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Friction stir does it again

Connect, no. 109, November/December 2000, p.7

At the latest meeting of Friction stir welding of transport structures held at TWI this autumn, sponsors were delighted to be told of dramatic results in the development of an advanced friction stir welding (FSW) tool.

Its use achieved an increase in travel speed by a factor of 2.8.

Increasing welding speed substantially, while maintaining or improving the existing high weld quality was a prime objective of the project at its inception.

Welding trials have been conducted on the normally difficult-to-weld aerospace Al-Zn alloy T7075-T7351. So far a welding speed of over 450mm/min has been achieved when making butt joints in 6.35mm thick material. This represents an increase of almost three times on the speed achievable with current commercially available FSW tools. This tool also produces a higher weld nugget hardness leading to higher tensile strength values of over 90% of the plate strength in the T7351 condition.

Even higher speeds are expected by changing the tool path about the axis of rotation. Trials are continuing.


Two new companies recently joined the Group Sponsored Project. DanStir (Denmark) and Kawasaki Heavy Industries (Japan) are now part of the group of major international companies working on this research. Other sponsors are: Boeing Company (USA), British Aerospace (UK), British Aluminium (UK) CSM Materialteknik AB (Sweden), DERA (UK), ESAB Welding Equipment AB (Sweden), MTS Systems Corporation (USA) and Raufoss Materials Technology (Norway).

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