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Record 2 of 6059
Retractable Pin Tools for the Friction Stir Welding Process
NIX Online Source: Click to View Photo/Image
Abstract: Two companies have successfully commercialized a specialized welding tool developed at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). Friction stir welding uses the high rotational speed of a tool and the resulting frictional heat created from contact to crush, 'stir' together, and forge a bond between two metal alloys. It has had a major drawback, reliance on a single-piece pin tool. The pin is slowly plunged into the joint between two materials to be welded and rotated as high speed. At the end of the weld, the single-piece pin tool is retracted and leaves a 'keyhole,' something which is unacceptable when welding cylindrical objects such as drums, pipes and storage tanks. Another drawback is the requirement for different-length pin tools when welding materials of varying thickness. An engineer at the MSFC helped design an automatic retractable pin tool that uses a computer-controlled motor to automatically retract the pin into the shoulder of the tool at the end of the weld, preventing keyholes. This design allows the pin angle and length to be adjusted for changes in material thickness and results in a smooth hole closure at the end of the weld. Benefits of friction stir welding, using the MSFC retractable pin tool technology, include the following: The ability to weld a wide range of alloys, including previously unweldable and composite materials; provision of twice the fatigue resistance of fusion welds and no keyholes; minimization of material distortion; no creation of hazards such as welding fumes, radiation, high voltage, liquid metals, or arcing; automatic retraction of the pin at the end of the weld; and maintaining full penetration of the pin.
Publication Date: Dec 01, 1998
NIX (Document) ID:
(Acquired Oct 19, 2007)
Document Type: Photograph
Publication Information: Marshall Image Exchange (MiX) - NASA MSFC
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Last Modified: October 19, 2007
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