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Friction Stir Welding and Processing (05112G)

CHAPTER 6

Friction Stir Welding of


Ferrous and Nickel Alloys
Carl D. Sorensen and Tracy W. Nelson
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University

FRICTION STIR WELDING (FSW) is a nomically feasible process in high-temperature


solid-state joining process invented by The materials. This chapter summarizes research
Welding Institute of Cambridge, England (Ref work performed at a number of different labora-
1). In the FSW process, a rotating tool contain- tories to make FSW of high-temperature mate-
ing a pin and a shoulder is plunged into the joint rials a reality. It covers the development of suit-
between two workpieces, generating heat by able tools, welding equipment, and welding
friction. Once the heat has built up to the desired procedures, describes the characteristics of the
level, the tool is translated along the joint. Plas- resulting weldments, and describes the variety
ticized base material passes around the tool, of materials that have been tested with the FSW
where it is consolidated due to force applied by process.
the shoulder of the tool.
Friction stir welding has been applied to met-
als with moderate melting points. Initially, FSW 6.1 Tool Materials
was applied primarily to aluminum alloys,
which could be easily welded due to the rela- The requirements for an FSW tool in high-
tively low softening temperatures of these temperature materials (HTM) are signicant.
alloys. Other relatively soft metals, such as cop- Obviously, the tool must maintain sufcient
per, lead, zinc, and magnesium, have also been strength to constrain the weld material at soft-
welded. In contrast, for a number of years it was ening temperatures in excess of 1000 C
difcult to weld ferrous alloys and other high- (1830 F). Perhaps less apparent, the tool must
softening-temperature metals due to the lack of also be resistant to fatigue, fracture, mechanical
suitable tool materials. wear, and chemical reactions with both the
Until recently, there were no tool materials atmosphere and the weld material. To date, two
that would stand up to the high stresses and tem- classes of materials have been found that meet
peratures necessary for FSW of materials with these requirements: refractory metal tools and
higher melting points, such as steels, stainless superabrasive tools.
steels, and nickel-base alloys. In 1998, tungsten Refractory Metal Tools. The rst class of
alloys and polycrystalline cubic boron nitride tool materials to be used for FSW of HTM were
(PCBN) were developed to create FSW tools for refractory metal tools. Initially, the tool materi-
use in steel, stainless steel, titanium alloys, and als were considered proprietary. Eventually,
nickel-base alloys. Properties of the resultant however, the composition of the tools was
welds have been shown to be outstanding. revealed.
Although some issues remain (primarily limited Tungsten was used as a tool material in many
tool life with tungsten-base tools), FSW has of the early welds performed (Ref 2). Tungsten
been demonstrated as a technically and eco- appeared to have sufcient hot strength to serve
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Friction Stir Welding and Processing (05112G)
112 / Friction Stir Welding and Processing

