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Friction Stir Welding of Steel: Heat Input, Microstructure, and Mechanical Property Co-relation


Friction stir welding was performed to join carbon steel plates at tool rotational rate of 800-1400 rpm. Microstructure and microhardness of welded specimens were evaluated across weld centerline. Torque base index, peak temperature, cooling rate, strain, strain rate, volumetric material flow rate, and width of extruded zone at weld nugget were calculated. Peak temperature at weld nugget was ~1300-1360 K. At this temperature, ferrite transformed to austenite during welding. Austenite was decomposed in to ferrite and bainite at cooling rate of ~4-7.5 K/s. The presence of bainite was endorsed by increment in microhardness with respect to base material. Ferrite grain size at weld nugget was finer in comparison to as-received alloy. With the increment in tool rotational rate strain, strain rate, total heat input, and peak temperature at weld nugget were increased. High temperature at weld nugget promoted increment in ferrite grain size and reduction in area fraction of bainite. Heat-affected zone also experienced phase transformation and exhibited enhancement in ferrite grain size in comparison to base alloy at all welding parameters with marginal drop in microhardness. Maximum joint strength was obtained at the tool rotational rate of 1000 rpm. Increment in tool rational rate reduced the joint efficiency owing to increment in ferrite grain size and reduction in pearlite area fraction at heat-affected zone.

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The authors are grateful to the Director, CSIR-National Metallurgical Laboratory, Jamshedpur for providing infrastructural support to carry out this investigation and kind permission to publish this work.

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Correspondence to M. Ghosh.

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Husain, M.M., Sarkar, R., Pal, T.K. et al. Friction Stir Welding of Steel: Heat Input, Microstructure, and Mechanical Property Co-relation. J. of Materi Eng and Perform 24, 3673–3683 (2015).

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  • carbon steel
  • friction stir welding
  • microhardness
  • microstructure