Friction stir welding has ventured into the age of what I would call, the adolescent years. You know, that age where you see things change from “Dad, would you like the remote” to “Dad, give me the remote”. Those of you with teenagers know what I mean.
Friction stir has good traction for most of the soft metals; aluminum, copper, etc. However, for hard metals (steel, titanium, and nickel) the applications are just coming into the fold. We often get questions about the applications of FSW for hard metals and how the process differs for aluminum. The most notable difference is the temperature reached during welding.
Many applications for hard metals have also been focused on ¼-in. material and thinner, but are making headway on thicker materials. We recently shot a video of FSW of 5/-in. thick steel and posted it on YouTube. Its actually pretty cool to think you can shove a W-based tool in a piece of steel and have a nearly brand new looking tool after the weld is made. Take a peek. It’s pretty cool.