Press Releases 2014-2015

Pioneering Engineer Speaks to UWTSD Students


The Welsh inventor of a pioneering welding technique has addressed engineering students at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD).

Dr Wayne Thomas speaking to engineering students at UWTSD in Swansea.

Dr Wayne Thomas, originally from Loughour, is an alumnus of Swansea Technical College, a predecessor institution of UWTSD Swansea. He has worked in research and development since 1983 and was formerly Principal Research Engineer and Consultant in the Innovation Unit at TWI Ltd. He has a degree and MPhil in Material Technology and a PhD in materials research and innovation in friction stir welding.

Dr Thomas is also qualified as a European Engineer (Eur Ing), a Chartered Engineer (CEng) and a Fellow of the Welding Institute (FWeldI). He has authored over 100 technical papers and has been responsible for the invention/conception and/or development of a number of emergent technologies including Friction Stir Welding (FSW), Friction Hydro Pillar Processing (FHPP) and Moving Contact Arc Welding (MCAW).

It was in 1991, while working for TWI Ltd, that he invented Friction Stir Welding (FSW), a solid-state process which produces welds of high quality in difficult-to-weld materials such as aluminium. It has become the process of choice for manufacture of lightweight transport structures such as boats, trains and aeroplanes.

FSW has overcome many of the problems associated with traditional joining techniques and was even used by Apple on their 2012 iMac to join the bottom to the back of the device.

During his visit to UWTSD in Swansea, Dr Thomas spoke to the students about his discovery and how it has been creatively used as a solution to welding problems since its introduction.

Graham Howe, Head of the School of Engineering, Manufacturing and Logistics at UWTSD, said: “Wayne’s role in research and development of this exciting technology is unparalleled so it was a fantastic opportunity for our students and our industrial partners to have benefited from his lecture.

“As an alumnus of the institution, Wayne understands the importance that we place upon the industry-focused nature of our programmes. It is vital that our students are exposed to the industry whether that is through live projects with external companies or through guest lectures from industry leaders.”

Further Information

For more information please contact Steven Stokes, Principal Corporate Communications and PR Officer, on 01792 483695 / 07872 423788 or email