Fiction welding is an advanced type of welding used by many top industries.
As the name suggests, Friction welding is a process that welds metal using friction. There is no external heat used or applied like traditional welding methods.
Traditional welding uses fusion welding, but friction welding is a solid-state weld process. The result is a strong joint like the parent metal.
The main reason for friction welding to be popular is the effectiveness and durability.
While regular welding welds just the edges, the bond is not that strong compared to the friction welding that bonds both the pieces truly by fusing them.
The result is an extra-strong heavy-duty part that can withstand robust and tough usage.
You can even weld dissimilar materials like copper and aluminum welding, aluminum and stainless steel welding, titanium and aluminum welding, carbon steel welding, and stainless steel welding, and so on.
Friction Welding Process
Phase One: Settling And Contact
Two pieces that one wants to weld are attached to the machine.
The machines need to be attached correctly so that the metals are correctly facing each other.
If both the pieces are not settled correctly, the result will not be clean, and the piece would be of no use.
A setting is done where only one metal piece rotates with speed while the other metal piece is pushed continuously against the rotating element.
Phase Two: Actual Friction Process
As the machine starts working, both the metal’s contact surfaces begin to heat because of the rotating motion and the constant pressure.
After heating considerably, the metals start to fuse without any third or extra element added to the welding process.
Phase Three: Forging Process
Once the rotation is stopped, the pressure is increased again.
Pressurizing again helps the plasticized material to join firmly with the other piece.
Phase Four: Cooling And Grinding Process
The fused material gets cooled. After the cooling process, grinding is the natural step to remove the extra metal that might have come out.
Grinding makes the metal look polished and hides the welding process’s imperfections.
Types Of Friction Welding
Rotary Friction Welding
One metal piece is rotated over the second metal surface in this method. A compressive axial force is used in this type of welding.
Linear Friction Welding
The linear friction process uses an oscillating motion of one metal rather than rotation.
The rest of the compression procedure and steps remain the same, but one metal piece changes.
Friction Stir Welding
This welding method is slightly different from standard friction welding.
Wayne Thomas invented friction stir welding in 1990 at the Welding Institute in Cambridge, UK.
This method uses a specially designed tool with a profiled pin and cylindrical shoulder for welding.
The end part of the device, i.e., the pin, drives itself along the edges of the two metal pieces until the upper part is at the level of the metal’s surface.
After settling inside the machine, the tool rotates to soften the seam. The pointed pin is then moved linearly through the soft seam, thus creating a bond.
Types Of Joints
The friction industry has six basic types of joints that one can perform from friction welding:
- Tube To Tube: The whole piece is tubular with an equal diameter outside and a similar diameter.
- Tube To Disk: It is tubular with unequal outside diameter and equal inside diameter.
- Tube To Bar: This type is again tubular with equal diameter outside and inside.
- Tube To Plate: Tit is tubular but has an unequal outside diameter and unequal inside diameter.
- Bar To Plate: It is solid and has unequal diameters.
- Bar To Bar: This is solid with equal diameters.
Although these types work correctly, it is recommended to use matching balanced geometry welds. For example. Bar to bar, Tube to Tube, Plate to Plate.
Friction Welding Applications
This type of welding is ideal for big enterprises as the machine’s cost can be easily balanced with the production speed and less labor cost.
The device’s versatility makes it easier to attach different types of products and even metals simultaneously with few little adjustments.
Even smaller parts are easily made, saving a considerable amount of the company’s time.
Because of the widespread practical application, friction welding has become a somewhat staple in the industry. Some of the industry that uses this method is:
Aviation And Space Industry
They use friction welding for combustion chambers, repulsion jets, spindles, rotors, pipes, fittings, flanges, and much more.
Spare Part And Machine Production Industry
Hydraulic cylinders, piston rods, cogwheels, crankshafts, drill bits, valves are made through this process.
Work Set Industry
Milling cutters, spiral drills, borers, reamers, and cutting tools are joined and made.
Apart from these industries, friction welding is also used for making brake spindles, electrical connectors, continuous solder tops, and so on.
Friction Welding Pros
- Surfaces do not need to be treated thoroughly before the welding process. This can save a lot of time if the amount of units is a lot.
- Like traditional welding, there are no harmful flames that can harm your body or cause breathing problems.
- It is a perfect method to join dissimilar metals. Any two types of metals can get weld as quickly as welding two same metals.
- It gives superior strength so the end product can last longer and work without worrying about breaking.
- It is quicker than manual welding, thus beneficial for high volume production.
- There is less material loss during forging and friction, so it is an economically good alternative for more significant projects and companies.
Friction Welding Cons
- Friction welding can only be used for the same cross-sections of the metals.
- The setup cost is very high, so only big industries can use it. It can be a pretty expensive investment if the production volume is low.
- The joint design is limited, so pieces with complex or intricate welding cannot be weld with friction welding.
- Welding is not possible with non-forgeable metals.
Can I Perform Friction Welding At Home?
A simple answer to this is – it depends. Yes, if you have proper basic machinery.
If you have no mechanical devices, you cannot weld at home. We do not recommend buying the expensive professional setup if you are just curious about the process.
But if you want to try or see how friction welding works, you can try doing it with a lathe. Our first instinct was trying it with a high-power drill machine.
The drill bit can give you results but be very careful, and don’t use a wooden block underneath because it might catch on fire, try using insulating firebrick.
The result will not be efficient or reliable, but it shows that a drill machine can work, and it certainly is doable.
Another method is using a lathe which will give you excellent results. If you are a woodturner or metal worker, try using your lathe for friction welding.
Just attach your piece to the chuck and adjust your other piece opposite to the first one. Keep the machine at 1000 RPM in the initial period.
The motion will start the process, and in few minutes, you have your metal piece weld from friction.
If you are practicing or trying for the first time, you will need a lathe and two screws or two small metal pipes roughly the size of screws.
Be careful and test the procedure to see it live.
Friction Welding Education And Career
Companies want talented, skilled welders who can work long hours to provide good quality welding.
As a welder, you will work on projects that require detailing and precision. A welder can work in shipbuilding, aerospace, construction, or the automotive industry.
Welding is a skill-based job, so working for a few years can give you good knowledge, and you can charge accordingly in the future.
Apart from working in the companies, you can even start your workshop and supply your skill to direct clients. You will then get an opportunity to work in whichever sub-sector you like the best.
If your business takes a good turn, you can even buy a big setup of friction welding to maximize your profit. Directindustry.com has a wide selection of frictional welding machines.
Browse to find out what best suits your needs. Owning a workshop can be a big step, so starting with a job can serve you well.
There are many positions open for friction welders.
For learning about the education process mymajors.com has a detailed guide that talks about welding as a potential career choice.
They have mentioned the skills you might require, the education process, schools that offer this major, and the estimated salary package.
We hope that we could solve your curiosity on the topic of friction welding. If you are interested in this topic, welding can be a lucrative career option.