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New Energy-Efficient Technique to Weld Aluminium and Steel

After ten whole years of research, Ohio State University {OSH} engineers have developed a new welding technique that adheres lighter metals such as aluminium to heavier metals like steel.

The problem is that the welding process generates high heat and this weakens the lighter metals, producing less strong weld.

According to OSH, the new welding technique solves this problem, while using 80% less energy and creating bonds which are 50% stronger.

“With our method, materials are shaped and bonded together at the same time, and they actually get stronger,” says Glenn Daehn, professor of materials science and engineering at Ohio State, who helped develop the new technique.

Spot resistant welding, the traditional technique, works by passing an electrical current through pieces of using, sing the natural electrical resistance within these metals. This creates heat, which melts them together to form a weld. As mentioned earlier, this process uses much energy and the metals are weaker than they were to begin with.

Deahn and his team have come up with vaporised foil actuator {VFA}, using short high voltage electrical pulses, which are passed through an aluminium foil and a burst of hot gas travelling at high speed to bond the atoms of one metal to atoms on the other. These two bonded metals do not melt, meaning neither is weakend and the seam is stronger. Due to the electrical pulse being short and the energy needed to vaporise the foil is less than necessary to melt the parts together in the traditional technique, meaning energy is saved with the new process.