as an FSW tool but suffered problems on the used to weld carbon steels, carbon-manganese
plunge due to its high ductile-to-brittle transition steels, high-strength, low-alloy (HSLA) steels,
temperature. This necessitated preheating of the high-strength pipeline steels, austenitic stainless
tool to temperatures above 300 C (570 F) and steels, duplex stainless steels, dual-phase steels,
the drilling of a pilot hole for the tool (Ref 3). nickel-base alloys, and other exotic alloys. It
Later tool materials included additions of up has been tested in titanium alloys, with incon-
to 25% Re to tungsten, which lowered the tran- sistent results. At times, it performs well; at oth-
sition temperature to below room temperature. ers, chemical reactions with the workpiece
Tungsten-rhenium tools show increased frac- cause rapid wear.
ture resistance and improved wear resistance Superabrasive materials can be made only in
compared to pure tungsten and appear to have relatively small pieces, due to the high pressure
become the most widely used refractory metal. required for manufacturing. Furthermore, these
Development of production processes continues materials are very difcult or impossible to
to improve the tool life of tungsten-rhenium braze. Therefore, superabrasives are used in a
tools. Molybdenum has been used on at least composite tool design, as described by Ref 5.
one occasion as a tool material for FSW of steel Early trials of PCBN tools in 316L stainless
(Ref 4). steel showed tool life of 1 to 4 m (3 to 13 ft),
Early tungsten and tungsten-rhenium tools with life limited by fracture. Continued efforts
showed a tendency to wear rapidly in the weld, at improving the design of the composite tools,
leading to macroscopic inclusions of tool mate- together with improvements in the grade of the
rial in the weld zone. Later tools were much PCBN, have greatly reduced the tendency of the
more resistant to this problem, but the tool tool to fracture and have increased its life sig-
material often continues to dissolve in the weld, nicantly (Ref 6). The most recent tool life test
leaving a tungsten-enriched stir zone. Further- on PCBN tools showed a tool life of 80 m (260
more, some researchers report that microstruc- ft) in 1018 steel.
tural changes in the tool indicate ongoing defor- Polycrystalline cubic boron nitride tools pro-
mation during welding. duce an exceptionally smooth surface on the
Refractory metal tools have been used to weld. This is thought to be due to the low coef-
weld low-carbon steels, carbon-manganese cient of friction between PCBN and the weld
steels, austenitic stainless steels, and ferritic metal.
stainless steels. The major limitation in PCBN tools is the
Tungsten-rhenium tools show good fracture maximum depth of the weld. Although a pin
toughness and can be used for relatively thick 13 mm (0.5 in.) in length has been tested, for
welds (up to 13 mm in a single pass). Reported practical purposes, the maximum depth of weld-
tool life ranges from a quarter meter (tens of ing at the present time is 10 mm (0.4 in.). Ongo-
inches) up to approximately 4 m (over 10 ft). ing efforts in the design of PCBN tools should
Superabrasive Tools. The second class of lead to increases in pin length. MegaStir Tech-
tool materials used for FSW of HTM is su- nologies, the provider of PCBN tools, has plans
perabrasives. Superabrasives are materials that to achieve a 13 mm weld depth within a year.
are formed in presses under extreme tempera- Over the past several years, signicant
ture and pressure. The two superabrasives that efforts were expended on developing tougher,
have been used in FSW are polycrystalline dia- more wear-resistant grades of PCBN (Ref 6).
mond (PCD) and PCBN. Both materials consist Efforts to understand the effects of different
of small crystals of ultrahard material (diamond binder phases, ratio of CBN to binder phase, and
or CBN) bonded together in a skeletal matrix grain size distributions of CBN on performance
with a second-phase material that serves as a were investigated. Performance was evaluated
catalyst for the formation of the matrix. Refer- via a turning test on 304L stainless steel. Those
ence 5 gives a summary of the characteristics of grades exhibiting greater wear resistance in the
superabrasive materials. turning tests were subsequently evaluated via
Polycrystalline diamond has been used for FSW in 304L to compare wear results and eval-
aluminum-matrix composites reinforced with uate toughness.
particulate silicon carbide, boron carbide, or The PCBN grade-development program was
alumina. It also shows promise as a tool mate- quite successful in that tougher, more wear-
rial for welding titanium, although this work is resistant grades of PCBN were developed. In
only in a preliminary stage. addition to improved wear resistance, the
Polycrystalline cubic boron nitride has been improved toughness of the new grades has
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Friction Stir Welding and Processing (05112G)
Chapter 6: Friction Stir Welding of Ferrous and Nickel Alloys / 113

