Date: 25 Nov 2012

Butt autogenous laser welding of AA 2024 aluminium alloy thin sheets with a Yb:YAG disk laser

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Abstract

Higher productivity, lower distortion and better penetration are the main advantages provided by laser welding in comparison with conventional processes. A Trumpf TruDisk 2002 Yb:YAG disk laser is used in this work to increases productivity and quality. Aluminium alloys lead to many technological issues in laser welding, resulting in shallow penetration and defects. In particular, AA 2024 aluminium alloy in a thin sheet is investigated in this paper, being it is used extensively in the automotive and aerospace industries. Bead-on-plate and butt autogenous laser welding tests with continuous wave emission on 1.25 mm thick AA 2024 aluminium alloy sheets were examined morphologically and micro-structurally. The geometric and mechanical features of the welding bead were evaluated via a three-level experimental plan. In addition to the power and speed which are traditionally referred to, beam defocusing was considered as an additional governing factor in a central composite design scheme because it massively affects keyhole conditions. Softening in the fused zone is discussed via Vickers micro-hardness testing and magnesium loss through energy dispersive spectrometry. After properly performing the modelling and optimisation of the fused zone and the cross-section shape factor as the response variables, the laser welding conditions for thin sheets of AA 2024 aluminium alloy are suggested. X-ray and tensile tests were conducted on the specimens obtained with the recommended processing parameters to characterise the AA 2024 disk laser welded beads.