Orbital friction welding of steel bars – heat generation and process modelling
Journal article, 2023

Welding of rails in the field is usually associated with a large heat input, which results in a large heat-affected zone (HAZ), which in turn may impair the welded rail head and decrease its service life. An innovative orbital friction welding (OFW) process with an intermediate eccentrically oscillating disk is proposed, and a demonstrator has been constructed. This enables welding of rails, which have a non-symmetric cross-sectional area and must be stationary during welding. The process is characterized by low heat input, creating a narrow HAZ, and low welding deformations. A thermo-mechanical finite element model is developed to determine suitable process parameters to create a narrow HAZ. A phenomenological model for heat generation during friction welding is developed for pearlitic rail steel with parameters calibrated from rotary friction welding experiments on pipes. The temperature dependence of the friction coefficient in the interface is established. Pilot tests with the demonstrator OFW machine on bars with a quadratic cross section showed that preheating will be required to guarantee a fully pearlitic weld zone. This was verified by the simulations of the thermo-mechanical finite element model.

Orbital friction welding

thermo-mechanical FE analysis

rotary welding


Jim Brouzoulis

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Dynamics

Lennart Josefson

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Material and Computational Mechanics

Koen Faes

The Belgian Welding Institute NPO

Tomas Andersson


Michele Maglio

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Dynamics

Stuart Jackman


Alban Janssens

Denys NV

Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part L: Journal of Materials: Design and Applications

1464-4207 (ISSN) 20413076 (eISSN)

Vol. 237 8 1715-1724

Innovative Welding Processes for New Rail Infrastructures (WRIST)

European Commission (EC) (EC/H2020/636164), 2015-10-01 -- 2018-09-30.

Subject Categories

Applied Mechanics

Manufacturing, Surface and Joining Technology

Metallurgy and Metallic Materials



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3/7/2024 9