Research and Development Engineered Materials
Friction extrusion was invented by researchers at The Welding Institute (Cambridge, UK), the same team that invented friction stir welding. Although the technique was intriguing and suggested numerous applications, there was a need for a purpose-built machine to begin to explore and tap the potential of this process. Bond Technologies has developed the first FE system, and more recent machines have been designed with enhanced features.
In addition to producing materials with fine grain size, when to other severe plastic deformation (SPD) processes, FE offers several advantages:
- High-speed consolidation – no vacuum
- Energy efficiency – no auxiliary
- Larger extrudate materials – large
enough for practical use.
There are several commercial uses for this process, and more are being developed. For example:
- Consolidation and refinement of powder/flake/ chip feedstock.
- Extrusion of Mg₂Si, for example, to form lightweight tubular structures.
- Consolidation of engineered powders to form new composite materials.
- Enhancement of bulk materials properties, such as energy absorption in magnesium alloys.
- Production of materials with enhanced thermal properties.
Research and Development
Bond FE products are relatively new, making possible a host of research and development opportunities. The potential for innovation is high with this new capability, potentially leading to expanded commercialization.
One of the most exciting applications for FE lies in its ability to rapidly consolidate engineered powders into large-scale composite materials that can have real-world uses. Other opportunities include enhancing the properties of solid billet by grain refinement.