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FSW Expert Presents Latest Innovations at RINA Conference

Mon, 22 March, 2021

On Thursday 18 March 2021, TWI's Stephen Cater presented a number of new friction stir welding (FSW) developments at the Royal Institution of Naval Architects’ conference ‘Maritime Innovation and Emerging Technologies’.

Amongst the innovations presented were:

  • The use of simultaneous double sided friction stir welding for the fabrication of thick section aluminium structures with potential applications in high speed watercraft and floating production and storage platforms;
  • Recent advances in FSW tool technology, allowing the transfer of the friction stir welding process into steel, potentially enabling the fabrication of larger hulls than is possible with aluminium construction. This will not only introduce benefits of higher strength, toughness and fatigue performance when compared with traditional arc or laser welding techniques, but also considerably less distortion during fabrication;
  • An alternative technique for the construction of stiffened panels, using rolled steel sections spaced by steel plate, generating an all forged, low distortion, high strength panel that can easily incorporate different thicknesses and grades of steel to tailor its properties to the envisaged structural loading case;
  • The use of robotically deployed friction stir welding to conduct automated, at sea repairs, not only under water but also in oil too, thereby allowing repairs of structures as diverse as live oil pipelines, oil and fuel storage tanks, oil platform legs and offshore wind turbine foundations.

The presentation concluded with details of TWI’s involvement in a new EU sponsored research programme, RESURGAM, which will further develop the process of friction stir welding in steel for both ship construction and at sea, underwater repair.

Stiffened panels concept.
Stiffened panels concept.

The RESURGAM project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101007005

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