enabled both deeper weld penetration (up to higher than the aluminum alloys being welded.
12 mm, or 0.47 in.) and threaded-type features In contrast, for high-temperature materials, the
to be incorporated into the tool design. These tool strengths are only marginally higher than
features are illustrated in Fig. 6.1. the alloys being welded. Thus, tool deformation
for metallic tools and fracture for PCBN tools
are common.
6.2 FSW Equipment Spindle runout has been demonstrated to be a
signicant factor limiting the life of PCBN
The FSW equipment for high-temperature tools. Many FSW machines built for aluminum
materials requires improved cooling, higher- alloys have relatively high spindle runout,
precision spindles, and increased machine stiff- because they were designed primarily to accom-
ness compared to that required for aluminum. modate high process loads. Producers of PCBN
Tool Cooling. The welding zone tempera- tools have recognized the importance of precise
tures frequently reach 900 to 1200 C (1650 to spindles and specify a maximum spindle runout
2190 F). Further, the materials used for the tool of 0.01 mm (0.0004 in.) (Ref 7). Failure to meet
(either tungsten alloys or tungsten carbide this spindle runout requirement has led to pre-
shanks) have high thermal conductivity relative mature tool fracture.
to the tool steel commonly used for aluminum. Stiff Machines. Cyclic process loads
To prevent damage to the spindle bearings and to in FSW tend to be higher in many high-melting-
establish a consistent thermal environment for temperature alloys than in aluminum. Deec-
the tool, cooling of the tool shank is required. tions under load can lead to problems with
Two different methods for cooling the tool fatigue failure, particularly with PCBN tools.
have been used. In the rst, a hollow drawbar is To minimize these problems, the stiffness for
used to conduct coolant directly onto the back the machine is specied. A deection of 0.75
end of the tool shank. This method provides the mm (0.030 in.) under a load of 45 kN (10 kip) is
highest cooling rate but sometimes provides a suggested by Ref 7.
machine-specic thermal environment that can
make it difcult to transfer operating parame-
ters between machines. There can also be dif-
culties in establishing a consistent seal between 6.3 Weld Metal Properties
the tool holder and the shank.
The second method used for cooling the tool A few studies have carefully examined the
is to mount a cooled tool holder in the machine metallurgy of welds produced in a variety of
spindle. The holder can be designed for any HTM by FSW. This section summarizes the
spindle conguration, and the cooling is consis- detailed property and structure results.
tent from machine to machine. The major disad-
vantage of this cooling method is that the cooled
tool holder is generally less stiff than the 6.3.1 Ferritic Steels
machine spindle. Reference 3 reported on welds in low-carbon
Precision Spindles. Strengths of metallic and Fe-12%Cr steels, using a tool that was later
tools at process temperatures are substantially reported to be tungsten-base. The weld zone

Fig. 6.1 Pin features produced on polycrystalline cubic boron nitride friction stir processing tools, including (a) ats, (b) helical
threads, and (c) a combination of convex scrolled shoulder and helical threaded pin
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was shown to contain a range of martensite, bai- son was made between the toughness of friction
nite, and ferrite structures, along with tool stir welds and those produced by fusion welding
debris. A unique feature of this study is a pre- processes.
liminary look at the typical costs of welding, Reference 11 reported on FSW of DH-36
showing that FSW could easily be superior to a steel with W-25%Re tools. No measurable
variety of other welding processes. change in tool dimension was found after a
Reference 8 reported on welds made in DH- welding distance of approximately 1.8 m (5.9
36 using a tungsten alloy tool. Radiographic in- ft). Tensile properties were found to be accept-
spection showed full-penetration, sound welds. able, in spite of some defects in the weld zone.
However, there were indications in the radi- Scientists (Ref 12) welded HSLA-65 using
ograph that tool material was being mixed into tungsten-base tools. Subjected to bend tests, a
the stir zone. Transverse tensile tests showed 10 mm (0.4 in.) thick weld passed, and a 6 mm
overmatching of the weld, with failures occur- (0.24 in.) thick weld failed when bent with the
ring in the base metal. All-stir-zone tensile tests root in tension, due to the formation of surface
showed yield strength approximately 50% cracks. Tensile properties of the 10 mm thick
higher than the base metal, and tensile strength welds exceeded the specications for the base
approximately 33% higher than the base metal. metal. Some 6 mm thick welds exceeded the
Reference 9 evaluated the feasibility of weld- plate specications, while others were approxi-
ing 1018 steel using tungsten- and molybde- mately 10% below the plate specications.
num-base alloy tools. Observations of the peak Charpy V-notch (CVN) toughness at both 29
temperature seen during the weld were extrapo- and 40 C (20 and 40 F) were below the
lated to give a probable maximum weld temper- base material toughness but exceeded the mini-
ature of 1200 C. The thermomechanically mum specication of the plate. The surface of
affected zone was not readily observable in the the welded material was found to have small
microstructure of the weld, likely due to the defects due to the roughness caused by the inter-
allotropic transformation on cooling. Evidence action between the shoulder and the surface of
of microalloying between the tool and the work- the plate. Salt spray corrosion tests indicated no
piece was found. Stir-zone microstructure was preference for corrosion in the weld zone.
found to consist of ferrite, grain-boundary fer- Reference 13 reported on welds in 6.4 and
rite, and ne pearlite. In the stir zone, the struc- 12.7 mm (0.25 and 0.5 in.) thick HSLA-65
ture was found to be ner near the shoulder and using tungsten-rhenium tools. Radiographic
coarser away from the shoulder. Tensile proper- inspection showed traces that may indicate the
ties of the resulting welds were found to be formation of a wormhole defect at the start of
acceptable. the weld. Postweld distortion of the 12.7 mm
Reference 10 reported on the welding of plate was measured to be less than that in sub-
S355 carbon-manganese steel plates, using merged arc welded (SAW) or gas metal arc
tungsten-rhenium tools. The welds were made welded (GMAW) plates. The welded plates
in 12 mm (0.5 in.) thick plate using tools with a were tested by an underwater explosion test
pin length of 7.5 mm (0.3 in.). Welds were made known as shock-holing; the welded specimen
from both sides of the plate in order to achieve met the shock-hole requirements in spite of the
full penetration. Tool wear was a signicant radiographic indications and pieces of broken
issue. One signicant microstructural observa- tool material that remained in the weld. Tensile
tion was the tempering of the rst pass by the strength of the weld zone was slightly less than
heat from the second pass. Hardness was shown the base material. Charpy toughness of the weld
to be higher in the weld zone than in the base zone was signicantly less than the base mate-
material. Longitudinal microtensile specimens rial and showed extreme variability, which was
were taken from the various regions of the weld, unexplained. Average Charpy values exceeded
and yield and tensile strengths were consistent the specication for HSLA-65 welds.
with microhardness results. Charpy impact test- Reference 2 reported on welds in 0.29C-Mn-
ing revealed that the toughness at 40 C (40 Si-Mo-B quenched and tempered steel using a
F) was equivalent for the weld material and the PCBN tool. Weld thicknesses included both 6.4
base plate. At higher temperatures, toughness and 12.7 mm. Microhardness of the stir zone
for the weld material was signicantly lower was found to approximately equal that of the
than the base metal, with the lowest toughness base metal. Signicant softening was observed
in the heat-affected zone (HAZ). No compari- in the HAZ. Transverse tensile properties of
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Friction Stir Welding and Processing (05112G)
Chapter 6: Friction Stir Welding of Ferrous and Nickel Alloys / 115

