A Closer Look at Friction Stir Welding Advantages and Disadvantages

When comparing friction stir welding advantages and disadvantages with traditional welding, it’s easy to understand why the former is the better choice for challenging manufacturing problems. Welding is a staple necessity in any major manufacturing environment, and a stir friction welding tool offers many benefits, including cost-effective metal joining and fewer by-products. 

It’s intended to provide manufacturers with a certain level of confidence, empowering them in the process to create quality components. Moreover, there are even different types of friction welding, such as orbital friction welding, linear variable friction welding, and conventional friction welding. All of these processes offer a powerful, time-efficient, and cost-effective procedure through which two metals can be combined flawlessly.

But, what exactly is friction stir welding? And, how does this method stack up against traditional welding? Let’s take a closer look.

What Is Friction Stir Welding?

Friction welding history can be traced back to 1991 when the first friction stir machine was designed and developed at The Welding Institute of Cambridge. It was a tool intended to combine metals and create a final significant-sized component that is excellent in size and incredible in quality.

This solid-state joining process is considered a superior option as it’s performed at relatively low temperatures when compared to more conventional metal joining tools. The friction stir welding machine consists of a non-consumable cylindrical attachment with a profiled pin that is inserted and rotated throughout the joint of two sheet pieces.

The cylindrical tool rotates between the two pieces of materials along the joint, generating frictional heat and causing the material to soften and mix. However, the frictional stir machine does not cause the material to reach its melting point, but will instead plasticize the material. After collecting along the edge, the softened material mixes and changes into a solid material upon cooling.

Friction Stir Welding Advantages And Disadvantages

Difference Between Friction Stir Welding And Traditional Welding

All forms of welding use a similar method in which the pieces are softened or melted under high pressure and then joined together by pressing the melted or plasticized material together. There are also some differences between both ways, such as:

  • In a friction welding machine, there is less thermal damage to the welded parts as compared to the conventional welding method
  • The friction stir method is cost-efficient as it requires less raw material to work
  • Friction welding methods work better when two different metals are fused
  • The downforce, rotation and welding speed, and tilting angle in friction stir welding are controllable, making it better than the conventional method
  • This method is safe for the environment and the workers in the surroundings. It releases less toxic gasses and material splash than other welding methods

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Friction Stir Welding

There are several benefits and harms attached to the friction stir welding method. For instance, the welding method requires mechanical heat rather than high current voltages. This helps in creating a better material without melting it.

Here are some of the most prominent advantages of friction stir welding:

  • No need for filler wire to create heat
  • Reduced distortion and shrinkage
  • Working in all positions
  • It is a very consistent and repeatable process
  • The friction welding method also requires no cooling
  • Stronger product as compared to conventional welding
  • Reduces the maintenance cost
  • It’s energy-efficient and can weld metals of more than 75 mm thickness in one pass
  • There are no fumes and splatter, which is also a positive health benefit for the workers
  • Low impact on the environment

There are also some disadvantages associated with the friction stir machine, such as:

  • Friction stir welding requires a different operator skill set from general arc and TIG welding
  • It cannot make filler joints
  • Welding of non-forgeable materials cannot be done with this method

Why Is Stir Welding A Better Option?

Friction stir welding can prove a much better option as it has numerous benefits over conventional welding methods. Final products created by this process generally surpass more rigid customer expectations, and will create an end result with almost no flaws.

Friction welding uniquely maintains high working temperatures, while still preventing the material from reaching its melting point. This can reduce cooling times, make the process less costly, and generate a microstructure that attains the properties of the base material for a stronger bond and fewer distortions.If you’re interested in the best friction stir products, check out Bond Technologies today and browse our selection.

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