Friction stir welding (FSW) as a method for joining high-performance steels was the subject of a webinar delivered by research and technology organisation TWI in October.
The technique is already established as a method for joining light metals such as aluminium, but has historically not been used for welding steel due to its relatively high tooling costs. Recent developments, however, have led to a reappraisal, and for many steel applications FSW may now be considered a viable option.
At the webinar on Monday 20 October, TWI joining group business development manager Mike Russell briefed more than 300 attendees on the benefits of using the method for certain types of steel - particularly high-value, challenging-to-weld applications - and introduced them to some of his organisation's latest research findings.
TWI is in the process of launching a joint industry project to establish in more detail the opportunities in this area. Member companies are being invited to sponsor the project and play a role in directing the research, with the opportunity to be involved in early efforts to commercialise its findings.
Applications for which it is believed FSW has good potential include joining of complex steels, such as highly alloyed or thermomechanically processed grades, and welding materials for use in harsh locations such as undersea and corrosive environments.
The project being led by TWI will investigate the properties of friction stir welds in a number of complex, high-performance steels selected by the project partners, identify the relationships between the parameters of the process used and the weld microstructure and properties, and examine the commercial potential for steel-related FSW tool and process technology.
To find out more about the project, contact TWI joint industry project co-ordinator Kirsty Jones by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (quoting reference PR23903) or contact TWI on +44 (0)1223 899000.