Refill friction stir spot welding of AA6082-T6 alloy: Hook defect formation and its influence on the mechanical properties and fracture behavior


Process parameters optimization was carried out to evaluate the individual effect of rotational speed, feeding rate and plunge depth on the weld strength of an AA6082-T6 aluminum alloy produced by Refill Friction Stir Spot Welding. Statistical analysis allowed to maximize the weld peel and shear strength and a strong correlation between plunge depth and weld resistance was found. It was shown that plunge depth has a strong effect on the formation and shape of the hook defect. Moreover, the fracture behavior of the welds is strongly dependent on the hook defect configuration. By applying the so-called one-factor at a time (OFAT) method combined with macro and microstructure characterization it was possible to identify three possible hook defect configurations. A comprehensive description of the different hook configuration formation is presented by analyzing the microstructure of samples from interrupted welding tests. The configuration of the hook defect depends on the position and direction of the material flow around the sleeve and the drop region. Macro and microstructure analysis of interrupted mechanical test specimens allowed the characterization of the crack initiation site and crack propagation path according to qualitative observations of hook configuration, bonding ligament and the interface region between the heat affected zone and the thermal mechanically affected zone. It was found that the fracture mode is also strongly related to the configuration of the hook defect. The optimized welding condition was reached using intermediate values of plunge depth, which produces a hook pointing down configuration.
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