An innovation in a welding process could open the door for the U.S. Navy and shipbuilders to construct hulls of marine-grade titanium—a development that would substantially increase strength, decrease vessel weight and eliminate corrosion. The innovation is in friction stir welding, which joins metal with heat created by the high-speed rotation of a spinning pin tool. The pin tool plasticizes—but does not melt—metal, forming a weld as it moves along a joint. Efforts to use it with titanium ...

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