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Microstructure, Mechanical properties and Non- Destructive Test on

dissimilar AA5083-AA7075 aluminium alloys using GTAW


I. Sudhakara*, Kaustav Baratb, K. Venkateswarlub,
a
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MVGR College of Engineering (A),
Vizianagaram-535005, India
b
CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore-560017, India
Email: sudhakar@mvgrce.edu.in

Abstract
Applications calling for fuel efficiency, low emissions, and high mobility demand substitution of
light metals like aluminium and its alloys. Mechanical properties associated with these alloys such
as better resistivity towards corrosion, high and good formability parameters, made them one of
the best alternative materials for existing ferrous materials, especially in the automobile industry.
Among all available aluminium alloys AA 5083 aluminium alloy (Marine applications) and AA
7075 aluminium alloys (Aircraft industries) are widely used in automobile manufacturing.
Demand for manufacturing flexibility by industries, ample number of investigation on both similar
and dissimilar aluminium alloys are done using friction stir welding and scanty of open literature
is available in the field of fusion welding. As generally the aluminium, alloys are generally tagged
as non weldable by this technique. Thus the present investigation aims at determining the
mechanical behaviour of welded joints made of AA 5083 and AA7075 aluminium alloys using
AC TIG welding with 5 different currents in the range of 80 amps to 120 amps. Tensile specimens
were machined as per ASTM E8 and subjected for finding weld strength. As the data availability
is not much and there can be a possibility of damage and degradation under structural application,
a detailed test matrix has been planned. Among all the tensile specimens, the specimen which was
welded with 100 amps has resulted in higher weld strength of the order of 350 MPa. Irrespective
of weld current used all the welded joints failed along the heat affected zone. Single wall single
image technique for radiography was used as one of the non-destructive test (NDT) for weldment
and it has been noticed that current range of 100-120amps can be used for TIG welding as it has
resulted in no significant defect , but 100 amps welding current results in high weld strength and
minimum extent of fusion related welding defects. Hence 100amps current has been
recommended for welding AA5083 and AA7075 aluminium alloy. The microstructural
examination leads to the inference that directional coarsening has been taken place during welding.
We have identified the equiaxed, directionally solidified and mixed type of grain structure in the
weld pool.

Keywords: Aluminium alloys; Fusion welding; Weld strength; Non-Destructive Test (NDT);
Columnar grain; Mixed mode of fracture.
1.0 Introduction
Steel is one of the most widely used materials across the globe because of its lower economy
and useful mechanical properties. It has gained a wide attention in day to day life in every
sector ranging from domestic applications to transportations [1-3]. Challenges offered by
automobile industry such as fuel economy and higher speed to weight ratio have opens scope
to replace conventional materials like steel with light materials such as aluminium and it’s
alloys [4]. Owing to the unique combination of properties offered by aluminium and its alloys
stands aluminium as one of the most versatile, economical, and attractive metallic materials
for the most demanding engineering applications [5]. AA5XXX series Al alloys, with
magnesium as the principal alloying element, are generally known for their high strength, non-
heat treatability, better corrosion resistance in marine atmosphere, excellent formability [6-8]
and high strength to weight ratio. AA7XXX [9-11] series Al alloys are used in aerospace
structures with zinc as the primary alloying element. These two alloy systems are considered
for manufacturing dissimilar weld in the present investigation. A high affinity of aluminium
towards oxygen, difference in thermal conductivity, high solubility of hydrogen, and
solidification shrinkage incur difficulties in fabrication of these aluminium alloys [12]. Prior
to investigate the weldability aspects of AA5083 aluminium alloy and AA7075 aluminium
alloy an attempt has been made to throw a light on contemporary issues associated with
dissimilar metal welding especially when it comes to aluminium alloys. The highest tensile
strength and tensile elongation is achieved by welding it with tapered hexagonal tool pin for
joining AA2024 and AA5083 aluminium alloys using friction stir welding [13]. In a similar
type of attempt, Taguchi technique is used to optimize parameters such as rotational speed,
transverse speed, tool geometry and ratio between tool shoulder diameter and pin diameter to
have tensile strength while welding of dissimilar Al–Cu alloy AA2219-T87 and Al–Mg alloy
AA5083-H321 plates [14]. Results of joining of aluminium sheets of AA7075-T6 and
AA2024-T3 using friction stir welding revealed non-formation of onion rings between both
base materials and their stir zone [15-16]. Using highest welding speed and fixing AA6061
alloy plates on the advancing side during dissimilar welding with AA7075 aluminium alloy,
yielded highest joint strength as reported by Guo et al. [17]. During friction stir lap welding
of 7075/2024 joints show higher failure load at lower speeds when compared with 2024/7075
but at higher speeds the result becomes vice-versa. The joints fracture occurs in three modes
i.e. shear fracture along the lap interfaces, combination of both tensile fracture and the mixed
fracture of shear and tensile mode [18]. AA7075 and AA5083 aluminium alloys can be
successfully [19-20] welded through friction stir welding as observed by researchers which
includes characterization of stir zone and optimization of processing parameters. Kalemba-Rec
et.al.[21] systematically analysed the microstructure and mechanical properties of friction stir
welded aluminium alloys. In the similar type of work, Ali Davoodi et al. [22] categorical
investigated the interfacial region in dissimilar friction stir welded AA 5083 to AA7023 with
respect to corrosion behaviour. An attempt has been made by Jannet et al. [23] to weld non-
heat treatable AA 5083 aluminium alloy with heat treatable AA6061 aluminium alloy using
fusion welding. From the above search, it can be inferred that ample number of investigations
on dissimilar welding using AA5083 and AA7075 aluminium alloy has been carried out using
solid state welding, but scanty of literature is found in the area of joining of AA5083 and
AA7075 aluminium alloy using fusion welding Thus, the present investigation is aimed at
welding of AA5083 and AA7075 aluminium alloys using tungsten inert gas welding and
discussed the influence of processing parameters in light of tensile strength properties.
2. Materials and Methods
AA5083 aluminium (non- heat treatable) alloy and AA7075 aluminium (heat treatable) alloys are
received in the form of rolled plates. These plates are further examined for chemical composition
and chemical report is given in Table-1.

