Microstructure and mechanical properties of keyhole repair welds in AA 7075-T651 using refill friction stir spot welding


To develop a suitable keyhole closure process in high-strength AlZnMg(Cu) alloys, refill friction stir spot welding was used to perform repair welds of through holes of 7.5 mm diameter in AA 7075-T651 plates with 6 mm thickness. The thermal cycle and the evolution of microstructural features were investigated in detail. The mechanical performance of the welds was studied based on the changes in microstructure and temperature exposure caused by the welding process. Thermal cycle measurements revealed high heating rates and peak temperatures of up to 540 °C in the weld center. Leftover grains from the base metal that did not recrystallize were determined in the stirred zone of the weld center. The welds showed a W-shaped hardness distribution with a lowest hardness of 70% of base metal values in the heat affected zone. Under quasi-static loading, two failure modes were determined, with mode 1 failure occurring in the heat affected zone and mode 2 failure occurring in the outer regions of the stirred zone with crack initiation in the lower portions of the weld. Post-weld natural aging was proven to be highly significant for the mechanical properties of the welds and is effective for up to 4 weeks after welding.
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