Friction Stir Fabrication – Ships and Shopping

Shalimar, my perfume by Guerlain, arrives on a boat from Paris because of friction stir welding.

Someday, my Shalimar may arrive more cheaply by boat because of Schultz-Creehan’s patent pending Friction Stir Fabrication process.

Nanci Hardwick, CEO of Schultz-Creehan Holdings, Inc., a member company of business accelerator VT KnowledgeWorks, explains:

"The difference between friction stir welding and Friction Stir Fabrication (FSF), patent pending, is this:

Friction stir welding is the joining of two materials at one place, or along one seam. The metals can be dissimilar. It is an alternate method of joining materials when traditional welding will not work or does not yield a strong bond. For example, two plates of metal might sit side by side, and become one piece after they are friction stir welded down the middle.

Friction Stir Fabrication (FSF), patent pending, is the joining of two materials along a continuous plane rather than along one seam. Rather than side by side, the two plates would be stacked (the coating material is not applied as a plate though – instead it is applied to the base metal by a shearing action). After FSF, there would be one plate with two layers. But if you looked at a cross section, you would see the gradient change from layer 1 to layer 2, and no sharp interface between the two layerDscf05151s.

In applications where coatings are important and there aren’t good ways to keep the materials together (especially when they are in water) we see FSF used to apply anti-corrosive coatings (so your ship won’t sink!)."

Ah!  Boats that resist corroding not only don’t sink as often, but need fewer repairs, thus decreasing overhead, thus decreasing costs to consumers.

What does Friction Stir Fabrication (FSF), patent pending then mean to this writer (and, well, the whole shipping industry)?  More shopping!  If I only spend a little on Shalimar, I can spend a lot on what I love:  silk scarves, shoes, hard cover books, English Breakfast tea.

I wonder if Jeff Schultz, CTO, and Kevin Creehan, President, ever anticipated that combining their materials science and industrial engineering expertise would ever be celebrated by a shopper.

[Added 5/12/08:  Here’s a link to the patent.]

Schultz-Creehan Holdings, Inc., a member company of VT KnowledgeWorks, is a high-tech engineering firm focused on the research and development of innovative solutions for industry. Formed by Dr. Kevin Creehan and Dr. Jeff Schultz in 2004 to address complex product development challenges through expertise in materials science and industrial engineering, Schultz-Creehan develops and manufactures products and processes to serve clients in the aerospace, defense, medical device and industrial markets.

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