friction stir weldments were found to be less the stir zone was found to contain ne sigma par-
than the base metal but greater than comparison ticles as well as even ner carbide precipitates.
GMAW welds. The CVN toughness in the weld Researchers (Ref 18) investigated sigma for-
zone was found to be at or above the base metal mation in FSW of various stainless alloys with
but below the toughness of the GMAW welds, compositions at various distances from the
except in the case of the HAZ in the 6.4 mm sigma + austenite region of the Fe-Ni-Cr ternary
welds, where the FSW toughness was more than diagram. They were able to predict the propen-
twice the GMAW toughness. In this study, the sity for sigma formation and hypothesized that
ller material for the GMAW was carbon steel, sigma formation was a marker for recrystalliza-
so it is expected that the weld material will be tion in 304L. They also demonstrated that weld-
both softer and tougher than the weld material ing parameter changes affected the amount and
with the same composition as the base metal in location of sigma.
the friction stir weld. Later studies (Ref 19) with a convex shoul-
der, step spiral (CS4) pin tool showed dramati-
cally reduced sigma formation in 304L with the
6.3.2 Austenitic Stainless Steels new tool design. No sigma has yet been identi-
Researchers (Ref 14) welded 304L stainless ed in welds with the new tool.
using a tungsten alloy tool. They reported Because the temperature of the weld zone
extrapolated peak temperatures in the weld zone exceeds 800 C (1470 F), the possibility of sen-
of approximately 1200 C. They reported sitization exists. A scientist (Ref 20) explored
equiaxed grains in the stir zone, with a grain size both sensitization and stress-corrosion cracking
slightly reduced from the base metal. They also (SCC) in FSW 304L. The welds analyzed qual-
noticed narrow bands in the stir zone but made ied as nonsensitized during an oxalic acid etch
no determination as to the origin or detailed test. Double-loop electrochemical potentioki-
structure of the bands. The weld material was netic reactivation testing showed regions of
found to be stronger than the base metal and to increased corrosion susceptibility away from
exhibit excellent ductility, with elongation to the surface of the specimen. U-bend specimens
fracture of more than 50%. Longitudinal resid- in boiling 25% NaCl showed no increased SCC
ual stresses were found to be close to the base susceptibility compared with the base metal.
material yield stress.
Researchers (Ref 15) reported on welding of
304L and AL-6XN stainless steels. They found 6.4 Materials Welded with PCBN
a highly rened stir-zone microstructure, with
an unidentied dark banded structure in the stir As part of the evaluation of PCBN as a tool
zone. They reported increased microhardness in material for FSW of high-temperature materi-
the weld zone and excellent ductility for both als, a variety of different alloys have been
304L and AL-6XN. They also described the dif- tested. The materials that have been tested,
culty of achieving sound welds in AL-6XN, along with results of preliminary mechanical
because a number of pores were found in the testing, are given in this section. Table 6.1 sum-
resulting weld. A later report (Ref 16) gave marizes the results of this testing.
properties of friction stir welds and AL-6XN
base metal. Weld metal was higher in yield
strength (700 MPa compared to 430, or 102 ksi
6.4.1 Ferritic Steels
compared to 62) and ultimate strength (930 A-36. Almost 200 m (over 200 yd) of A-36
MPa compared to 780, or 135 ksi compared to have been welded using PCBN tools. A wide
113) but lower in ductility (50 to 60% reduction range of weld parameters has been found to give
in area compared to 75%; 28% elongation com- fully consolidated welds. Surface quality is
pared to 46%). The elongation of the friction stir excellent. No mechanical property data are
welds was only slightly below the 30% mini- available.
mum elongation specied for the base metal. Quenched and Tempered Carbon-
Scientists (Ref 17) analyzed friction stir welds Manganese Steel. Scientists (Ref 21) welded
made in 304 stainless steel. They found a banded 6.4 mm (0.25 in.) thick quenched and tempered
structure similar to that identied by Reynolds et carbon-manganese steel using PCBN. Tool
al. The dark bands were found to be narrow wear was very low but not measured quantita-
regions of ultrane grains. The advancing side of tively. Greatly rened grain structures in the stir
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Friction Stir Welding and Processing (05112G)
116 / Friction Stir Welding and Processing

