A comprehensive review on optimal welding conditions for friction stir welding of thermoplastic polymers and their composites

Syed Haris Iftikhar, Abdel Hamid Ismail Mourad, Jamal Sheikh-Ahmad, Fahad Almaskari, S. Vincent

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Friction stir welding (FSW) and friction stir spot welding (FSSW) techniques are becoming widely popular joining techniques because of their increasing potential applications in automotive, aerospace, and other structural industries. These techniques have not only successfully joined similar and dissimilar metal and polymer parts but have also successfully developed polymer-metallic hybrid joints. This study classifies the literature available on the FSW and FSSW of thermoplastic polymers and polymer composites on the basis of joining materials (similar or dissimilar), joint configurations, tooling conditions, medium conditions, and study types. It provides a state-of-the-art and detailed review of the experimental studies available on the FSW and FSSW between similar thermoplastics. The mechanical properties of FSW (butt-and lap-joint configurations) and FSSW weld joints depend on various factors. These factors include the welding process parameters (tool rotational speed, tool traverse speed, tool tilt angle, etc.), base material, tool geometry (pin and shoulder size, pin profile, etc.) and tool material, and medium conditions (submerged, non-submerged, heat-assisted tooling, cooling-assisted tooling). Because of the dependence on many factors, it is difficult to optimize the welding conditions to obtain a high-quality weld joint with superior mechanical properties. The general guidelines are established by reviewing the available literature. These guidelines, if followed, will help to achieve high-quality weld joints with least defects and superior mechanical properties. Apart from parametric-based studies, the statistical-based studies (e.g., analysis of variance (ANOVA)-based studies) are covered, which helps with the determination of the influential parameters that affect the FSW and FSSW weld joint strength. Also, the optimal ranges of the most influential process parameters for different thermoplastic materials are established. The current work on the development of general guidelines and determination of influential parameters and their operating ranges from published literature can help with designing smart future experimental studies for obtaining the global optimum welding conditions. The gaps in the available literature and recommendations for future studies are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1208
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2 2021


  • Friction stir spot welding
  • Friction stir welding
  • Polymer composites
  • Polymers
  • Re-view
  • Thermoplastics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics


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