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Dissimilar materials joining for automotive applications

Webinars 23 July 2019

Webinar start time: 15:00 BST (GMT+1)

In this free-to-join webinar and Q&A presenter Sullivan Smith, TWI's Automotive Programme Manager, will be discussing the range of currently available dissimilar joining technologies. The implications and pros and cons for their use in high-volume automotive production will also be considered.

All attendees will receive a copy of the presentation slides and recording (subject to audio quality). 


The automotive sector is going through a revolution. Conventional internal combustion engines are being replaced by newly developed electrical power systems. The demands on the vehicle body structure are becoming increasingly stringent; high strength, structural stiffness and crash safety are all paramount. All this must be achieved at the lightest possible weight to enable efficient driving performance and reduce environmental impact. Consequently, vehicle designers are turning away from ‘mono material’ structures to select the ‘right material in the right place’, and combinations of steels, high strength steels, aluminium, magnesium, polymers and composites are required.

Integrating all of these materials into a vehicle body structure requires high performance manufacturing solutions, and joining is a particular challenge. The joining challenge goes far beyond the feasibility of combining specific materials in a joint. For a high performing joint suitable for volume production, the joining process must also: Provide the required mechanical performance, have acceptable corrosion performance, be cost effective for the required production volume, be applicable within a specific production environment, allow for the mismatch in thermal expansion coefficient between dissimilar materials, and have suitable in process monitoring for quality control purposes. Many dissimilar joining technologies are available, but end users require guidance as to which technology is appropriate for their component and production environment.


Meet the team

Sullivan Smith

Automotive Programme Manager

Sullivan Smith, TWI’s automotive programme manager, joined TWI in 2011. From 1998 to 2011 he was employed by Tata Steel, working in resistance welding research and development and support for the automotive industry.

Sullivan specialises in resistance spot, seam, flash/upset butt and projection welding. He has provided considerable resistance welding support to the European automotive and general manufacturing sectors. Much of his experience is in the area of advanced high-strength steels, an area in which he has been responsible for the design of alloy compositions and microstructures to achieve optimum welding properties. In recent years Sullivan has worked on the joining of dissimilar metal alloys and techniques for the integration of ‘difficult to weld’ materials into high-integrity structures. He also sits on the ISO committee for resistance welding standardisation.

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