zone were observed, both in the prior-austenite material, compared with 18.7 and 81% for the
grains and in the transformation product. The base metal. Tool life in HSLA-65 appears to be
microhardness in the weld zone was approxi- excellent, although it has not been quantied
mately the same as that of the base metal. The due to the lack of available metal for carrying
HAZ showed a hardness reduction from 550 to out the life test.
350 HV. Transverse tensile specimens exhib- X-65. Reference 22 reported postweld me-
ited a strength approximately 70% of the base chanical properties in 6 mm (0.25 in.) thick FSW
metal, with failure in the HAZ. Elongation as X-65 pipe. Transverse tensile strengths were
measured in the transverse tensile test was equivalent to the base metal. All tensile samples
reduced from 9.5% in the base metal to 2.6%. fractured in the base metal well removed from
However, because of the reduction in strength in the weld or HAZ. Charpy impact results in the
the HAZ, it is likely that this elongation is weld nugget and HAZ exceeded that of the base
nonuniform and hence greatly underestimates metal at 50, 0, and 20 C (58, 32, and 68 F).
the ductility of the weldment. These results are shown in Fig. 6.2.
DH-36 steel has been test welded with L-80, X-80, and X-120. These pipeline
PCBN tools. It appears to weld at approxi- steels were welded using PCBN tools. All of
mately the same parameters as A-36. Fully con- these alloys appear to be readily weldable by
solidated welds at travel speeds of up to 250 FSW. An in-depth examination of these alloys
mm/min (10 in./min) have been achieved. No is presented by Ref 23. Welding parameters for
mechanical properties are presently available. X-80 were 550 rpm and 100 mm/min (4 in./min)
HSLA-65 steel has been welded at travel with argon shielding gas. No transverse tensile
speeds of up to 200 mm/min (8 in./min). The tests were done on this weld, but the HAZ and
resulting welds are of excellent quality. Surface stir-zone microhardnesses were higher than the
appearance is excellent. The yield and ultimate base material. Welds were fully consolidated. A
strengths of all-weld-material specimens are small region on the advancing side of the stir
597 and 788 MPa (86.6 and 114 ksi), respec- zone appears to have higher hardness than the
tively, compared with 605 and 673 MPa (87.7 rest of the weld.
and 97.6 ksi) in the base metal. Elongation and Dual-Phase Steel. Dual Ten 590 dual-
reduction in area are 14.5 and 77% for the weld phase steel (United States Steel Corporation)

