, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 1730-1740,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

A Coupled Thermal/Material Flow Model of Friction Stir Welding Applied to Sc-Modified Aluminum Alloys


A coupled thermal/material flow model of friction stir welding was developed and applied to the joining of Sc-modified aluminum alloy (7042-T6) extrusions. The model reveals that surface material is pulled from the retreating side into the weld zone where it is interleaved with in situ material. Due to frictional contact with the shoulder, the surface material is hotter than the in situ material, so that the final weld microstructure is composed of bands of material with different temperature histories. For this alloy and the associated FSW heating rates, secondary phase dissolution/precipitation temperatures are in proximity to the welding temperatures. Therefore, depending on the surface and in situ material temperatures in relation to these transformation temperatures, disparate precipitate distributions can develop in the bands of material comprising the weld nugget. Based on the numerical simulation and on thermal analysis data from differential scanning calorimetry, a mechanism for the formation of onion rings within the weld zone is presented.

Manuscript submitted April 10, 2012.