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FABTECH 2019 – Nano Technology for the Welding of Previously Unweldable High Strength Aluminum Alloys

FABTECH 2019, North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing, was held on November 11-14 in Chicago, Illinois. The event achieved record attendance, with a total of 48,278 attendees from 95 countries over the course of four days.

During FABTECH, Light Metal Age spoke with Prof. Xiaochun Li, founder of MetaLi, about the company’s groundbreaking aluminum welding wire, which utilizes nano technology to enable the welding of previously unweldable high strength 7000 and 2000 aluminum alloys.

First developed by a team of engineers led by Li at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, the technology involves infusing titanium carbide nanoparticles (particles so small that they’re measured in units equal to one billionth of a meter) into the 7075 welding wires, which are used as filler material between the aluminum pieces being joined. In this way researchers were said to be able to produce welded joints with a tensile strength of 392 MPa on 7075 alloy parts.

MetaLi is a new company founded in 2016, with the aim of introducing this new technology to the industry, starting with the sale of high strength aluminum welding wire — with additive manufacturing powders to follow in the near future. According to Li, this technology is not only revolutionary for the production of aluminum alloys, but for the metals and other materials industries in general.

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