Publication Details

Ahmad, A., Li, H., Pan, Z., Cuiuri, D., Van Duin, S., Larkin, N., Polden, J. & Lane, N. (2014). Feasibility study of low force robotic friction stir process and its effect on cavitation erosion and electrochemical corrosion for Ni Al bronze alloys. Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B: Process Metallurgy and Materials Processing Science, 45 (6), 2291-2298.


Robotic friction stir processing (FSP) has not been widely researched to date. This is perhaps due to the limited force capabilities of industrial robots in comparison with dedicated commercial FSP equipment. When operating a FSP machine, the force used to plunge the tools may range from 5000 to 8000 N which is currently beyond the capability of most robots. However, the capacity of robotic manipulators is increasing, so low force friction stir processing is becoming feasible. The ability of the robot arm to apply a controlled force that is normal to a 3-dimensional surface without the need to reorient the workpiece makes it a very useful tool for FSP of complex components. In this analysis, a robot arm with a capacity of 2500 N is used to improve the surface properties of nickel aluminum bronze (NAB) using low force FSP. Multiple passes were applied to the surface of the test sample for a more consistent spread of the stir zone. The sample was then microhardness tested and demonstrated a 62 pct increase in surface hardness. Cavitation erosion testing of the original and processed surfaces was also performed as per ASTM G-32. The erosion rate of the processed NAB sample was 44 pct of the rate experienced by the original cast NAB sample. Finally, the corrosion potentials of FSP NAB were measured at 45 mV less anodic than the unprocessed material, indicating that the processed material is more noble relative to the cast NAB sample.



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