Tesla Motors uses the same welding techniques as the spaceflight company SpaceX.
6/14/15 5:00 am chumakdenis 1
Did you know the fact that Tesla Motors uses cosmic welding technologies in order to build their vehicles?
I mean, everyone is familiar with the fact that Tesla manufactures really good vehicles that are really reliable, but space technologies...really?
It seems that Elon Musk will never stop to impress us.Let's talk about it more.
As it turns out, electric vehicles isn't only passion of Elon.
Young genius also owes private space transportation company SpaceX that designs, manufactures and launches rockets and spacecraft.
The zest of this company is patented friction welding tecniques that are used to manufacture electric vehicles as well.
Really cool decision of him, isn't it?
Especially if we will take into account mutual benefitting -Tesla vehicles dramatically reduced the cost of rockets and made them much cheaper whilst friction welding made Tesla's chassis lighter and stronger.
But our main question "how does it work?" is still uncovered.
Let's fix it.
A few more words about friction stir welding
Friction stir welding was developed in the nineties, but SpaceX perfected its own technique to adapt the technology to large sheets of metal like the ones use for the aluminium tank of their rockets.
They developed their own technique and equipment and perfected the process. Here is Musk explaining the process:
"Instead of riveting the ribs and hoops, you use a special machine that softens the metal on both sides of the joint without penetrating it or melting it. Unlike traditional welding, which melts and potentially compromises some metals, this process works well with high-strength aluminum alloys. You wind up with a stiffer, lighter structure than was possible before. And your material loss is maybe 10 percent, just for trimming the edges".
The timeframe of the transfer of technology is not clear, but the technique is use on aluminum alloys and the Tesla Model S/D’ chassis and body are mainly made of aluminum. The metal allows for a lighter vehicle which helps achieve better range. Tesla’s next vehicle, the Model X, will also be using aluminum.
Tesla uses deep aluminum extrusions in the side rail of the vehicle to reinforce the car in case of side collision.
Aluminum is becoming a popular way of cutting the curb weight on conventional cars, and automakers like Tesla are already applying their own friction welding techniques to their vehicles.
Of course, some people might complain for discovering just how costly repairing aluminum can be, but lighter, stronger chassis overweighs all the cons of aluminium and friction welding technique in general.
Let's thank Tesla Motors for popularizing such technologies and wish them good luck.
We'll be eagerly waiting other spaceship technologies and tools from them.