Dr. Paul Colegrove - Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedfordshire, UK
Patented in 1991, Friction Stir Welding (FSW) has since been used widely to create strong joints in aluminum alloys. The aircraft industry has started to adapt this technology, and now the largest manufacturers-including Airbus-are studying how to cut manufacturing costs with it.
Airbus asked several investigations to study FSW. Dr. Paul Colegrove of Cranfield University looked at modeling to help the group fully understand the process before manufacturers made massive investments in retooling their manufacturing lines. Among other requirements, the model had to couple a 3D thermal analysis to 2D axisymmetric swirl flow.
He also designed a simplified interface for process engineers to quickly access so as to determine weld harnesses according to a number of different parameters.