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Center for Friction Stir Processing (CFSP)

Brigham Young University

University of North Texas

University of South Carolina

Wichita State University

Year Graduated: 2017

The mission of the CFSP is to advance the science and technology of Friction Stir Processing to accelerate its industrial application/

Center Mission and Rationale

The mission of the CFSP is to advance the science and technology of Friction Stir Welding & Processing (FSW&P) and its many variants to accelerate its industrial application.  Our major objectives are to:

  • Develop and promote the principles and technology of FSW&P
  • Increase the quantity and quality of professionals prepared to work in FSW&P
  • Involve the faculty of Center Universities in research meeting the needs of industrial sponsors
  • Develop knowledge that will help member sites around the world to be competitive in the global economy.

 

As a graduated Center, we have identified the major barriers to widespread industrial application of FSW&P, and have developed a research program that covers each of the major barriers.  Working together with our sponsoring companies, we are developing fundamental knowledge that supports plant implementation, certification processes, and engineering design modifications necessary to achieve the benefits of this technology in industrial application.

 

Research program

Aerospace applications of FSW

Friction stir welding and processing and their variants have many potential aerospace applications. Research in rivet replacement, repair of aging aircraft, fabricated structures, and tooling for assembled structures is undertaken to support the increased adoption of FSW&P by aerospace companies.

Automotive applications of Friction Stir Joining

Friction stir spot welding shows promise as a joining technology for aluminum sheets used in automotive applications to reduce weight and increase fuel economy.  Work at the center is aimed at improving the speed of the process while reducing forces and maintaining high material properties.  Novel tool designs and welding parameters are being developed.

FSW of materials with high melting temperatures

Special challenges are found in FSW of materials with melting points above 1000 C.  Center research has focused on methods for successfully welding stainless steels, high-strength-low-alloy steels, pipeline steels, titanium, nickel-based superalloys, and copper.  Applications include nuclear reactor repair, shipbuilding, pipeline construction, aircraft engines, and nuclear waste storage.

Microstructural modifications by FSP

The material microstructure is improved by friction stir processing.  Studies in improving microstructure include investigations of fatigue life improvement, in-situ MMC composite manufacturing, repair of casting defects, and the development of strain-active materials.

Process control and inspection

In-process control and monitoring techniques, as well as post-process non-destructive analysis techniques are being developed and evaluated for their capabilities to detect process defects.  Probability of detection charts have been developed, and in-process techniques have been demonstrated to be as effective as post-weld NDE in detecting volumetric defects.

Process fundamentals

Increasing the fundamental understanding of the friction stir process is vital to improving the process.  Experimental and analytical studies aimed at better understanding the physics of the process and predicting process operation, as well as improving the range of acceptable process parameters,  are carried out in the center.

Tool design and evaluation

Center research in designing and evaluating novel FSW tools has led to reduced process forces, improved process stability, and increased performance in FSP.  Work continues to identify optimal tools for specific applications.

Special Activities

The CFSP is active in providing research opportunities for graduate students, undergraduate students, and secondary school teachers.

In addition, Site personnel offer short courses in FSW&P and related technologies at their respective universities, at professional conferences, and/or in other venues such as corporate sites as requested.  Use the contact information links to learn more or to request training and education services.

Facilities and Laboratory

Center facilities include a wide range of friction stir processing equipment, with work envelopes up to several meters long.  Plunge spot welding, swept spot welding, refill spot welding, linear welding, and robotic welding equipment are available at various sites.

In addition to processing equipment, testing and support equipment are integral to the center.  High-speed video, data acquisition, and in-process monitoring equipment are used to track the process during operation.  Metallographic equipment, low- and high-speed materials testing systems, dynamic test systems, and fatigue testers are used to evaluate the properties of the processed materials.  High-resolution transmission and scanning electron microscopes are used to understand the microstructural characteristics of the resulting welds.  The total capital equipment value supporting center activities is in excess of five million dollars.

Locations

University of North Texas

Discovery Park C136-F
1155 Union Circle #305310

Denton, Texas, 76203-5017

United States

University of South Carolina

300 Main Street

Columbia, South Carolina, 29208

United States

Brigham Young University

435 CTB

Provo, Utah, 84602

United States

(801) 422-7858

Wichita State University

1845 Fairmount St.

Wichita, Kansas, 67219

United States