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Ecostir – Single Use High-Temperature Friction Stir Weld Tooling

Project Code: 33555


  • Minimise tool contamination through improved welding procedures including pilot hole geometry.
  • Understand the weld microstructure, effect of tool contamination and effect on mechanical properties.
  • Assess tool performance when welding a range of plate thicknesses.
  • Evaluate tool designs, candidate materials and backing bars against the criteria established for technical and economic performance.
  • Produce data on tool life and cost to augment the business case for their use.

Project Outline

TWI has previously assessed a range of candidate friction stir weld (FSW) tool materials for welding Ti-6Al-4V. A ceramic material and tool design were identified which produced several metres of weld, with the potential to do so at a price considerably below that currently achievable with existing tool materials and designs.

The basic concept of this project is to build upon this work, to assess different tool designs plate thicknesses and backing bar materials, to identify the process window, to characterise the weld microstructure and tool weld contamination, and finally to assess the mechanical properties. Data will be collated on weld quality, tool life and tool cost in order to assess the economic advantages of this new generation of FSW tools.

Whilst low cost tooling is attractive to all potential users, it is especially so to those in market sectors where the end products are of lower intrinsic value than in, for example, the aerospace sector. These sectors may also be able to tolerate a lower weld quality if, for example, the titanium component is required primarily for corrosion resistance rather than structural strength.

Relevant Industry Sectors

Benefits to Industry

The ability to undertake lower cost welding in titanium will be attractive across many industry sectors.


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