Friction Stir Welds of Al Alloy-Cu: An Investigation on Effect of Plunge Depth

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In the present study, butt joints of aluminum (Al) 8011-H18 and pure copper (Cu) were produced by friction stir welding (FSW) and the effect of plunge depth on surface morphology, microstructure and mechanical properties were investigated. The welds were produced by varying the plunge depth in a range from 0.1 mm to 0.25 mm. The defect-free joints were obtained when the Cu plate was fixed at the advancing side. It was found that less plunging depth gives better tensile properties compare to higher plunging depth because at higher plunging depth local thinning occurs at the welded region. Good tensile properties were achieved at plunge depth of 0.2 mm and the tensile strength was found to be higher than the strength of the Al (weaker of the two base metals). Microstructure study revealed that the metal close to copper side in the Nugget Zone (NZ) possessed lamellar alternating structure. However, mixed structure of Cu and Al existed in the aluminum side of NZ. Higher microhardness values were witnessed at the joint interfaces resulting from plastic deformation and the presence of intermetallics.

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