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Friction Stir Welding

Friction stir welding (FSW) is a solid-phase welding process, which means it can be used to weld without melting the metal.  FSW requires a small heat input, which is produced by frictional heating between a rotating tool and the metal to be welded.  FSW is performed by plunging a rotating pin tool into the material to be welded.  Once the prescribed depth has been achieved in the material the rotating tool traverses along the joint.  As the rotating tool traverses along the weld joint the frictional heating plasticizes or softens the two metals and joins them together.

FSW is a green technology, as it uses less energy than fusion welding, and there are no fumes emitted from the process.  Furthermore, no filler material is required in FSW and the tools are non-consumable.  However, the advantages of FSW are not only environmental.  When a metal is processed through FSW it undergoes hot plastic deformation, which is similar to forging, resulting in a forged-like microstructure that exhibits refined grain sizes.  In addition, the low heat input of the solid-phase FSW process translates into smaller heat affected zones and larger joint efficiencies in temperature sensitive materials.

Common examples of FSW industrial applications are:

Other viable applications that have not yet been fully integrated into industry are:

 

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