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30-08-2017 | Lightweight Design | News | Article

Hybrid Compound Forging Joins Aluminium Parts and Steel Sheets

Author:
Nadine Winkelmann

Researchers at the IPH have developed the joining process of hybrid compound forging. This method is intended to produce a material bond between solid aluminium parts and steel sheets during the forming process, without an additional joining step.

The IPH and the Institute of Welding and Machining (ISAF) at the Clausthal University of Technology are developing a new forging process for lightweight automotive construction. The scientists intend to join steel sheets and solid aluminium parts with a material bond as early as during the forming process. Previously, the individual components were formed first and only then joined using a process such as stud welding. Hybrid compound forging should eliminate the additional joining step and thereby contribute to faster, more economical production of lightweight parts.

Hybrid compound forging is the first process to combine two lightweight construction approaches, namely joining sheets and solid parts using a material bond and employing different materials with differing properties – lightweight aluminium and high-strength steel, for example.

"Hybrid compound forging" research project

Scientists in the "hybrid compound forging" research project are therefore examining the conditions for a successful forging process, i.e. the temperature, pressure and speed at which the two components must be formed and joined. The scientists are also determining the sheet thickness values and stud shapes for which the process is suitable. They are also examining the loads that the joining zone can withstand and the extent to which the hybrid component can be processed after joining. The project uses a material bond with zinc as the solder, because this simultaneously offers advantages related to contact corrosion in the steel-aluminium material combination.

In future, hybrid compound forging could be employed to manufacture components such as side members, tail light mounts and cargo tie-down rings for the automotive and aviation industries. 

The project is being sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

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