Microstructural and mechanical characterization of electron beam welded Al-alloy 7020
The electron beam (EB) welding process is used to weld any metal that can be arc welded with equal or superior weld quality. EB welding is carried out in a high-purity vacuum environment, which results in freedom from impurities such as oxides and nitrides. Thus, pore-free joints can readily be achieved in metallic materials, such as Al-alloys and Ti-alloys. However, autogenous EB welding of some aluminium alloys leads to a significant strength reduction (undermatching) in the fusion zone due to the loss of strengthening phases. For such Al-alloys, the local microstructure-property relationships should be established to satisfy the service requirement of a welded component with strength undermatching. Autogenous EB welding was performed on 5 mm thick aluminium alloy 7020 plate. Microstructural characterization of the weld metals was made by optical and scanning electron microscopy. Extensive microhardness measurements were conducted in the weld regions of the joints which exhibited a hardness loss in the fusion zone due to the loss of strengthening phases. Tensile properties of the joints were determined by testing flat transverse tensile specimens at room temperature without machining the weld profiles. Furthermore, elastic-plastic fracture toughness tests (CTOD) were carried out on the base material and welded joints at room temperature.
KeywordsWelding Fracture Toughness Weld Metal Fusion Zone Hardness Profile
This work is a part of the Brite Euram ASPOW project (BRPR95-0021). Authors wish to thank the European Commission for the financial support. Thanks are also due to Mr. S. Riekehr, Mr. H. Mackel, and Mr. V. Ventzke for their assistance in conducting the experimental work. They would also like to thank Mr. G. Jennequin and Mr. P. Gonthier-Maurin of CNIM, La Seyne-Sur-Mer Cedex, France, where electron beam welding was performed.
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