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Ionbond Wins Callaborative Research Project for Friction Stir Welding Coatings

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Coating developer Ionbond UK Ltd., in partnership with the Welding Institute Ltd. (TWI) and the Materials and Engineering Research Institute (MERI) at Sheffield Hallam University, has won a collaborative research project supported by Innovate UK to develop coatings for friction stir welding (FSW) tools.

FSW of high-temperature alloys.
Friction stir welding of high-temperature alloys. Courtesy of TWI.

The project will investigate the potential to increase the performance of FSW tools by using advanced coatings deposited by Ionbond’s physical, chemical and plasma-assisted chemical vapor deposition processes. In particular, it will be testing coatings deposited by the latest variant of physical vapor deposition and high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS). MERI is a research leader of HiPIMS coatings and technology, and it will be using the process to deposit innovative new coating materials and structures.

FSW, invented by TWI, is an innovative joining process using a rotating, nonconsumable tool that traverses along the interface of two work-pieces. The process typically provides enhanced weld quality, strength and durability together with reduced energy consumption and environmental impact when compared to conventional fusion welding processes. However, FSW tooling works in a high-temperature environment with high abrasion and exposure to the reactive effects of freshly exposed metal surfaces, limiting its commercial application to low melting point alloys, principally aluminum.

Through the application of advanced coatings, Ionbond hopes to enable the welding of high-temperature materials such as steel and titanium for the high-value industries of aerospace and transport, among others, as well as improve the surface quality of welds in aluminum and other alloys.

Ionbond is a developer and provider of high-performance coating technology. Innovate UK is an executive, nondepartmental public body sponsored by the U.K.’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to promote and drive scientific innovation in the U.K. economy.

Photonics Spectra
May 2017
BusinessindustrialIonbond UKWelding InstituteMaterials and Engineering Research InstituteSheffield Hallam UniversityInnovate UKresearch projectcoatingsEuropeResearch & Technologyaerospacelight speed

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