Wed, 05 June, 2019
TWI Principal Project Leader, Stephen Cater, has recently been elected to membership of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects, in recognition of his work on developing friction stir welding (FSW) of steel for shipbuilding and marine repair.
TWI's involvement in friction stir welding of marine structures goes back many years, initially to the development of aluminium decks and superstructures for fast ferries, and then into the welding of thick walled aluminium tanks for the transport of cryogenically cooled and liquefied gases.
As part of an EU-funded research programme, Stephen has been developing the FSW process for fabricating steel in projects such as HILDA (High Integrity Low Distortion Assembly) and MOSAIC (Materials Onboard: Steel Advancement and Integrated Composites) and, in an Innovate UK-funded project for marine repair applications in projects, FSWBot.
FSWBot is a robotic system that can be deployed to make a patch repair in sub-sea pipelines without the need to drain them of oil, thus eliminating downtime and enhancing profitability. A similar process could be applied to ship fuel or cargo tanks, and even hull repair, thereby reducing the need for dry-docking vessels.