AbstractThe search for a suitable friction-based keyhole repair technique that fulfills the requirements for high-quality repair welds has become an important research topic, especially for aerospace applications. In order to provide and analyze an universal keyhole repair method for lightweight metals, refill friction stir spot welding is applied to through-hole repairs in 3- and 6-mm-thick sheets of precipitate hardening AA 2219-T851. Keyholes with a diameter of 7.5 mm were repair welded achieving a defect-free microstructure. The correlation between the microstructural evolution imposed by the repair process and the resulting mechanical properties is shown. A comprehensive analysis of the precipitate evolution in peak-aged AA 2219 during RFSSW is presented. Thermal cycle measurements revealed high heating rates and peak temperatures of up to 520 °C in the weld center. The thermal cycle caused mainly dissolution and minor equilibrium phase formation in the stirred zone. In the HAZ, overaging of the strengthening precipitates dominates with minor dissolution and equilibrium phase formation only in the direct proximity of the SZ. Microstructural analysis revealed typical weld zone formation with inhomogeneous grain size distribution in the SZ. The resulting mechanical properties are dominated by an inhomogeneous hardness distribution with lowest hardness in the TMAZ at 5 mm from the center of the weld. During tensile loading main yielding and the final fracture occur in the area of lowest strength. Tensile testing showed yield strength of 40 to 46% and UTS of 28 to 25% below BM values in 3- and 6-mm-thick sheets, respectively. The sheet thickness and post-weld natural aging were found to influence the mechanical properties of the weld significantly.