skip to main content


Title: Development of Friction Stir Welding Technologies for In-Space Manufacturing

Friction stir welding (FSW) has emerged as an attractive process for fabricating aerospace vehicles. Current FSW state-of-the-art uses large machines that are not portable. However, there is a growing need for fabrication and repair operations associated with in-space manufacturing. This need stems from a desire for prolonged missions and travel beyond low-earth orbit. To address this need, research and development is presented regarding two enabling technologies. The first is a self-adjusting and aligning (SAA) FSW tool that drastically reduces the axial force that has historically been quite large. The SAA-FSW tool is a bobbin style tool that floats freely, without any external actuators, along its vertical axis to adjust and align with the workpiece s position and orientation. Successful butt welding of 1/8 in. (3.175 mm) thick aluminum 1100 was achieved in conjunction with a drastic reduction and near elimination of the axial process force. Along with the SAA-FSW, an innovative in-process monitor technique is presented in which a magnetoelastic force rate-of-change sensor is employed. The sensor consists of a magnetized FSW tool that is used to induce a voltage in a coil surrounding the tool when changes to the process forces occur. The sensor was able to detect 1/16more » in. (1.5875 mm) diameter voids. It is concluded that these technologies could be applied toward the development of a portable FSW machine for use in space.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [4] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Austin Peay State Univ. Clarksville, TN (United States)
  2. Schlumberger, Houston, TX (United States)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  4. Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 90; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0268-3768
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
42 ENGINEERING; Friction stir welding; In-space manufacturing; Process monitoring; Automation and control
OSTI Identifier: