Interlocking tubes and laser welding create high-strength, lightweight panel structures.
A new way of forming lightweight sandwich panels has been developed by TWI, the industrial fastening research group.
Machined or extruded tubes form the interior of the sandwich. On the outer surface of each tube are simple male and female connections in the form of studs or slots. Once connected, the tubes become mechanically locked in a solid array in the X-Y plane. External skins are stake welded to the top and bottom of the array using a CO2 or Nd/YAG laser to penetrate the material from the outside. The result is a high-strength sandwich panel, rigid in all three directions.
TWI has given the name Ex-Struct™ to the concept. Materials that may be used in its manufacture include steel, alloys, and plastics.
At the Design News webinar on June 27, learn all about aluminum extrusion: designing the right shape so it costs the least, is simplest to manufacture, and best fits the application's structural requirements.
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