In today’s modern world there are many different welding techniques to join metals. They range from the conventional oxyacetylene torch welding to laser welding. The two general categories in which all the types of welding can be divided is fusion welding and solid state welding.
The fusion welding process involves chemical bonding of the metal in the molten stage and may need a filler material such as a consumable electrode or a spool of wire of the filler material, the process may also need a inert ambience in order to avoid oxidation of the molten metal, this could be achieved by a flux material or a inert gas shield in the weld zone, there could be need for adequate surface preparations, examples of fusion welding are metal inert gas welding (MIG), tungsten inert gas welding (TIG) and laser welding. There are many disadvantages in the welding techniques where the metal is heated to its melting temperatures and let it solidify to form the joint. The melting and solidification causes the mechanical properties of the weld to deteriorate such as low tensile strength, fatigue strength and ductility. The disadvantages also include porosity, oxidation, microsegregation, hot cracking and other microstructural defects in the joint. The process also limits the combination of the metals that can be joined because of the different thermal coefficients of conductivity and expansion of different metals.
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The solid state welding is the process where coalescence is produced at temperatures below the melting temperatures of the base metal with out any need for the filler material or any inert ambience because the metal does not reach its melting temperature for the oxidation to occur, examples of solid state welding are friction welding, explosion welding, forge welding, hot pressure welding and ultrasonic welding. The three important parameters time, temperature and pressure individually or in combinations produce the joint in the base metal. As the metal in solid state welding does not reach its melting temperatures so there are fewer defects caused due to the melting and solidification of the metal. In solid state welding the metals being joined retain their original properties as melting does not occur in the joint and the heat affected zone (HAZ) is also very small compared to fusion welding techniques where most of the deterioration of the strengths and ductility begins. Dissimilar metals can be joined with ease as the thermal expansion coefficients and the thermal conductivity coefficients are less important as compared to fusion welding.
Friction stir welding (FSW) is an upgraded version of friction welding. The conventional friction welding is done by moving the parts to be joined relative to each other along a common interface also applying compressive forces across the joint. The frictional heat generated at the interface due to rubbing softens the metal and the soft metal gets extruded due to the compressive forces and the joint forms in the clear material,
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