Advisor

Bammann, Douglas J.

Committee Member

Daniewicz, Steve D.

Committee Member

Horstemeyer, Mark F.

Committee Member

Hammi, Youssef

Committee Member

Solanki, Kiran N.

Date of Degree

1-1-2012

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Abstract

This comprehensive study is the first to quantify the fatigue performance, failure loads, and microstructure of resistance spot welding (RSW) in 6061-T6 aluminum (Al) alloy according to welding parameters and process sensitivity. The extensive experimental, theoretical and simulated analyses will provide a framework to optimize the welding of lightweight structures for more fuel-efficient automotive and military applications. The research was executed in four primary components. The first section involved using electron back scatter diffraction (EBSD) scanning, tensile testing, laser beam profilometry (LBP) measurements, and optical microscopy(OM) images to experimentally investigate failure loads and deformation of the Al-alloy resistance spot welded joints. Three welding conditions, as well as nugget and microstructure characteristics, were quantified according to predefined process parameters. Quasi-static tensile tests were used to characterize the failure loads in specimens based upon these same process parameters. Profilometer results showed that increasing the applied welding current deepened the weld imprints. The EBSD scans revealed the strong dependency between the grain sizes and orientation function on the process parameters. For the second section, the fatigue behavior of the RSW’ed joints was experimentally investigated. The process optimization included consideration of the forces, currents, and times for both the main weld and post-heating. Load control cyclic tests were conducted on single weld lap-shear joint coupons to characterize the fatigue behavior in spot welded specimens. Results demonstrate that welding parameters do indeed significantly affect the microstructure and fatigue performance for these welds. The third section comprised residual strains of resistance spot welded joints measured in three different directions, denoted as in-plane longitudinal, in-plane transversal, and normal, and captured on the fusion zone, heat affected zone and base metal of the joints. Neutron diffraction results showed residual stresses in the weld are approximately 40% lower than the yield strength of the parent material, with maximum variation occurring in the vertical position of the specimen because of the orientation of electrode clamping forces that produce a non-uniform solidification pattern. In the final section a theoretical continuum modeling framework for 6061-T6 aluminum resistance spot welded joints is presented.

URI

https://hdl.handle.net/11668/19668

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