Metal joining is a controlled process used to fuse metals. There are several techniques of metal joining of which friction stir welding is one of the more basic forms. Friction stir welding is an innovative weld process that continues to grow in use, in the commercial, defense, and space sectors. It produces high quality and high strength welds in aluminum alloys. The process consists of a rotating weld pin tool that plasticizes material through friction. The plasticized material is welded by applying a high weld forge force through the weld pin tool against the material during pin tool rotation. Self-reacting friction stir welding (SR-FSW) is one variation of the FSW process developed at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for use in the fabrication of propellant tanks and other areas used on the Space Launch System (SLS)
NASA's SLS is an advanced, heavy-lift launch vehicle which will provide an entirely new capability for science and human exploration beyond Earth's orbit. The SLS will give the nation a safe, affordable and sustainable means of reaching beyond our current limits and open new doors of discovery from the unique vantage point of space.