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Coast To Coast

Coast To Coast

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Orange Coast College welding students have captured second place in the American Welding Society (AWS) poster competition. It is the fourth year that OCC has won recognition in the competition.

Students Jim Farrington of Huntington Beach, Mike Lannom of Costa Mesa, Brent Helmick and Fila Garriott submitted the winning poster describing their project, “Ballistics Testing of Friction Stir Welded 20-50-T8 Aluminum-Lithium.” Faculty advisor for the winning entry was David Belzaire.

The poster describes the students’ experiment to determine how welding reduces the resistance to ballistic penetration of a relatively new aluminum alloy. Aluminum alloys show promise for armor plating because they are significantly lighter than the steel currently in use. This results in greater vehicle or aircraft performance, or lower spacecraft launch weight.

“Since the armor plating would have to be welded together, we wanted to see how the heat input from welding would affect the resistance to ballistic penetration of 2050-T8 Aluminum-Lithium alloy,” Lannom explained. Traditional fusion welding significantly weakens this particular alloy, and the students wanted to find out much friction stir welding (FSW), which has higher joint efficiencies than traditional fusion welding, would reduce the resistance to ballistic penetration.

“The results indicate the FSW significantly reduces resistance to ballistic penetration in the weld zone,” Lannom said, “but the heat affected zone and base metal are relatively unaffected.”

The project was completed last year for the 2013 competition. Lannom, a graduate of OCC’s welding program, now teaches students in the program as a part-time instructor.

The FABTECH conference, held in Chicago this year, is North America's largest metal forming, fabricating, finishing and welding event with more than 35,000 visitors and 1,300 exhibitors. The conference includes workshops presenting the latest technology, cutting-edge topics and industry experts.

FABTECH is co-sponsored by five industry-leading associations: the American Welding Society (AWS), the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), and the Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI).

Winning the competition is “a testament to the ability of our students and strength of our program,” Bezaire said. He noted that there are many career options for welding students, including inspectors, welding engineers and lab technicians.