A FEM-DBEM Investigation of the Influence of Process Parameters on Crack Growth in Aluminum Friction Stir Welded Butt Joints
Medium to high strength aluminum alloys, such as 2xxx, 6xxx, and 7xxx series, are actually considered of great interest in the transport industries. For aeronautical applications, the precipitation hardenable AA2024 (Al-Cu) alloy is gaining considerable attention, in particular for the realization of nose barrier beam or fuselage panels. In this context, remarkable research effort is currently focused on the application of the Friction Stir Welding (FSW) process, as a suitable alternative to fusion welding processes. The interest in aeronautical application of FSW process is also justified by the reduction of production costs and weight and by the increase of strength and damage tolerance with respect to riveted lap joints. The implementation of the technique in safety-critical components, however, requires a deeper understanding of static strength as well as of fatigue behavior of FSWed assemblies. In this sense some experimental results have already been presented in the inherent literature, relatively, for instance, to AA6082-T6 and AA6061-T6, AA6063-T6, AA2024-T351, AA2024-T8 alloys processed by FSW. Despite the unavoidable relevance of experimental testing, a numerical approach able to predict the mechanical behavior of FSWed assemblies is very desirable, in order to achieve time and cost compression and to implement computational optimization procedures. This paper deals with a numerical investigation on the influence of FSW process parameters, namely the rotating speed and the welding speed, on fatigue crack growth in AA2024-T3 butt joints. The computational approach is based on a combined Finite Element Method (FEM) and Dual Boundary Element Method (DBEM) procedure, in order to take advantage of the main capabilities of the two methods. In particular, linear elastic FE simulations have been performed to evaluate the process induced residual stresses, by means of a recently developed technique named contour method. The computed residual stress field has then been superimposed to the stress field produced by an applied fatigue traction load in a Dual Boundary Element Method (DBEM) environment, where the simulation of a crack, initiated and propagating along the previously mentioned cutting line, can be performed in an automatic way. A two-parameters crack growth law is used for the crack propagation rate assessment. The DBEM code BEASY and the FEM code ANSYS have been sequentially coupled in the aforementioned numerical approach by using a BEASY interface module and in house developed routines. Computational results have been compared with experimental data, showing a satisfactory agreement. The influence of process parameters on the residual stresses distribution has also been highlighted.
Ricardo Alves de Sousa and Robertt Valente
R. G. Citarella et al., "A FEM-DBEM Investigation of the Influence of Process Parameters on Crack Growth in Aluminum Friction Stir Welded Butt Joints", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 554-557, pp. 2118-2126, 2013