Metal and Steel Friction Welding Concepts, Part 1

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Metal and Steel Friction Welding Concepts, Part 1

metal steel friction welding

When most of us think about welding for metals, we naturally visualize metals being combined through melting via heat or gas. One lesser-known format that’s still often utilized within metal welding, however, is known as friction welding, which uses pressure and velocity instead of melting to join materials.

At Wasatch Steel, we’re proud to offer not only a wide variety of quality steel products, from steel tubing to steel bar, steel sheet and many others, but also expertise on a variety of steel services or processes that might be used on our products and how they will affect them. Our pros will offer several valuable tips when about arc welding, stick welding or even friction welding – this two-part blog series will go over what this is, the types available and why friction welding is often beneficial.

Friction Welding Basics and Metal Uses

Friction welding is one of a few different solid-state welding processes, and one that can be used both on metals and certain other materials. The term “solid-state” means that no melting is used to join the two metals together during the process.

Friction welding is a versatile method, one that applies to several metal types – even some that other welding formats will not work for. In cases where weld joints are not similar, which often derails other welding needs, friction welding is often a solution due to the lack of fusion required. For this reason, the list of metals where this form of welding is used is extensive:

Types of Friction Welding

Generally speaking, there are three types of friction welding available:

  • Rotary friction welding: A process where at least one of the metals involved must be round, and will be rotated through a holding device. This device rotates at a very high speed, allowing the metals being joined to contact each other under pressure. The combination of speed and pressure creates heat, which welds the two materials together. Once this is done, the joint is set to cool while the pressure is removed.
  • Linear friction welding: Similar to rotary welding, but does not require either part to be round. Rather than a rotary motion, a rapid oscillation method is used to force the parts together, then stopped to allow for cooling.
  • Friction stir welding: A different process that uses a specialized, non-consumable tool to create velocity and pressure. The tool spins quickly and then is plunged into the weld joint, bringing pressure and velocity as it moves along the weld joint and combines the materials. A variation here is known as friction stir spot welding, which involves the tool rotating in a single spot while the material is moved around it, rather than vice versa.

For more on friction welding and the benefits it holds, or to learn about any of our steel products or services, speak to the staff at Wasatch Steel today.