If you’re piecing together aluminum parts of a vehicle chassis, you have a variety of ways to join the two metals.

You can drill a hole in the part and plug in a joining rivet, for example. You can go with adhesives. Or you can turn up the heat with friction stir welding.

How do you know what joining method is best?

In a live Tech Briefs webinar titled BEV or ICE: Aluminum Extrusions and Tomorrow’s Vehicles, an attendee had the following question for Ben Kuhn, Territory Sales Manager at Brampton, Canada manufacturer ALMAG Aluminum:

"What are the pros and cons of various fastening methods? For example, a bonded and rivet joining approach vs. a welding approach?"

Read Ben Kuhn's edited response below.

Ben Kuhn, ALMAG Aluminum: The chassis that we looked at has a few extruded parts. There’s definitely a right place for everything, so it’s not to say that one [joining method] is superior to the other. It’s more about looking at the application that you’re using and choosing what’s best suited to that.

One thing with welding: It can be a little bit trickier of a process to hold, or to maintain consistency on. When you inject that additional thermal energy into an aluminum weld, there’s always opportunities for distortion.

With a bonded joint — as long as you’re able to work with a supplier to develop a solution where you have the bonding hold that you need — you’re not adding that external load, which allows parts to be more dimensionally stable.

Do you agree about the pros and cons of metal joining methods? Share your questions and comments below.