A new welding method could allow the automotive and aerospace industries to make increasing use of next-generation metals.
Those sectors are increasingly seeking to use high-strength alloys to improve safety, performance and fuel efficiency, but conventional welding can make the otherwise strong materials brittle and susceptible to cracking during industrial stamping and forming.
A Brazilian researcher, while working at the Colorado School of Mines, developed a technique called high-temperature laser welding that could alleviate those concerns.
Under the process, the steel is heated to roughly 450 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes both before and after the welding takes place.
The pre-heating equalizes the temperatures, while maintaining that temperature allows for the formation of stronger microstructural bonds at the weld joint.
Researchers said the resulting metals could be strong candidates for shielding and armoring -- producing cars that can better withstand collisions and aerospace components that can withstand that industry's strict reliability standards.