Table 6.1 Results of preliminary friction stir welding testing with polycrystalline cubic boron
nitride tools
Yield strength (weld/base metal) Ultimate strength (weld/base metal) rpm/travel
Material MPa ksi MPa ksi mm/min in./min Comments

A-36 N/A N/A 600/150 24/6 80 m (260 ft), 79


plunges tool life, 7
Quenched and 1040/1400 151/203 1230/1710 178/248 545/130 21/5 ...
tempered
C-Mn steel
DH-36 N/A N/A 500/200 20/8 ...
HSLA-65 597/605 87/88 788/673 114/98 500/200 20/8 ...
L-80 N/A N/A 550/100 22/4 ...
X-80 N/A N/A 550/100 22/4 ...
X-120 N/A N/A 550/100 22/4 ...
Dual Ten 590 496/340 72/49 710/590 103/86 450/240 18/9.5 ...
dual phase
304L 51/55 7.4/8.0 95/98 13.8/14 400/75 16/3.0 ...
316L 434/338 63/49 641/674 93/98 550/80 22/3.2 ...
AL-6XN N/A N/A 350/25 14/1.0 ...
301L N/A N/A 600/300 24/12 Lap weld, small-diameter
tool
430 N/A N/A 550/80 22/3.2 ...
2507 super duplex 762/705 110/102 845/886 123/128 450/60 18/2.4 ...
201 193/103 28/15 448/406 65/59 1000/100 39/4.0 16 mm (0.6 in.) tool
600 374/263 54/38 719/631 104/91 450/56 18/2.2 ...
718 668/1172 97/170 986/1392 143/202 500/50 20/2.0 16 mm (0.6 in.) tool
Narloy-Z N/A N/A 450/100 18/4.0 demonstration only
Invar N/A N/A 600/150 24/6.0 demonstration only
Ni-Al bronze 420/193 61/28 703/421 102/61 1000/102 39/4.0 ...
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Friction Stir Welding and Processing (05112G)
Chapter 6: Friction Stir Welding of Ferrous and Nickel Alloys / 117

has been welded in a variety of geometries, essentially the same as the base metal. No sig-
including automotive sheet. Spindle speeds nicant softening was reported in the HAZ.
were 450 to 550 rpm, with travel speeds varying Ductility of the resulting welds is excellent.
from 150 to 340 mm/min (6 to 13 in./min). 301L. Alloy 301L was welded in a lap weld
Argon was used as a shielding gas. Welds were conguration. Sheet thickness was 1.5 mm (0.06
fully consolidated. Microhardness in the weld in.). To avoid wrinkling on the free surface of the
zone is higher than the base material. Trans- lap, a small-diameter tool (10 mm shoulder, 3
verse yield and tensile strengths of 71 and mm pin) was used. The small-diameter tool
103 MPa (10 and 15 ksi) are higher than that of required correspondingly higher rotation speeds
the base material (49 and 85 MPa, or 7.1 and to achieve welding temperatures. The joint ap-
12 ksi). Elongation is only slightly lower than peared to be fully consolidated and defect-free
the base metal (22% compared with 25%). Pre- under optical inspection. The joint was tested for
liminary forming studies have indicated that the corrosion in a salt spray environment. Slight cor-
weld zone forms about as well as the base metal. rosion appeared in the HAZ. Signicant corro-
sion appeared in the crevice between the ash
6.4.2 Austenitic Stainless Steels and the top surface. Better control of the ash or
mechanical removal of the ash following weld-
304L. A 6mm (0.25 in.) thick 304L plate ing are expected to improve the corrosion perfor-
was welded using PCBN tools. Spindle speed mance of the lap weld.
was 400 rpm; travel speed was 75 mm/min AL-6XN has been welded with PCBN tools.
(3 in./min). A variety of welding parameters Microhardness values look appropriate. It is
were tried. Different parameters were found to very difcult to fully consolidate the advancing
lead to widely varying microstructures. Under side of the weld. No mechanical properties data
some conditions, sigma phase was found to be are available. Further weld development on this
present in the stir zone (Ref 17). Yield strength, alloy is dependent on improved PCBN grades.
tensile strength, and ductility were almost iden-
tical in the weld and base metal. Tool life in 304
exceeded 30 m (98 ft). Tool wear in austenitic 6.4.3 Type 430 Stainless Steel
stainless steels appears to be higher than in fer- Reference 24 reported on the welding of type
ritic alloys, possibly due to chemical interac- 430 stainless steel using PCBN tools. The weld
tions between the tool and weld material. was performed at 550 rpm, with a travel speed
316L. Reference 24 reported on the welding of 80 mm/min (3.15 in./min). The weld was a
of 316L using PCBN tools. Welds had full con- partial penetration bead-on-plate weld. No
solidation and good surface appearance. Trans- mechanical property data were obtained. The
verse yield and tensile strength of the weld were weld appeared to be fully consolidated. Surface

