Application of Pre-heating to Improve the Consistency and Quality in AA5052 Resistance Spot Welding
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Making consistent resistance spot welds of aluminum alloy with good quality and at high volume has several obstacles in automotive industry. One of the difficult issues arises from the presence of a tough non-conducting oxide film on the aluminum sheet surface. The oxide film develops over time and often is non-uniform across the surface of the aluminum alloy sheet, which makes the contact resistance characteristics irregular at the faying interface during welding. The consistency in quality of the final spot welds is therefore problematic to control. To suppress the effect of the irregular oxide film on the spot weld quality, application of a pre-heating treatment in the welding schedule for aluminum alloy 5052 is investigated in this present work. The current level of the pre-heating required to reduce the scatter of the contact resistance at the W/W (workpiece-to-workpiece) faying interface is quantified experimentally. The results indicate that the contact resistance at the W/W faying interface with a pre-heating treatment becomes much consistent and can be reduced by two orders of magnitude. Having the uncertain variation of the contact resistance at the W/W faying surface virtually reduced or removed, the quality of the spot welds in terms of the peak load and nugget diameter is examined and shows a great improvement. The proposed method may provide a robust method for high-volume spot welding of aluminum alloy sheets in auto industry.
Keywordsaluminum alloy contact resistance oxide film pre-heating treatment resistance spot welding
This work is sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC) (Grant Nos. 51275342 and 51405335) and the Postdoctoral Project of the NNSFC (Grant No. 2013M541175). YJC acknowledges the support during the course of this study by the NNSFC through Grant 51275338. The authors are indebted to Dr. P.C. Wang of General Motor Corporation for stimulating discussions on the subject.
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