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Heat Treatment Restores Strength to Friction-Stir-Welded 7X50 Aluminum
July 20, 2011

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Innovators at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) have patented a method of heat treating friction stir welded plates made of 7X50 aluminum alloy. The process reverses the deleterious effects of welding, restoring the alloy's mechanical properties. The method increases tensile and yield strengths, minimizes or eliminates stress corrosion cracking, and increases ductility over non-treated welded plates. Conventional practice is to rivet splice plates in the welded region, which significantly increases weight. The new JSC-developed method is also a superior alternative to a prior method of heat treatment that causes large columnar grain and allows stress corrosion cracking. JSC has received patent number 6,802,444 for this technology.


  • Reduced Weight: Eliminates the need for fasteners
  • Lower Cost: Allows welding instead of machining from larger plates
  • Robust: Maintains original mechanical properties of materials


  • Aircraft components
  • Aerospace equipment
  • Automotive and recreational equipment


JSC has one patent issued (U.S. Patent No: 6,802,444 → ) for this technology.

Licensing and Partnering Opportunity

This technology is being made available through JSC's Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office, which seeks to transfer technology into and out of NASA to benefit the space program and U.S. industry. NASA invites companies to consider licensing this technology for commercial applications.

Contact Information

If you would like more information about this technology or about NASA's technology transfer program, please contact:

Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office
NASA's Johnson Space Center
Phone: 281-483-3809
E-mail: jsc-techtran@mail.nasa.gov

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Page Last Updated: January 16th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator