Stephen Cater is a Principal Project Leader at TWI’s Yorkshire Technology Centre, responsible for research into the friction stir welding (FSW) of both thick section light metal alloys such as aluminium and magnesium, and high plasticisation point materials such as steel, titanium and nickel based alloys.
A metallurgist by training, and winner of the Richard Weck Award for his work on steel, Stephen led TWI’s Core Research Programme (CRP) into the development of FSW for steel, and also led the welding elements of projects looking at FSW for marine construction. These programmes were HILDA (High Integrity Low Distortion Assembly), MOSAIC (Materials Onboard: Steel Advancements and Integrated Composites) and RESURGAM ( Robotic Survey, Repair & Agile Manufacture). Stephen also developed the capability to friction stir weld steel under oil in the FSWBOT programme which is currently developing a robotic system able to conduct patch repairs of defects inside live oil pipelines.
Stephen has led a number of single client projects on the welding of thick section (>25mm) aluminium for safety critical applications and is currently leading two major projects in this area. One is a CRP project investigating new tool designs and FSW techniques for thick section aluminium and the second is a Joint Industry Project (JIP) for a group of sponsors interested in the early commercialisation of these new FSW techniques. Stephen also led a SCP for a customer in the Power sector who had a requirement for high integrity aluminium FSW in cryogenic service. Stephen also leads TWI’s FSW training programme, having developed a series of FSW courses in accordance with the requirements of the ISO FSW Standard, ISO 25239:2011.