New Impact Welding Technology to be Showcased in Detroit

A new impact welding system developed at Ohio State University in Columbus is being showcased in Detroit.
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Applied Impulse Inc.'s impact welding system
LIFT is partnering with Applied Impulse Inc. of Columbus to place a “revolutionary impact welding system” at its Detroit facility for project work and demonstrations. // Photo courtesy of Applied Impulse Inc.

A new impact welding system developed at Ohio State University in Columbus is being showcased in Detroit.

LIFT, the Detroit-based Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute, is partnering with Applied Impulse Inc. of Columbus to place a “revolutionary impact welding system” at the institute’s Detroit facility for project work and demonstrations.

The system, developed by LIFT member Applied Impulse, resulted from decades of research and development at Ohio State’s college of Materials Science and Engineering. It employs a new method of welding dissimilar alloys while generating little to no heat, eliminating any “heat-affected zone,” unlike traditional joining methods such as welding by melting.

“One of the biggest challenges in manufacturing, specifically around lightweighting, is joining dissimilar materials, such as aluminum and steel,” says Glenn Daehn, CEO of Applied Impulse. “From a technical point of view, we believe impact welding is usually the absolute best way to join dissimilar metals because the bond created is as strong as the base metals and has none of the issues associated with heating and melting, such as softening, intermetallic formation, and thermal distortion.”

The joining system uses high voltage to vaporize a thin foil that creates a gas that propels one material into the target material at a very high velocity, joining the materials upon impact. The new joint meets or exceeds the strength of both base materials, resulting in a very high integrity joint.

“Joining dissimilar materials has been a challenge for decades as manufacturers, particularly automakers, have tried to lightweight their vehicles,” says Hadrian Rori, chief technology officer at LIFT. “We are thrilled to have this multi-material joining system in our facility as we continue to explore smarter ways to manufacture cars, trucks, airplanes with stronger and lighter materials.”

Along with multi-material joining, LIFT’s technology focus areas include integrated computational materials engineering and computational engineering; advanced alloy and process development; and applications of additive (3-D printing), metamorphic, and future manufacturing.

“Our mission is to drive American manufacturing into the future by connecting materials, processes, and systems to showcase the future of manufacturing,” says Nigel Francis, CEO and executive director of LIFT. “Small companies like Applied Impulse, and its unique technology, are at the center of that future and we are proud to partner with them to showcase it.”

LIFT is a public-private partnership between government, industry, and academia focused on technology and talent development in support of the U.S. industrial and defense manufacturing bases.

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