High strength welding of Ti to stainless steel by spot impact: microstructure and weld performance


Vaporizing foil actuator (VFA) spot welding, a type of spot impact welding, was used to weld a titanium alloy (Ti-1.2ASN) to a stainless steel (436 SS). The interfacial microstructures and fracture surfaces were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Lap shear tests that strained the samples to failure with digital imaging correlation (DIC) were conducted to study the mechanical performance of these welds. A mesh-insensitive structural stress method was used to understand the stress distribution and model the failure modes of VFA welds in ABAQUS. Despite experimental scatter in this developing joining method, most samples failed through the base metal, but multiple failure modes coexisted, including interface failure. These failure modes were used to classify the results. The failure process can be best understood through the lens of the spatial variation that is natural in this type of weld. The center is naturally unwelded, and there is an annulus of high strength material surrounding this unwelded zone that has a wavy morphology. The mesh-insensitive structural stress method could naturally provide a link between the joint structure and the mechanical properties of the spot impact welds. This could show that despite varied failure modes and nugget strength, strength itself is not usually affected adversely by the size of the central unbonded zone.

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Data availability

The raw data used to reproduce the results cannot be completely shared due to an ongoing research along with this project. Part of the unpublished data will be attached as supplementary materials.


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The authors would thank group members and colleagues from The Ohio State University for their kind help.


This work was supported by Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT). Project number and title are Joining-R2-1-60061248 and Development of Technologies for Joining Titanium to Steel, respectively. We are also thankful for support from National Science Foundation under a Major Research Instrument Grant No. 1531785.

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Correspondence to Jianxiong Li.

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Li, J., Schneiderman, B., Song, S. et al. High strength welding of Ti to stainless steel by spot impact: microstructure and weld performance. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 108, 1447–1461 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00170-020-05506-4

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  • Titanium alloy
  • Stainless steel
  • Impact spot welding
  • Peel tests
  • Digital imaging correlation
  • Mesh-insensitive structural stress method