The main objectives of this programme will be as follows:
- To assess the application of LFW to third generation Al-Li alloys and generate baseline LFW weld performance information in this material
- To assess the application of LFW to Al-based Metal Matrix Composites and generate baseline LFW weld performance information in this material
- To assess the application of LFW to Ti-based Metal Matrix Composites and generate baseline LFW weld performance information in this material
- To assess the application of LFW to Fibre Reinforced composites and generate baseline LFW weld performance information in this material
Additional objectives will include:
- To conduct an initial assessment of the potential of applying LFW to join such materials to each other (dissimilar material joining)
- To carry out an initial assessment of the potential of applying LFW to join such materials to standard bulk forms of the parent alloy (for local improvement/addition)
- To develop and demonstrate a LFW process model to capture material deformation behaviour and predict/simulate weld generation in these materials
- To generate a range of process demonstrator samples for promoting of the new capabilities and joint combinations established
Linear Friction Welding (LFW) is a rapidly developing solid-phase joining process that is attracting a great deal of industrial interest. LFW has already been successfully established as a key manufacturing technology for critical aero-engine components, and is now being qualified for use on aero structures.
Current production applications are exclusively in Ti-6Al-4V alloy however LFW is potentially applicable to many materials, including non-fusion weldable alloys, advanced multiphase materials, and dissimilar material combinations.
Of particular interest at this time is the potential for applying LFW to a range of advanced lightweight materials, particularly those which present significant challenges to conventional (fusion) welding methods. Materials of interest include:
- Latest third generation Al-Li alloys
- Newly developed Al-based Metal Matrix Composites (eg Al-Al2O3)
- Advanced Ti-based Metal Matrix Composites (eg TiSiC)
- Fibre Reinforced composites (GFRP, CFRP)
- Combinations of the above
This project will assess the use of LFW for these challenging and in some cases newly emerging materials with the aim of demonstrating process capability. The concept is that LFW could be used in future to build up structural parts in such materials, and/or to locally add such materials/functionality to standard product forms, where desired.
Relevant Industry Sectors
This work is most obviously of interest to aerospace (both for the aero and for the space sectors) but is also relevant to high performance transport (e.g. high end automotive, race vehicles, high speed rail, fast response ships etc.). In such areas there is a clear and well documented industry need to maximise component capabilities, in order to deliver improved product performance and/or better platform efficiency.
In terms of light-weighting capabilities the work may also be of interest to some construction and engineering structures (eg yellow goods) and potentially also selected power generation components (eg rotatives).