, Volume 25, Issue 7, pp 3347-3358

Weldability of aluminium-lithium alloy 2090 using laser welding

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Lithium-containing aluminium alloys are of considerable current interest in the aerospace and aircraft industries because lithium additions to aluminium improve the modulus and decrease the density compared to conventional aluminium alloys. Many such alloys are under develøpment for aircraft applications, which usually involves mechanical fastening. While aluminium-lithium alloys are fusion weldable with gas metal arc, gas tungsten arc and electron beam processes, they suffer from problems of weld porosity, heat-tearing cracking, poor penetration and low joint efficiency. In this paper, the weldability of aluminium-lithium alloys is briefly reviewed. The weldability of commercial aluminium-lithium alloy 2090 in the peak-aged condition was studied using laser welding. The quality of the welds was evaluated through mechanical tests (hardness and tensile tests) and microscopical observations. Mechanical property data and microscopical observations of the welds on prior surface-prepared (milled) material revealed a low degree of the weld surface degradation and an absence of porosity. This coupled with the attractive joint efficiencies suggest the superiority of the laser welding to conventional arc welding of this alloy. The performance of laser-welded butt joints is rationalized.