Friction stir processing research center created

October 06, 2004

South Dakota Tech and its partners announced the National Science Foundation Friction Stir Processing Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) during an event held Wednesday, Oct. 6, in Rapid City, S.D.

Tech has joined with Brigham Young University, the University of South Carolina, the University of Missouri- Rolla and more than 18 industry partners to create the first NSF I/UCRC and national research center to focus on friction stir processing.

The Center will address the needs of the aerospace, aeronautic, energy, military and commercial industries in developing the rapidly growing friction stir processing technology. Industry partners will bring projects to the participating universities, where researchers, students and other experts will work to solve the problems and advance the technology.

"This is an incredible opportunity for South Dakota Tech and all our partners," Tech President Dr. Charles Ruch said. "Friction stir processing is an important technology that will change the way industry builds products we use every day. This partnership also will give students hands-on experiences that will give them a huge advantage as they enter the workforce."

The technologies developed under the I/UCRC will be integrated into the academic curriculum at each participating institution.

Tech is the lead institution for the Center. USC and BYU are the two participating site universities, while Missouri-Rolla is expected to become a full member next year.

Friction Stir processing is a revolutionary solid-state joining technology patented by The Welding Institute in 1991. It has seen an explosive growth in research, development, and application over the last decade. Materials joined using the technology have shown higher strengths, fewer defects, lower residual stress and less distortion than is found with conventional welding methods.

Friction Stir Processing has received increased interest as a rivet replacement technology and as a way to improve properties of metals.

"The broader impacts on the community are strongly built into the Center activities through university, local, regional, national and international participation," Bill Arbegast, Center Director, said. Arbegast also is the Director of the Advanced Materials Processing and Joining Laboratory at Tech. "Several teaming arrangements are being established between the participating universities and local tribal colleges and community technical schools for the purpose of technology transfer and collaborative educational opportunities. Our current industrial membership consists of 18 industries from the United States, Germany and Japan, with more companies expressing interest."

According to the National Science Foundation, the I/UCRC program is influencing positive change in the performance capacity of U.S. industries. During the past two decades, the I/UCRCs have led the way to a new era of partnership between universities and industry, featuring high-quality, industrially relevant fundamental research, strong industrial support of and collaboration in research and education, and direct transfer of university developed ideas, research results, and technology to U.S. industry to improve its competitive posture in world markets.

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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