Rotary Friction Welding versus Fusion Butt Welding of Plastic Pipes – Feasibility and Energy Perspective
According to the Plastics Pipe Institute, butt fusion is the most widely used method for joining lengths of PE pipe and pipe to PE fittings ”by heat fusion” (https://plasticpipe.org/pdf/chapter09.pdf). However, butt-welding is not energy-cognizant from the point of view of a phase-change fabrication method. This is because the source of heating is external (heater plate). The initial heating and subsequent maintenance at relatively high temperature (above 200 C for welding of high-density polyethylene pipe) is energy intensive. Rotary friction welding, on the other hand focuses the energy where and when as needed because it uses electric motor to generate mechanical (spinning) motion that is converted to heat. This work will make the case for friction heating as energy efficient. An initial feasibility study will also be introduced to demonstrate that the resulting welded pipe joints may be of comparable quality to those produced by butt fusion and to virgin PE material.