Fig. 6.2 Charpy impact results. HAZ, heat-affected zone. Courtesy of Z. Feng, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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Friction Stir Welding and Processing (05112G)
118 / Friction Stir Welding and Processing

quality was excellent. No HAZ softening was uniform deformation in transverse weld speci-
observed. The weld zone had higher microhard- mens generally results in reduced elongation
ness than the base material. measurements.
Alloy 718 sheets (3.2 mm thick) were butt
6.4.4 Super Duplex Stainless Steel welded using a tool with a 16 mm diameter
(2507) shoulder. Spindle speed was 500 rpm, and travel
speed was 50 mm/min (2.0 in./min). The weld
The SAF 2507 (UNS S32750) super duplex was fully consolidated and exhibited substantial
stainless steel was welded with a 25 mm (1.0 grain renement as compared with the base
in.) diameter PCBN tool (Ref 25). Welding material. Yield and ultimate strengths of the
parameters of 450 rpm and 60 mm/min (2.4 transverse weld specimens were 670 and 985
in./min) produced sound welds with an excel- MPa (97 and 143 ksi), respectively. There was
lent surface nish. The resulting microstructure not enough material available to make a base-
was ne-grained (average 4 m in the stir zone) metal measurement. However, for comparison
and equiaxed. Ferrite content varied from 40 to purposes, typical yield and tensile strengths are
50% across the weld zone, compared with 45% 460 and 895 MPa (67 and 130 ksi) for alloy 718
in the base metal. Corrosion resistance of the in the annealed condition and 1170 and 1390
weld was determined by ASTM G-48C, which MPa (170 and 202 ksi) in the precipitation-
measures the critical pitting temperature (CPT). hardened condition.
The CPT for the FSW joints was 65 C (150 F
compared to 40 to 55 C (100 to 130 F) for typ- 6.4.6 Specialty Alloys
ical arc welding processes. The yield and ulti-
Narloy-Z plates (~6 mm thick) were
mate strengths of the welds were 846 and 1045
welded at Boeings Huntington Beach facility
MPa (122.7 and 151.5 ksi), which were higher
using the ESAB SuperStir machine. The weld
than the base metal (705 and 886 MPa, or 102
was made at 450 rpm and 100 mm/min (4.0
and 128 ksi). Transverse elongation of the weld
in./min). The surface nish of the resulting weld
was 18%, compared with 30% elongation in the
appeared excellent. There was no visible tool
base material.
wear. Microstructural and tensile data are not
available.
6.4.5 Nickel-Base Alloys
Ni-Al Bronze. Cast Ni-Al bronze has been
Alloy 201. A 3.2 mm (0.125 in.) thick alloy friction stir processed (FSP), as reported by Ref
201 sheet was welded in a butt joint congura- 26. Yield strength of the FSP material (420
tion using a tool with a 16 mm (0.63 in.) diame- MPa, or 61 ksi) was more than double that of
ter shoulder. The weld was a partial penetration the cast alloy (193 MPa, or 28 ksi). Tensile
weld, to avoid complications associated with strength also increased substantially due to the
getting the pin close to the backing plate. Yield processing (700 MPa compared with 420, or
and tensile strengths of the weld metal were 193 102 ksi compared with 61). However, elonga-
and 448 MPa (28 and 65 ksi), respectively, com- tion dropped to 14%, compared with 20% in the
pared with 103 and 406 MPa (15 and 60 ksi) for as-cast material. Surface nish and tool life
the base material. Elongation was 34% for the were both excellent. In addition to the improve-
transverse specimen, compared to 50% for the ment in as-cast properties, FSP was demon-
base material. Very little tool wear was ob- strated to reduce or eliminate internal porosity
served in this weld. due to casting defects.
Alloy 600 plates (~6 mm thick) were butt Invar has been welded in a variety of thick-
welded using a PCBN tool. Spindle speed was nesses with different welding parameters. Sur-
450 rpm, and travel rate was 56 mm/min (2.2 face nish has been excellent. Weld distortion
in./min). Substantial grain renement was has been low. Welds are fully consolidated. No
observed in the stir zone. Mechanical properties mechanical properties are available at this time.
were excellent. Yield strength and ultimate
strength were 370 and 720 MPa (54 and 104
ksi), respectively, compared with 265 and 630 6.5 Additional Benets
MPa (38 and 92 ksi) for the base metal. Elon-
gation was reduced from 50% in the base metal One of the mounting obstacles facing welded
to 27% in the transverse weld specimen. How- fabrication is the mandated restriction of haz-
ever, it is important to recognize that the non- ardous fumes from arc welding processes. Both
2007 ASM International. All rights reserved. www.asminternational.org
Friction Stir Welding and Processing (05112G)
Chapter 6: Friction Stir Welding of Ferrous and Nickel Alloys / 119

