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Friction stir welding for improving joinability of high-performance steels for automotive components to boost green road mobility


Project timeline
September 2021
36 months
August 2024
General Information
The EU aims for reducing automotive emissions by 30-40% by 2030, which is mainly achieved by lightweight, electrification and fuel efficiency approaches. The steel industry responded by developing advanced-high strength (AHSS), press-hardening steels (PHS) and enhanced machinability steels. AHSS and PHS combined with Al cast nodes and Al-extrusions have grown in bodywork to reduce weight, improve performance and safety.
Stir4Steel will provide efficient, environmental-friendly and cost-effective methodologies to join these materials. It will enable multi-material designs for battery trays, shock towers / front rails and B-pillars, leading to weight-optimized components, energy efficiency and lower CO2 footprint.
The global project aim described will be reached through the achievement of the following technical objectives: 1) To develop Friction Stir Welding (FSW) and refill Friction Stir Spot Welding (RFSSW) based joining solutions for Steel/Al joints with AHSS and PHS; 2) To advance the FSW technology to weld enhanced-machinability steel grades components; 3) To model the mechanical performance of friction stir welded Steel/Al joints and high-machinability steel grades; 4) To produce and test 4 steel-optimized, multi-material demonstrator car parts; 5) To simulate the industrialization process for assembly using such new joining techniques; 6) To identify cost and environmental elements which influence the vehicle with a systematic life cycle analysis.
Led by a tip-of-the-spear consortium consisting of steel producers, car manufacturers, FSW joining technologists, and innovation experts, Stir4Steel aims to pave the way for more sustainable applications and higher penetration of advanced steel grades in the automotive as well as aviation, trains and shipbuilding sectors.
Hereon leads two work packages in the Stir4Steel project and will provide expertise in the areas of FSW, RFSSW as well as in the test and analysis of the welded joints. Hereon’s work programme includes the optimization of process technologies for the envisaged applications, the realizations of technology demonstrators and support of the automation / industrialization process. In order to support the exploitation and dissemination activities in the Stir4Steel project, Hereon has established an ISO standardization group on Friction Stir Welding of Ferrous Materials.
EU-Programme Acronym and Subprogramme AreaEU Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) 2020
Project TypeRFCS Research Project
Contract NumberGrant Agreement 101034068
Co-ordinatorSTIRTEC GmbH (AT)
Funding for the Project (€) Funding for Hereon (€)
Contact Person at Hereon Prof. Dr. Benjamin Klusemann, Institute of Materials Mechanics, Department of Solid State Materials Processing, WMP, Phone:+49 (0)4152 87- 2552; Prof. Dr. Jorge dos Santos, Institute of Materials Mechanics, Solid State Materials Processing, WMP, Phone: +49 4152 87 2050
E-mail contact
Worldwide Europe

ARITEX Cading S. A. (ES), Centro Ricerche Fiat S.C.p.A. (IT), I2M Unternehmungsentwicklung GmbH (AT), Sidenor Investigacion Y Desarrollosa (ES), Stirtec GmbH (AT)
Last Update: 16. November 2021