The semi-solid metal (SSM) forming process can be applied to achieve near net shape forming of metal alloys, and provides superior component properties compared to those achievable with conventional casting methods. The technique, also commonly called thixoforming, relies on achieving a spheroidal microstructure within the metal alloy so that its fluidity can be adjusted to achieve a controlled laminar filling of the die. Despite the better quality and the higher mechanical properties of an SSM product, thixoforming still represents only 1% of the total aluminium production, which can be explained by the higher premium cost of the processing equipment compared to conventional die casting. The method has also proven successful as a joining method, for joining similar and dissimilar materials. This paper reviews semisolid forming as a forming method and as a joining method, in particular the joining of dissimilar materials such as stainless steel to aluminium.

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