hexavalent chromium and manganese are under carbon steels, austenitic stainless steels, and
heavy scrutiny in the United States and Euro- titanium. Initially, tool wear was severe, but
pean communities. It is anticipated that the new recent improvements in processing of the tool
Occupational Safety and Health Administration material have led to decreased tool wear and
(OSHA) restrictions on permissible exposure increased tool life. Tool life as long as 4 m
limits of hexavalent chromium will dramati- (13 ft) per tool has been reported. Initial prob-
cally increase the cost of welded fabrication in lems with tool material contamination of the
the United States. weld appear to have been greatly reduced.
Generally, solid-state welding processes are Superabrasive tools, primarily PCBN, have
not known for hazardous fume generation. been used to successfully weld ferritic steels,
Although it was assumed that FSW would fall ferritic stainless steels, austenitic stainless
into this category, FSW had never been evalu- steels, nickel-base superalloys, Invar, and
ated specically for hazardous fumes. Refer- Narloy-Z. Attempts to weld titanium with
ence 27 compared both gas tungsten arc weld- PCBN tools have been inconclusive. Tool life
ing (GTAW) and FSW to evaluate the two in a of 80 m (260 ft) has been demonstrated in FSW
side-by-side evaluation. Both processes were of 1018 steel, and very low tool wear has been
completely enclosed in sealed containers with reported on all other alloys. The primary con-
both inlet and outlet lters. Over the same dura- cern in tool life continues to be fracture, and
tion of weld time, the GTAW process generated developments in PCBN grades continue to
1.88 and 0.02 mg/m3 of manganese and hexava- improve the fracture toughness of the FSW
lent chromium, respectively. In contrast, fume tools. The PCBN tools provide an extremely
generation for FSW was below detectable lim- smooth nish when used for FSW or FSP.
its. The results of this investigation are shown in Properties of friction stir welds in all of the
Table 6.2. alloys tested appear to be excellent. In some
cases, they exceed the properties of the base
metal. In virtually all cases, they exceed the prop-
6.6 Summary erties of alternative fusion welding processes.
Further, FSW has been demonstrated to produce
Friction stir welding of materials with high lower distortion than GMAW and SAW in the
softening temperatures has been demonstrated welding of 13 mm thick HSLA-65 steel.
to be technically feasible for a wide range of
alloys. Pin tool lengths of up to 7.5 mm (0.3 in.)
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