cleaned and passed through a pair of rollers under sufficient pressure to bond the layers. The pressure is high enough to deform the metals and reduce the combined thickness of the clad material. Heat may be applied, especially when metals are not ductile enough. As an example of application, bonding of the sheets can be controlled by painting a pattern on one sheet; only the bare metal surfaces bond, and the un-bonded portion can be inflated if the sheet is heated and the coating vaporizes.
  • Explosive Welding : In explosive welding, the pressure to bond the two layers is provided by detonation of a sheet of chemical explosive. No heat-affected zone is produced in the bond between metals. The explosion propagates across the sheet, which tends to expel impurities and oxides from between the sheets. Pieces up to 4 x 16 metres can be manufactured. The process is useful for cladding metal sheets with a corrosion-resistant layer. 
  • Laser cladding is a method of depositing material by which a powdered or wire feedstock material is melted and consolidated by use of a laser in order to coat part of a substrate or fabricate a near-net shape part (additive manufacturing technology) 

    It is often used to improve mechanical properties or increase corrosion resistance, repair worn out parts, and fabricate metal matrix composites.

Advantages of Cladding  : 

  1. Best technique for coating any shape => increase life-time of wearing parts.
  2. Particular dispositions for repairing parts (ideal if the mould of the part no longer exist or too long time needed for a new fabrication).
  3. Most suited technique for graded material application.
  4. Well adapted for near-net-shape manufacturing.
  5. Low dilution between track and substrate (unlike other welding processes and strong metallurgical bond.
  6. Low deformation of the substrate and small heat affected zone (HAZ).
  7. High cooling rate => fine microstructure.
  8. A lot of material flexibility (metal, ceramic, even polymer).
  9. Built part is free of crack and porosity.
  10. Compact technology.
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