A fundamental study on the structural integrity of magnesium alloys joined by friction stir welding

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University of Alabama Libraries

The goal of this research is to study the factors that influence the physical and mechanical properties of lap-shear joints produced using friction stir welding. This study focuses on understanding the effect of tool geometry and weld process parameters including the tool rotation rate, tool plunge depth and dwell time on the mechanical performance of similar magnesium alloy and dissimilar magnesium to aluminum alloy weld joints. A variety of experimental activities were conducted including tensile and fatigue testing, fracture surface and failure analysis, microstructure characterization, hardness measurements and chemical composition analysis. An investigation on the effect of weld process conditions in friction stir spot welding of magnesium to magnesium produced in a manner that had a large effective sheet thickness and smaller interfacial hook height exhibited superior weld strength. Furthermore, in fatigue testing of friction stir spot welded of magnesium to magnesium alloy, lap-shear welds produced using a triangular tool pin profile exhibited better fatigue life properties compared to lap-shear welds produced using a cylindrical tool pin profile. In friction stir spot welding of dissimilar magnesium to aluminum, formation of intermetallic compounds in the stir zone of the weld had a dominant effect on the weld strength. Lap-shear dissimilar welds with good material mixture and discontinues intermetallic compounds in the stir zone exhibited superior weld strength compared to lap-shear dissimilar welds with continuous formation of intermetallic compounds in the stir zone. The weld structural geometry like the interfacial hook, hook orientation and bond width also played a major role in influencing the weld strength of the dissimilar lap-shear friction stir spot welds. A wide scatter in fatigue test results was observed in friction stir linear welds of aluminum to magnesium alloys. Different modes of failure were observed under fatigue loading including crack propagation into the top sheet, into the bottom sheet, and interfacial separation. Investigation of the tested welds revealed that the voids in the weld nugget reduced the weld strength, resulting in lower fatigue life. A thin layer of IMCs formed along the faying surface which accelerated the fatigue failure.

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Mechanical engineering, Materials science