Fatigue and Fatigue Crack Propagation of Laser Beam-Welded AA2198 Joints and Integral Structures


To meet the future demands of the aerospace industry with respect to safety, productivity, weight, and cost, new materials and joining concepts have being developed. Recent developments in the metallurgical field now make it possible to use laser-weldable Al-alloys of the 2xxx series such as AA2198 with a high structural efficiency index due to their high strength and low density. AA2198 holds the promise of providing a breakthrough response to the challenges of lightweight design in aircraft applications. Laser beam welding as an efficient joining technology for fuselage structures is already established in the aircraft industry for lower fuselage panels because the welded panels provide a higher buckling strength and lower weight compared with the classical riveted designs. The key factor for the application of laser-welded AA2198 structures is the availability of reliable data for the assessment of their damage tolerance behavior. In the research presented, the mechanical properties with regard to fatigue and fatigue crack propagation of laser beamwelded AA2198 joints and four-stringer panels were investigated. It was found that the fatigue endurance limit of laser beamwelded AA2198T3 is approximately 25 % below the endurance limit of the base material. With regard to the fatigue crack propagation behavior, the laser beam welded four-stringer panels with T-joints show a fatigue life increased by a factor of 1.7 compared with the base material. This work shows that high-quality laser beam welds of AA2198 can be produced on a large scale using the laser beam welding facilities of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht.
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