Development of a robust and cost-effective method of joining dissimilar materials could provide a critical pathway to enable widespread use of multi-material designs and components in mainstream industrial applications. The use of multi-material components such as steel-aluminum and aluminum-polymer would allow design engineers to optimize material utilization based on service requirements and could often lead to weight and cost reductions. However, producing an effective joint between materials with vastly different thermal, microstructural, and deformation responses is highly problematic using conventional joining and/or fastening methods. This is especially challenging in cost sensitive, high volume markets that largely rely on low cost joining solutions. Friction stir scribe technology was developed to meet the demands of joining materials with drastically different properties and melting regimes. The process enables joining of light metals like magnesium and aluminum to high temperature materials like steel and titanium. Viable joints between polymer composites and metal can also be made using this method. This paper will present the state of the art, progress made, and challenges associated with this innovative derivative of friction stir welding in reference to joining dissimilar metals and polymer/metal combinations.

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