Probing underlying mechanisms for pcBN tool decay during friction stir welding of nickel-based alloys


Friction stir welding (FSW) of nickel-based alloys can provide joints with improved corrosion resistance and mechanical properties that are deteriorated significantly during fusion welding of these alloys. However, rapid wear and poor longevity of tools are major concerns for FSW of nickel-based alloys. Polycrystalline cubic Boron Nitride (pcBN) has emerged as an alternative tool material due to its enhanced strength and stiffness but its use for FSW of nickel-based alloys is rarely explored. An investigation is therefore undertaken to examine FSW of Inconel 625, which is a commonly used nickel-based alloy, by experimental investigation and computational process modelling. The potential failure mechanisms of pcBN tools during FSW of Inconel 625 are examined. The results showed that the thermal softening of the tungstenrhenium binder phase and dissolution of tungsten into Inconel 625 are potential mechanisms to early wear and failure of the pcBN tools for FSW of Inconel 625.
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