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News

Friction Stir Welding

Castings Technology International : 24 June, 2004  (New Product)
Under a project led by TWI, and including Cti, Corus, AMRC, Technicut and Yorkshire SMEs as partners, Cti are researching the use of Friction Stir Welding (FSW) of castings and associated parts. FSW has only been around since 1991 but, following development of the process by its inventors at Cambridge based TWI Ltd, it has rapidly been implemented around the world in many applications within the aerospace, shipbuilding, rail and automotive industries.
Under a project led by TWI, and including Cti, Corus, AMRC, Technicut and Yorkshire SMEs as partners, Cti are researching the use of Friction Stir Welding (FSW) of castings and associated parts. FSW has only been around since 1991 but, following development of the process by its inventors at Cambridge based TWI Ltd, it has rapidly been implemented around the world in many applications within the aerospace, shipbuilding, rail and automotive industries. The over-arching project, named FriSC, the Friction Stir welding Collaboration, aims to examine further application of the technology.

Generally results have shown a return to as-cast properties in the weld area and heat affected zone, meaning that heat treatment may be required to restore the mechanical properties. The exception to this is ductile iron, which has shown some interesting results and is under further study to understand the phenomena.

What is Friction Stir Welding?
FSW utilises the movement of a rotating tool along a joint line, with the heat generated by the friction softening the material. The tool consists of a pin that penetrates the workpiece under high force, and a shoulder section that prevents hot material being expelled from the weld area. The rotation of the tool sweeps the softened material from the front of the tool to the back, effectively creating a solid state weld between the two individual components.

The success of the process in joining aluminium, magnesium and copper alloys is well documented, whilst the application of FSW to higher temperature materials, such as steels, irons, and titanium and nickel alloys, is under development, along with advanced tool materials.
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