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In-Space Friction Stir Welding Machine

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2013 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Longhurst Engineering, PLC
234 South Ewing Street Guthrie, KY 42234-9208
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2013
Title: In-Space Friction Stir Welding Machine
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX13CM30P
Award Amount: $125,000.00


Longhurst Engineering, PLC, and Vanderbilt University propose an in-space friction stir welding (FSW) machine for joining complex structural aluminum components. The proposed FSW machine is innovative because it can be deployed by 2 people and be used to weld complex surfaces that extend beyond linear welding applications. The in-space FSW machine is a 3 axis system that can be mounted to work pieces of varying geometry, position, and orientation through the use of a high performance vacuum system or mechanical clamps. The key enabler of the proposed FSW machine is a self adjusting and self aligning FSW (SAA-FSW) tool that eliminates the need for automated actuators. In addition, a collection of force reduction techniques will be included as part of the system. When combined together, it is theorized that the effect will be significant and will lead to the advancement of FSW by reducing structural rigidity requirements of FSW machines.Our work plan begins by determining the net effect of the combined force reduction techniques. Substantial effort is given to the development of a preliminary SAA-FSW tool which includes experimental welding. Lastly, a preliminary set of engineering plans will be delivered based upon the results from the development of the SAA-FSW tool and force reduction techniques.

Principal Investigator:

George E. Cook
Associate Dean

Business Contact:

William Longhurst
Business Official
Small Business Information at Submission:

Longhurst Engineering, PLC
234 South Ewing Street Guthrie, KY 42234-9208

EIN/Tax ID: 272477085
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
Vanderbilt University
2301 Vanderbilt Place, PMB407749
Nashville, TN 37240-37240
Contact: Jeffrey Newman