Superplastically Formed Friction Stir Welded Tailored Aluminum and Titanium Blanks for Aerospace Applications
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The purpose of this study was to develop a specialized friction stir welding process for superplastic grade aluminum alloy 5083-SP and titanium alloy 6Al-4V, in thickness of 1.5-4 mm, such that the butt welded nugget would have equal superplastic forming (SPF) characteristics as the parent sheet material. The concept of using tailored blanks for the SPF process is proposed which will allow the joining of multiple pieces to fabricate much larger monolithic components than has been possible in the past. Another benefit of using tailored blanks for SPF applications was found to be a more closely matched blank shape relative to the plan size of the SPF forming die. However, shape of the tailored blanks is critical in SPF of a component. An example of this might be the case where a polygon-shaped blank might work in order to reduce the amount of material used, but a rectangular blank is currently used because a tailor made blank with superplastic joints was not found to be technologically feasible. Upon development of a suitable FSW process for each material, the technology was applied to fabricate full scale test components representing a generic jet engine nacelle Lipskin.
Keywords6Al-4V friction stir welding nacelle superplastic forming tailored blank titanium
The authors wish to thank the University of South Carolina, the Boeing Company, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories for their support of this study.
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