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Linear Friction Welding

Linear Friction Welding is a solid-state process in which one part moves in a linear motion at high speed and is pressed against another part held stationary. The resulting friction heats the parts, causing them to forge together.

Advantages and Benefits

Linear Friction Welding provides a rapid, repeatable, and flexible fabrication process for manufacturers in many industrial markets who produce parts with a variety of geometric shapes. Here are some reasons why:

  • Superior joint quality
    The properties of any friction welded joint, including linear, are superior to traditional fusion based welded methods since the friction welding process does not actually melt the parent material. Melting causes a drastic change in a material’s properties in the weld zone. Friction welding is a “Solid State” process. The heat-affected zone (HAZ) of a friction welded joint is narrow and fine grained with a smooth transition to the unaffected base material. You can Learn more here

  • Forged-quality welds for complex geometries of nearly any metal type
    Able to join a nearly limitless number of shapes and complex part geometries, Linear Friction Welding joints are of forged-quality, with a 100-percent butt joint weld through the contact area. Linear Friction Welding can join dissimilar metals not considered compatible using conventional welding methods. This allows engineers to design bimetallic parts and near net shape parts that use expensive materials only where needed.

  • Quick welding process meets the demands of any supply chain
    The Linear Friction Welding process is at least twice – and up to 100 times – as fast as other welding techniques. Multiple pieces can be bonded simultaneously, helping to reduce cycle time.

  • Eliminate block machining with “near net shape” joining
    Using Linear Friction Welding to join near net shape parts with geometries designed to use expensive material only where needed provides a faster, much less expensive alternative to machining parts from solid blocks.

  • Minimal joint preparation reduces prep time and speeds up production
    Joint preparation isn’t as critical in the Linear Friction Welding process – machined, saw-cut, and even sheared surfaces are weldable. Less joint preparation also lowers overall cycle time, allowing greater throughput in a production process.

  • Ecologically friendly
    Linear Friction Welding is an ecologically clean process that requires no consumables, flux, filler material, or shielding gases to run, like conventional welding methods. It also does not emit smoke, fumes, or gases that need to be exhausted on the back end.

  • Energy efficient
    The process is energy efficient. Power requirements for MTI’s Linear Friction Welders are as much as 20 percent lower than those for conventional welding processes.

  • Defect-free welding decreases waste and saves you money
    MTI’s machine-controlled process eliminates human error, making the bond quality completely independent of an operator’s skill level. By reducing the number of defective parts fabricated, your investment of time and materials is put to its best use. Since there is no melting, solidification defects don’t occur in Linear Friction Welding, thus virtually eliminating gas porosity, segregation, or slag inclusions.

  • Scalable welding sizes for any magnitude of applications
    The size of an MTI Linear Friction Welder is limited only by the amount of mass that can be moved under servo-hydraulic power. The actual welding process is completely scalable to produce any size weld.

Process Overview

Friction Welding is more of a forging process than an actual welding process. Linear Friction Welding is simply about using force and linear motion to create a bond between two pieces. Key aspects of the process include:

  • 1One piece is held stationary while the other piece moves in a linear or lateral motion, also known as oscillation.
  • 2The lateral motion used in Linear Friction Welding eliminates the need for a symmetrical part, so the linear process may be used to join more complex part geometries.
  • 3The two parts’ surfaces are brought together to scrub each other under a forge force and a high oscillation frequency (high speed) to create friction that pre-heats the weld surface.
  • 4The friction creates heat throughout the weld surfaces until the material becomes plasticized, but does not melt.
  • 5The forge force then upsets (displaces) the plasticized material along the weld surface as bonding occurs, and the two parts become one. The oscillation is stopped and the weld is complete.
  • 6This complete cycle only takes a matter of seconds, which is why linear friction weld times are very quick no matter the size of the component. The result is a part with a 100 percent bond and a joint of forged quality.

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Machine Talk
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Whiteboard Wednesday: Linear Friction Welding
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In the latest installment of MTI’s Whiteboard Wednesday video series, Dan Adams explains the Linear Friction Welding process and its applications.

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Can Your Materials Be Forged?

The simple rule of thumb is this: If you can forge it, you can friction-weld it.

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