Impulse Manufacturing Laboratory
About Our Research
Lightweight structures are the key to achieving energy savings needed for environmental sustainability. Vehicles of tomorrow will have a high percentage of multi-material joints and composites. The primary focus of the Professor Glenn Daehn's group has been on applications of vaporized foil actuators (VFAs), but also includes electromagnetically driven metalworking and pulsed laser impact welding. With these technologies lies the possibility to create strong, lightweight structures and energy-efficient, multi-material vehicles.
Impulse-based metalworking describes a wide range of processes that are fundamentally different than the metalworking processes that are commonly used today. Impulse metalworking processes typically utilize high pressures and short duration impulses that can be adapted to form, cut, join, weld, and emboss metals using lighter and more agile equipment.
Why use impulse metalworking?
The fundamental nature of the short time-scale impulse also brings with it significant advantages. Increased forming limits have been observed in samples formed using high-speed impulse techniques as compared to quasi-static counterparts. Parts formed using this process also tend to have reduced springback and less wrinkling. Shearing at high speeds has also demonstrated reduced sliver formation and higher dimensional tolerance. Perhaps the most unique and exciting aspects of impulse metalworking are realized with impact welding. Impact welding is a solid-state process that utilizes a high-speed collision to join metal components without simply melting the interface. A natural benefit to in impact welding is a strong weld region with no heat affected zones. In our tests, the welds are so strong that the samples fail in the parent material before the weld will break. Because the melting point of the materials is no longer a primary concern, many dissimilar metal combinations can be welded that are not possible using conventional techniques.