Researchers from Britain’s University of Huddersfield and China’s Kunming University of Science and Technology (KUST), will collaborate to produce a detailed appraisal on the Friction Stir Welding (FSW) technique, denoting its increasing significance to the modern industry.
Professor Andrew Ball and his colleague Dr Fengshou Gu, of the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Efficiency and Performance Engineering, has teamed up with Professor Xiaocong He of KUST’s Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre in order to investigate the new, yet complex technique.
“The University of Huddersfield and Kunming University of Science and Technology have worked very closely together for many years now, and this important publication is one example of the benefits of such international collaboration,” said Professor Ball.
Friction Stir Welding, which was first invented in the United Kingdom in 1991, has proved to be an effective means of joining materials that are otherwise hard to weld. It is also been used to join plates with different thicknesses or those that are made from different materials. Advanced new technologies, such as FSW, are especially important in modern manufacturing, where there is an increasing need to design lightweight structures and to develop ways of joining them.
Professor He, Professor Ball and Dr Gu have been carrying out research into FSW over a period of several years, and have received financial backing from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Special Program of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology. They have now issued their findings in a 66-page article published by the leading international journal ‘Progress in Materials Science. ‘
“Progress in Materials Science has an Impact Factor in excess of 25, which is very high for most fields, including engineering. I’m delighted that our work has been published in this prestigious and highly-weighted journal,” said Dr Gu.
The article reviews the latest developments in the numerical analysis of friction stir welding processes, the microstructures of friction stir welded joints and the properties of friction stir welded structures.
Though the researchers conclude that FSW can be used successfully to join difficult-to-weld materials, they assert that the technique and scientific understanding of it is still at an early stage in its development. “So far, the development of the FSW process for each new application has remained largely empirical. Scientific, knowledge-based numerical studies are of significant help in understanding the FSW process,” they wrote.
Many challenges remain in the development and analysis of FSW, the three researchers conclude, adding that the digest that they have presented in the Progress in Materials Science article is intended to provide the basis for further research.
Image courtesy of DLR’s Institute of Materials Research