Description: There exists significant prior work using tracers or pre-placed hardened markers within friction stir welding (FSWing) to experimentally explore material flow within the FSW process. Our experiments replaced markers with a thin sheet of copper foil placed between the 6061 aluminum lap and butt joints that were then welded. The absorption characteristics of x-rays for copper and aluminum are significantly different allowing for non-destructive evaluation (NDE) methods such as x-ray computed tomography (CT) to be used to demonstrate the material movement within the weldment on a much larger scale than previously shown. 3D CT reconstruction of the copper components of the weldment allows for a unique view into the final turbulent state of the welding process as process parameters are varied. The x-ray CT data of a section of the weld region was collected using a cone-beam x-ray imaging system developed at the INL. Six-hundred projections were collected over 360-degrees using a 160-kVp Bremsstrahlung x-ray generator (25-micrometer focal spot) and amorphoussilicon x-ray detector. The region of the object that was imaged was about 3cm tall and 1.5cm x 1cm in cross section, and was imaged at a magnification of about 3.6x. The data were reconstructed on a 0.5x0.5x0.5 mm3 voxel grid. After reconstruction, the aluminum and copper could be easily discriminated using a gray level threshold allowing visualization of the copper components. Fractal analysis of the tomographic reconstructed material topology is investigated as a means to quantify macro level material flow based on process parameters. The results of multi-pass FSWs show increased refinement of the copper trace material. Implications of these techniques for quantifying process flow are discussed.
Date: June 1, 2008
Creator: Tolle, Charles R.; White, Timothy A.; Miller, Karen S.; Clark, Denis E. & Smartt, Herschel B.
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