Friction stud welding might not mean much to people who aren’t in industrial businesses, but the technology is something everyone should be able to appreciate. This modern marvel uses pressure to bond materials in a truly unique way.
The Science of Friction Stud Welding
Friction stud welding is a method unlike any other. Instead of using external heat from electricity, the bond between the materials is formed entirely by friction. The stud is forced against the parent material carefully. More pressure is applied as the stud is rotated at a high speed. The rubbing of the two surfaces causes extreme heat due to friction (hence the name).
The heat is so great that the metals melt and flow. The rotation forces out any surface impurities or other unwanted materials, making the weld clean. The molten metals bond with each other. Rotation is stopped and the weld is completed.
Friction Stud Welding Applications
Friction stud welding is much more costly than arc stud welding. Not only is it more difficult, but it’s also more time consuming. Arc stud welding happens in a matter of milliseconds, but friction stud welding can take several seconds or even minutes to complete.
Although it is trickier, friction stud welding is better suited to certain applications than other types of welding. Arc welding can present problems in certain cases, especially due to the heat and potential for open flames. The presence of electricity can be an issue, as well. As a result, friction stud welding is used in many different cases, including:
- Underwater welding. Electricity cannot be used underwater, yet many items cannot be removed from the ocean for repairs (such as the supports of a permanent oil rig). Friction stud welding is perfect for this application, since it works equally well underwater without additional dangers. Subsea pipelines are another particular example. They can be kept live during the process.
- Volatile environments. There are many areas where an open flame or a current of electricity would be dangerous. Any place with explosive gas or certain zoning restrictions is another great candidate for friction stud welding. The bond is made without any open flame or spark, making it much safer in these areas.
- Materials which are difficult to join. Some metals are hard to bond in traditional fusion welding methods. Friction welding creates incredible pressure, making it easier to create a full joint between these kinds of metals.
Significance of Friction Stud Welding
Each type of welding offers its own advantages and disadvantages. Friction stud welding is useful because it forms bonds at relatively low temperatures, making it safe for sensitive applications and conditions. It also avoids many arc welding problems, like weld contamination. There is no electric current or liquid phase, meaning there is no additional hydrogen, nitrogen, or oxygen. This means cleaner and highly dependable welds.
Friction stud welding also offers a finer weld structure. This is because the cooling time is rapid and the application itself fosters a tighter connection. Friction welding might not be the most cost effective method, but in some cases it is necessary. Friction stud welding without doubt is a fascinating style of welding.