, Volume 28, Issue 12, pp 3173-3182

Electron-beam weld microstructures and properties of aluminium-lithium alloy 8090

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Abstract

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. Few commercial aluminium-lithium alloys have emerged for use in the aerospace industry. One such candidate is 8090, a precipitation-hardenable Al-Li-Cu-Mg alloy. The influence of electron-beam welding on the microstructure and mechanical properties of alloy 8090 material has been evaluated through microscopical observations and mechanical tests. Microscopic observations of the electronbeam welds revealed an absence of microporosity and hot cracking, but revealed presence of microporosity in the transverse section of the weld. Mechanical tests revealed the electronbeam weld to have lower strength, elongation and joint efficiency. A change in microscopic fracture mode was observed for the welded material when compared to the unwelded counterpart. An attempt is made to rationalize the behaviour in terms of competing mechanistic effects involving the grain structure of the material, the role of matrix deformation characteristics, grain-boundary chemistry and grain-boundary failure.