In this study tools consisting of a 5mm cylindrical pin and a 12mm shoulder held by a simple tool holder were used to compare the wear of 11 tooling materials. The objective was to determine if using these tools in a spot welding configuration to simulate friction stir welding could differentiate the potential performance of tooling materials. All tools were made of varying percentages of polycrystalline cubic boron nitride (PCBN), tungsten (W) and rhenium (Re). The materials are referred to herein as GV1, GV2, G1, G2, G3, G4, G5, G6, G7, G8 and G9.

The tools were run to 205 welds if they did not fracture first. The grades averaged the following quantities of welds before fracture failure GV-1:0; GV-2:200; G1:82; G2:204; G3:205; G4:205; G5:96; G7:102.73; G8:21.2; G9:38.5. Of the tools that ran the full 205 welds without chipping, the average calculated volume loss, which was the best indication of wear, was as follows G2:1.83%; G3:2.53%; G4:2.41%; G5:1.93%; and G7:2.30%.

The study showed that G2 had the least wear and G6 had the most wear, of those tools that completed all 205 spot welds. Fracture was the failure mode of all grades with over 70% CBN content. It was found that small CBN grain size was not correlated to better wear performance, as has been seen in a prior study.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





friction stir welding, wear, test, friction stir spot welding, steel, metal matrix composites, PCBN, tungsten, rhenium, FSW, FSSW

Technology Emphasis

Manufacturing Systems (MS)