Laser welding of steel to aluminium : thermal modelling and joint strength analysis

Meco, Sonia and Cozzolino, Luis and Ganguly, Supriyo and Williams, Stewart and McPherson, Norman (2017) Laser welding of steel to aluminium : thermal modelling and joint strength analysis. Journal of Materials Processing Technology, 247. pp. 121-133. ISSN 0924-0136

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    Abstract

    The integrity of steel-aluminium dissimilar alloy joints is dependent on the thermal cycle applied during the joining process. The thermal field has a direct influence on the growth of the intermetallic compounds (IMC), which result from the reaction between iron (Fe) and aluminium (Al), but it also determines the size of the bonding area of the joint. A finite element (FE) thermal model was developed to predict the transient thermal cycle at the Fe-Al interface for different levels of applied energy by changing the power density and interaction time. The time-temperature profiles were correlated to the weld geometry, IMC layer thickness and mechanical strength. The experimental results showed that having a small bonding area is equally detrimental to the mechanical strength of the joint as having a thick IMC layer. The FE model suggested that comparing to time, the temperature is more important in laser welding of steel to aluminium as this is the factor which most contributes to the growth of the IMC layer and the formation of the bonding area. However, it was not possible to identify a thermal field able to produce simultaneously a large bonding area and a thin IMC layer to optimize the joint strength.