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Development of an interactive process technology database and design guidelines for friction stir welding of lightweight materials


The Interactive Process Technology Database (IPTD) is intended to be a way to instantly supply Friction Stir Welding parameters as well as the mechanical and metallurgical properties these parameters originate. This will reduce substantially the time needed for adjusting the process in an industrial environment. It also provides engineers with a valuable tool for assessing the use of Friction Stir Welding, which ultimately may lead to innovations in industrial design and manufacturing processes. It is also a valuable collection of data that may contribute for increasing the insight into the process. The IPTD is basically an internet-based database. Thus it is always assured that an updated version of the IPTD is available to the users. The IPTD is intended to hold large amounts of data. Since searching through these data can be a tiresome task several searching algorithms have been developed in order to provide the end user the welds that are the most similar to the searching parameters. The IPTD is currently online ( This version is intended for use by the Consortium. Access is only allowed by means of a correct password.
Providing FSW services is an opportunity business in most of the European countries, because there are lots of potential applications and not significant competition. With a reliable FSW system, a joint venture can provide services both for internal and for external clients. The key factor for the success of this action can be the complementary and multidisciplinary know-how of all the aspects of FSW applications, provided by the partners in the join-venture. Considering a FSW system installed at ENM, WITTE would supply flexible fixture systems enabling joining of simple and more complex 3D components and the RTDs would support the work, with GKSS developing process guidelines and reinforcing the FSW capacity of 3D components, ISQ and VUK continuing developing the IPTD for FSW and IST assisting with tool design and parameters based on computational modelling. The company could sell panels for ENM shipbuilding applications, Witte could buy 3D components, Medusa could be interested in FSW for some aluminum alloys parts of their hydraulic machinery and Evektor could weld their components for the aeronautic and automotive industries. Also the RTDs could be interested in buying welded specimens for their R&D activities. The external clients can be train, civil construction or any other industrial activities including light alloys in their products.
The overall structure of FSW Compatible Design Guidelines is based on existing design guidelines for other joining processes. An evaluation of these existing documents has been carried out, in order to select and adopt a suitable structure for the FSW process. A suitable format, having in mind a possible web-based use of these guidelines will also be defined. FSW Compatible Design Guidelines will provide designers in SMEs with a couple of important information concerning a given component configuration, such as: - Possible joint geometries - Expected mechanical properties - Clamping and fixturing requirements - Maximum tolerances (i.e. joint gap, wall thickness, etc.) - Joint preparation and surface cleaning requirements Through interaction with the concepts and results from WP2 and Tasks 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 the required information will be compiled and implemented into the document.
FSW computational model is implemented both via analytical and numerical analysis. The resulting models allow relating operational welding parameters and tool geometry with fundamental aspects about the process, e.g., thermal history, residual stresses, and energy and mechanical efficiency. - Thermal analytical model -- Current Status: Completed -- Main Potential: To establish correlations between the most relevant FSW parameters and the thermal efficiency of the process based on experimental analysis integrated with an analytical model of the thermal field resulting from the FSW, properly validated and where several specificities of the process FSW are included. - Integrated numerical Thermal-Viscous and Thermal-Structural models -- Current Status: Completed -- Envisaged Potential: To know the fundamental mechanisms of the join formation phenomena and thus to be able to develop process parameters, e.g., tool geometry, to improve weld quality and productivity. The model is the result of a rational integration of two commercial numerical softwares, which allow the Computational Fluid Dynamics (FLUENT) analysis in the vicinity of the tool (shoulder and pin), and the Computational Structural Mechanics (ABAQUS) analysis in the non-viscous deformation volume. This model will supply information about the mechanical reactions on the tool resulting from the process and thus contribute for the process guidelines.