Harsha J. Phukan of Rolla, Mo., a graduate student in manufacturing engineering, received the Best Student Poster Paper award from the 2005 American Society for Nondestructive Testing conference in Columbus, Ohio, for his research into detecting defects in friction-stir welds.
The award was based on the manuscript of the paper as well as the poster and presentation by Phukan, who completed his research under the guidance of Dr. Von Richards, the Robert V. Wolf Professor of Metals Casting in the material science and engineering department at UMR.
In friction-stir welding, aluminum alloys or other difficult-to-weld metals are joined by using a rotating tool that moves along the joining area. Localized heat is generated by friction between the tool and the work piece.
Phukan used low-frequency eddy current — a current that moves through the core in circular paths — to detect defects in the welds.
“Our findings are based on laboratory conditions, where friction-stir weld samples were generated with preset gaps of known width between the weld joints,” Phukan adds. “More work needs to be done for real-time applications; however, I envision applications in the aerospace industry in the future.”
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