Investigation of Hardness Change for Spot Welded Tailored Blank in Hot Stamping Using CCT and Deformation-CCT Diagrams
When an outer panel of a B-pillar is manufactured with the hot stamping process, reinforcements are spot welded on its inner side. Before reinforcements are added, the microstructure of the outer panel is martensite. However, reheating during spot welding changes the martensite to ferrite, which has a lower hardness in the heat-affected zone than in other areas. If spot welding is conducted before hot stamping for making a spot welded tailored blank, the microstructure in the spot welded tailored blank after hot stamping is martensite. This sequence of processes avoids hardness reduction due to spot welding. In this study, the hardness and microstructure around spot welded parts of the tailored blank were investigated. The results clearly showed that areas close to the spot welded parts are severely stretched during hot stamping. In addition, stretching suppresses the martensitic phase transformation and reduces the hardness. To characterize this phenomenon, a simulation was conducted that considered the effects of pre-strain on the phase transformation. A continuous cooling transformation (CCT) diagram and a deformation continuous cooling transformation (DCCT) diagram were made in order to quantify the effect of the cooling rate and pre-strain on the phase transformation and hardness. The hardness was then calculated using the experimentally measured CCT and DCCT diagrams and the finite element analysis results. The calculated hardness was compared with the experimental hardness. Good agreement was found between the calculated and experimental results.
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