Standing the Heat

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An introduction to friction stir welding
By Jeff Defalco, Contributing Writer
September 15, 2009
A relatively new joining process, friction stir welding (FSW) produces no fumes; uses no filler material; and can join aluminum alloys, copper, magnesium, zinc, steels, and titanium. FSW sometimes produces a weld that is stronger than the base material.
Friction stir welding (FSW) is a relatively new joining process that has been used for high production since 1996. Because melting does not occur and joining takes place below the melting temperature of the material, a high-quality weld is created. This characteristic greatly reduces the ill effects of high heat input, including distortion, and eliminates solidification defects. Friction stir welding also is highly efficient, produces no fumes, and uses no filler material, which make this process environmentally friendly.
History
Friction stir welding was invented by The Welding Institute (TWI) in December 1991. TWI filed successfully for patents in Europe, the U.S., Japan, and Australia. TWI then established TWI Group-Sponsored Project 5651,”Development of the New Friction Stir Technique for Welding Aluminum,” in 1992 to further study this technique.
The development project was conducted in three phases. Phase I proved FSW to be a realistic and practical welding technique, while at the same time addressing the welding of 6000 series aluminum alloys. Phase II successfully examined the welding of aerospace and ship aluminum alloys, 2000 and 5000 series, respectively. Process parameter tolerances, metallurgical characteristics, and mechanical properties for these materials were established. Phase III developed pertinent data for further industrialization of FSW.
Since its invention, the process has received world-wide attention, and today FSW is used in research and production in many sectors, including aerospace, automotive, railway, shipbuilding, electronic housings, coolers, heat exchangers, and nuclear waste containers.

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

This expression makes absolutely no sense if you’re in the profession of welding.

#1:  If you can’t stand the heat, why the heck are you a welder?

#2:  There is no kitchen.  What kitchen?  If you’re welding in a kitchen, get out of that kitchen. Right now! There are gas mains!

#3:  If you can stand the heat, and you’re not in a kitchen, then why would you move?  Stand right there!

In fact, let’s add some more heat.  Let’s add some… friction.

That’s right, you heard me. Friction, as in friction stir welding. FSW. It’s all the rage in… in…

Just read.

An introduction to friction stir welding

By Jeff Defalco, Contributing Writer
September 15, 2009

A relatively new joining process, friction stir welding (FSW) produces no fumes; uses no filler material; and can join aluminum alloys, copper, magnesium, zinc, steels, and titanium. FSW sometimes produces a weld that is stronger than the base material.

fsw-cylindrical-shouldered-tool-profiled-probeFriction stir welding (FSW) is a relatively new joining process that has been used for high production since 1996. Because melting does not occur and joining takes place below the melting temperature of the material, a high-quality weld is created. This characteristic greatly reduces the ill effects of high heat input, including distortion, and eliminates solidification defects.

Friction stir welding also is highly efficient, produces no fumes, and uses no filler material, which make this process environmentally friendly.

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