Friction Welding

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Friction welding (FW) is a class of solid-state welding processes that generates heat through mechanical friction between a moving workpiece and a stationary component, with the addition of a lateral force called "upset" to plastically displace and fuse the materials. Technically, because no melt occurs, friction welding is not actually a welding process in the traditional sense, but a forging technique. However, due to the similarities between these techniques and traditional welding, the term has become common. Friction welding is used with metals and thermoplastics in a wide variety of aviation and automotive applications. The combination of fast joining times (on the order of a few seconds), and direct heat input at the weld interface, yields relatively small heat-affected zones. Friction welding techniques are generally melt-free, which avoids grain growth in engineered materials, such as high-strength heat-treated steels. Another advantage is that the motion tends to "clean" the surface between the materials being welded, which means they can be joined with less preparation. During the welding process, depending on the method being used, small pieces of the plastic metal will be forced out of the working mass (flash). It is believed that the flash carries away debris and dirt. Another advantage of friction welding is that it allows dissimilar materials to be joined. This is particularly useful in aerospace, where it is used to join lightweight aluminum stock to high-strength steels. Normally the wide difference in melting points of the two materials would make it impossible to weld using traditional techniques, and would require some sort of mechanical connection. Friction welding provides a "full strength" bond with no additional weight. Spin welding systems consist of two chucks for holding the materials to be welded, one of which is fixed and the other rotating. Before welding one of the work pieces is attached to the rotating chuck along with a flywheel of a given weight. The piece is then spun up to a high rate of rotation to store the required energy in the flywheel. Once spinning at the proper speed, the motor is removed and the pieces forced together under pressure. The force is kept on the pieces after the spinning stops to allow the weld to "set". This technique is also known as inertia welding, rotational welding or inertial friction welding. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]







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