The Center for Friction Stir Processing (CFSP) is a graduated National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC). Center universities collaborate with industry partners through projects sponsored and guided by our industry partners to advance the science and technology of Friction Stir Processing (FSP) for industrial applications.
Since its formation in 2004, the CFSP has become an internationally recognized center of excellence for all things friction stir welding and processing (FSW&P), including friction stir spot welding (FSSW) and its variant. The Center brings together internationally recognized university researchers from the University of North Texas, University of South Carolina, Brigham Young University, and Wichita State University.
The Mission of the Center for Friction Stir Processing is to advance the state-of-the-art of friction stir processing (FSP) and facilitate accelerated industrial application of this technology.
The Center accomplishes this mission by:
Developing and performing research into the principles and technology of Friction Stir Processing.
Increasing the quantity and quality of the professionals prepared to work in the area.
Promoting exchange of people, knowledge, and technology among academic, industry and government entities.
Performing research that will allow Friction Stir Processing facilities to be competitive in the world economy.
Synthesizing and disseminating knowledge about process fundamentals.
Friction stir welding and processing and their variants have many potential aerospace applications. Research in rivet replacement, repair of aging aircraft, fabricated structures, and tooling for assembled structures is undertaken to support the increased adoption of FSW&P by aerospace companies.
Friction stir spot welding shows promise as a joining technology for aluminum sheets used in automotive applications to reduce weight and increase fuel economy. Work at the center is aimed at improving the speed of the process while reducing forces and maintaining high material properties. Novel tool designs and welding parameters are being developed.
As an outcome of conducting numerous projects, a database of process data and corresponding joint properties has been developed. This database provides holds potential for preparing pWPS documents for initial process development trials. Center faculty, staff, fellows and students utilized appropriate process and properties information when working with members companies to develop processes for new applications.
FSW&P Tool Design and Evaluation
Center research in designing and evaluating novel FSW tools has led to reduced process forces, improved process stability, and increased performance in FSP. Work continues to identify optimal tools for specific applications.
High Melting Temperatures Materials
Special challenges are found in FSW of materials with melting points above 1000 C. Center research has focused on methods for successfully welding stainless steels, high-strength-low-alloy steels, pipeline steels, titanium, nickel-based superalloys, and copper. Applications include nuclear reactor repair, shipbuilding, pipeline construction, aircraft engines, and nuclear waste storage.
Manufacturing Tools & Fixtures
Design for manufacturability (DFM) for FSW&P necessarily involves tooling and fixtures required to hold work pieces during these processes. For successful and consistent outcomes, thermal management and process forces is taken into account when designing these essential components in each manufacturing process.
The material microstructure is improved by friction stir processing. Studies in improving microstructure include investigations of fatigue life improvement, in-situ MMC composite manufacturing, repair of casting defects, and the development of strain-active materials.
Process Control and Inspection
In-process control and monitoring techniques, as well as post-process non-destructive analysis techniques are being developed and evaluated for their capabilities to detect process defects. Probability of detection charts have been developed, and in-process techniques have been demonstrated to be as effective as post-weld NDE in detecting volumetric defects.
Increasing the fundamental understanding of the friction stir process is vital to improving the process. Experimental and analytical studies aimed at better understanding the physics of the process and predicting process operation, as well as improving the range of acceptable process parameters, are carried out in the center.
The CFSP is active in providing research opportunities for graduate students, undergraduate students, and secondary school teachers.
In addition, Site personnel offer short courses in FSW&P and related technologies at their respective universities, at professional conferences, and/or in other venues such as corporate sites as requested. Use the contact information links to learn more or to request training and education services.
Facilities and Laboratory
Center facilities include a wide range of friction stir processing equipment, with work envelopes up to several meters long. Plunge spot welding, swept spot welding, refill spot welding, linear welding, and robotic welding equipment are available at various sites.
In addition to processing equipment, testing and support equipment are integral to the center. High-speed video, data acquisition, and in-process monitoring equipment are used to track the process during operation. Metallographic equipment, low- and high-speed materials testing systems, dynamic test systems, and fatigue testers are used to evaluate the properties of the processed materials. High-resolution transmission and scanning electron microscopes are used to understand the microstructural characteristics of the resulting welds. The total capital equipment value supporting center activities is in excess of five million dollars.