It is a very real thing.
In the railroad industry we deal with welded rails that are literally miles long. We do an operation called thermal adjustment. By heating the rails to around 125 degrees, about what they will see in direct sunshine on a hot day, and then pinching it down to the tie plates and ties with special clips, the rails are left in tension on all but the hottest days. This controls the build up of compressive forces in the rails called sun kinks that cause serious local misalignments and derailments.
We usually work with 1,600’ long rail strings and thermite weld the butt ends together as we go.