Document Type: Article
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran.
This study aims to examine how friction stir welding parameters, such as welding speed and rotational rate, affect the microstructure, defects, and mechanical properties of AA7075-T651 aluminum alloy joints. It also assesses the relation of the defects and microstructure to the mechanical properties. Microstructural investigations using optical microscopy (OM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) indicated remarkable grain structure variations among the different welding zones. Especially, it was found out that the interface between welding nugget zone (WNZ) and thermo-mechanically affected zone (TMAZ) is a dominant determinant of the mechanical properties of joints. The importance of the interface comes from the fact that it is the most prone region to cracks, micro-cavities and tunneling defects. WNZ and TMAZ interfaces as well as their grain structures can be influenced by the heat generated from the friction between rotating tool and workpiece material. Therefore, coarser grain structures observed at the WNZ-TMAZ interfaces of the samples welded at higher rotational rates or lower welding speeds is due to the greater heat generated in such cases. Besides, microstructural variations in the weld zone affect the hardness and mechanical properties of weld joints. Thus, samples with coarse-grained structures display lower values of yield stress and microhardness.