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Technique Can Join “Un-Weldable” Metals

作者:互联网    浏览:225719    发布时间:2015-11-6 8:50:12

Engineersat Ohio State Universityhave developed a welding technique that they say consumes 80% less energy thancommon welding methods, yet creates bonds that are 50% stronger.

 

Thedevelopment could have significant impact for automakers, offering them greaterliberty to design vehicles that combine traditional heavy steel parts withlighter, alternative metals to reduce vehicle weight.

 

Overthe last decade, Glenn Daehn, professor of materials science and engineering atOhio State, and his team have amassed more than half a dozen patents on asystem called vaporized foil actuator (VFA) welding. In VFA, a high-voltagecapacitor bank creates a short electrical pulse inside a thin piece of aluminumfoil. Within microseconds (millionths of a second), the foil vaporizes and aburst of hot gas pushes two pieces of metal together.

 

Thepieces do not melt so there is no seam of weakened metal between them. Instead,the impact bonds the atoms of one metal to atoms of the other.

 

Thetechnique uses less energy because the electrical pulse is so short and becausethe energy required to vaporize the foil is less than what would be required tomelt the metal parts.

 

Thatcontrasts with the commonly used technique known as resistance spot welding, inwhich welders pass a high electrical current through pieces of metal so thatthe metals’ natural electrical resistance generates heat that partially meltsthem together and forms a weld. The drawbacks are that generating high currentsconsumes a lot of energy, and the melted portions of metal are seldom as strongafterward as they were before.

 

Sofar, the Ohio State engineers have successfully bondeddifferent combinations of copper, aluminum, magnesium, iron, nickel andtitanium. They have created bonds between commercial steel and aluminumalloys—a feat that they say is unattainable using spot welding. Also,high-strength steel and aluminum join together with weld regions that arestronger than the base metals.

 

Thetechnique is powerful enough to shape metal parts at the same time it weldsthem together, saving manufacturers a step.

 

Theresearch is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National ScienceFoundation. Daehn and his team now want to join with manufacturers to furtherdevelop the technology, which will be licensed through Ohio State’sTechnology Commercialization Office.