Nanotech Improving Alloys to Weld
Welding has long been a crucial link in the automotive manufacturing assembly line. Countless professional welders have cut their teeth building out frames for Ford, GM, Chrysler and all the many fine automobile companies that put welders to work. As long as cars take fuel to run, we will try to build them lighter and therefore seek lighter materials to build them out of. From the sturdy steel of the early Ford model frames, to the latest innovations in high-tech aluminum, car makers and consumers benefit from scientific progress in metallurgy. As any welder knows, lighter metals with their variable melting points require using different welding equipment.
NEW ALLOYS WELD NEW POSSIBILITIES
Actually, one light alloy has been around for more than 75 years but hasn’t found its role in automotive manufacturing because of one snag: it’s hard to weld. The reason is quite obvious if you look into the metal this alloy, called AA 7075, is produced from. Crack open your welding 101 textbooks as you read this list of elements: aluminum, zinc, magnesium, and copper. With such a variety in melting points, imagine trying to weld something made from a hodgepodge of these materials. Under the heat of your arc welder, it is going to slip and slide all over your joint or at least produce major instabilities once the resulting weld hardens.
The geniuses over at UCLA’s school of engineers have finally found a solution, resulting in a new horizon for welding alloys. They have succeeded by adding tiny titanium nanoparticles into the mix. The new metal alloy that results forms a usable welding supply that has superhuman strength, too: 392 megapascals vs. the 186 MPa of the popular AA 6061 used in automotive welding today. If the same metal is heated after welding, its strength may even approach that of steel.
WELDING EQUIPMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL RESCUE
Even though this alloy has been in use for decades in airplanes and consumer technology, until this step was reached it could not be used for car frames, since those require welding to put together on the assembly line. The researchers hope that very soon this advanced new alloy, super strong and super light, will revolutionize the efficiency of cars (whether fueled by gas or by electricity). Think how much longer your battery charge will last if your steel frame is swapped out entirely for an aluminum alloy that is just as strong! For now, they are working on using it in welding wire and other simple forms of welding equipment, but expect to have the full use down the line. Stay tuned! To get as close to that bright future as is available today, call Sidney Lee Welding Supply Co for the best deals on welding supplies in Atlanta, GA.