Five TWI staff have won the UK's foremost environmental honour for the international Group Sponsored Project Development of the new friction stir welding technique for welding aluminium. Wayne Thomas, Chris Dawes, Peter Temple-Smith, Dave Staines and Ted Spurgin have been awarded the Engineering Council's 1999 Environment Award for Engineers beating over 100 other contenders.
At a ceremony in London in October 1999, Chris Dawes made a presentation establishing the environmental relevance of friction stir welding and accepted the Lloyd's Register Trophy on behalf of the team. They were also class winners of the British Energy Trophy for Sustainable Engineering .
In partnership with many colleagues at TWI, the winners have pioneered the application of Friction Stir Welding (FSW) for welding aluminium alloys which are important materials of the future often used in land, sea and air transport structures. The process is clean and does not require a shielding gas or filler wire. It eliminates the need for fume extraction and filtering equipment and does not produce any radiation hazards. Typically, it consumes only 5% of the energy needed for a laser weld which represents a significant saving on CO 2 emissions from power generation and a major cost saving for industry.