NASA Studying Delphi Welding Technology

Delphi Corp., the Michigan Research Institute (MRI) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have entered into a research project to study the use of Delphi's Deformation Resistance Welding (DRW) in the construction and repair of stationary objects.

As part of the project, Delphi will receive a $1.3 million grant to further develop Deformation Resistance Welding (DRW) and test its usefulness for welding different types of metals together in various configurations including tube to sheet and tube to tube.

The test results and process capabilities about the welding technology will be supplied to NASA, which will use the information to understand how DRW could be used to weld different types of metal structures on Earth and in space. Once the testing is complete and a research database developed, NASA could eventually use DRW to weld structures on the moon and Mars, if the in- space power required to accomplish the welds is small.

"This grant will allow Delphi to study how DRW can be used in stationary structures with multiple geometries and dissimilar materials such as those NASA might use on the moon or Mars," said Tim Forbes, director, new markets, commercialization and licensing for Delphi Corp.

DRW is a resistance welding method developed to join metal tubes to solids, sheet metal and other tubes. The process atomically bonds metals and creates solid-state joints through the heating and deformation of the mating surfaces. DRW creates leak-tight joints capable of holding fluids or gases under pressure and heat, which can have strength exceeding that of the parent metals.

The DRW process, which was developed by Delphi's Energy and Chassis division, can reduce the cycle time and cost it takes to make a variety of structures using hollow members in transportation, stationary and fluid handling applications. The improved resistance welding method increases design flexibility while helping to cut cost, investment and part weight. In early studies DRW has demonstrated improved quality over conventional welding methods and novel joining capabilities.

Delphi worked with the MRI to obtain the grant, which will be used to help develop new weld joint design configurations and to equip a laboratory with technicians to test DRW on the different types of metals including steel-to- steel, aluminum to steel and others applications. MRI is a not for profit organization created to speed the development of emerging technologies in the Life Sciences through collaborative programs in education, research and development and new company creation.

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