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Title: Joining of steel to aluminium alloys for advanced structural applications
Author: Martins Meco, Sonia Andreia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 4528
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2016
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When joining steel to aluminium there is a reaction between iron and aluminium which results in the formation of brittle intermetallic compounds (IMC). These compounds are usually the reason for the poor mechanical strength of the dissimilar metallic joints. The research on dissimilar metal joining is vast but is mainly focused on the automotive industry and therefore, the material in use is very thin, usually less than 1 mm. For materials with thicker sections the present solution is a transition joint made by explosion welding which permits joining of steel to aluminium and avoids the formation of IMCs. However, this solution brings additional costs and extra processing time to join the materials. The main goals of this project are to understand the mechanism of formation of the IMCs, control the formation of the IMCs, and understand their effects on the mechanical properties of the dissimilar Fe-Al joints during laser welding. Laser welding permits accurate and precise control of the welding thermal cycle and thereby the underpinning mechanism of IMC formation can be easily understood along with the factors which control the strength of the joints. The further goal of this project is to find an appropriate interlayer to restrict the Fe-Al reaction. The first stage of the work was focused on the formation and growth of the Fe-Al IMCs during laser welding. The understanding of how the processing conditions affect the IMC growth provides an opportunity to act and avoid its formation and thereby, to optimize the strength of the dissimilar metal joints. The results showed that even with a negligible amount of energy it was not possible to prevent the IMC formation which was composed of both Fe2Al5 and FeAl3 phases. The IMC growth increases exponentially with the applied specific point energy. However, for higher power densities the growth is more accentuated. The strength of the Fe-Al lap-joints was found to be not only dependent on the IMC layer thickness but also on the bonding area. In order to obtain sound joints it is necessary to achieve a balance between these two factors. The thermal model developed for the laser welding process in this joint configuration showed that for the same level of energy it is more efficient to use higher power densities than longer interaction iv times. Even though a thicker IMC layer is formed under this condition due to higher temperature there is also more melting of aluminium which creates a larger bonding area between the steel and the aluminium. The joint strength is thus improved ... [cont.].
Supervisor: Ganguly, Supriyo ; Williams, Stewart Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Laser welding ; steel ; aluminium ; intermetallic compounds ; conduction welding ; cold metal transfer ; copper ; interlayer ; lap joint ; T-joint ; thermal model