NASA studying Delphi welding technology

April 11, 2005

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 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 eventually could use DRW to weld structures on the moon and Mars, if the in-space power required to accomplish the welds is small.

DRW is a 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. According to Delphi, 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.

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.