Table-1: Chemical composition of base metals


Si Fe Cu Mn Mg Cr Zn Ti Aluminium
Element
(in wt.%)
AA7075 0.04 0.15 1.30 0.02 2.30 0.19 5.40 0.05 Balance

AA5083 0.09 0.27 0.01 0.80 4.40 0.07 0.02 0.02 Balance

Both the alloys have magnesium as common content which is also one of the primary element for
formation of intermetallic phases, hence a filler rod is selected for both the alloys during the fusion
welding and it’s composition has been reported in Table-2.

Table-2: Chemical composition of filler material


Element Si Fe Cu Mn Mg Cr Zn Ti Aluminium

AA5083 0.4 0.4 0.1 0.8 4.5 0.16 0.25 0.15 Balance

2.1 Welding set-up


The AA7075 and AA5083 aluminium plates were machined to the required dimensions
(100mm×100mm×3mm). Square butt joint configuration was prepared to fabricate Gas Tungsten
Arc Welding (GTAW/TIG) welded joints. Single pass welding was used to fabricate the joints.
AA5083 (Al-5%Si) grade filler rod and wire were used for GTA welding processes, respectively.
High purity (99.99%) argon gas was used as the shielding gas. High affinity to combine with
oxygen, high thermal conductivity and coefficient of linear expansion, sensitivity to weld cracking
are found to impose difficulties during fusion welding. Features associated with Alternate Current
Tungsten Inert Gas (ACTIG) welding [24] which enables effective removal of the oxide layers
and keeps the vicinity of weld pool clean and the penetration of the clean weld pool has been
selected for fabrication of above plates. Thus, it has been selected as welding technique for present
investigation and different currents are trailed in the range of (80-120amps) to obtain weldment.
The range of welding current has been adopted because of limitation in machine. Exercising with
above parameters an attempt has been made to obtain sound weld and identify suitable current or
current range for welding.

2.2 Evaluation of Mechanical Properties: Different set of dissimilar aluminium alloys (AA5083
and AA7075) under different weld currents are successfully welded and grinded before preparation
of tensile specimens. One of the representative samples i.e. weldment obtained with 100 amps of
weld current has been shown in Fig. 1(a) and 1(b). Tensile specimens were machined from the
dissimilar weldment and tensile tests were performed in accordance with the ASTM E8 standards
with a strain rate of 0.001mm s-1using an Ultimate tensile testing machine (Model 5582, Instron,)
and Vickers’s micro hardness testing machine (Model: 1000/1002) is used to find the hardness
distribution across the transverse direction of welding to understand the effect of heat affected
zone.

Fig. 1 (a) and (b): Photographs of weldment consist of AA7075 and AA5083 a) front and b) rear
sides at 100 Amp weld current

2.3 Microstructural studies:


SEM with EDS (LEO 440UK make) was utilized for characterization of fracture surfaces from
ruptured tensile specimens. Representative samples were cut from both base metals and welded
samples and standard metallographic practice was used to prepare standard metallographic practice
using Keller’s reagent (95% H2O, 2.5% HNO3, 1.5% HCl, and 1% HF) to reveal the
microstructure.

2.4 Non-destructive test:


Radiography tests were conducted using X-ray radiography using single wall single image
technique. During test, DIN 62 aluminium was used as image quality indicator (IQI) with a
sensitivity rate of 2.0%. The selection of IQI has been based on type of weldments. The
radiography image was recorded in AGPA D-7 branded film. Dye penetrant test has been done to
find out surface cracks in accord with ASTM E-165.Initially the weldment has been thoroughly
cleaned so that it does not have foreign particles such as oil, grease, rust and slag. Red colour
penetrant (Flaw Check manufacturer) has evenly applied on the surface welded joint and dwell
time of 10 minutes was allowed. Excess penetrant was wiped out systematically with the help of
cotton till no red colour has been left in cotton. White colour developer was shacked thoroughly
and applied from a distance of 8” on weldment. Sun light has been allowed to suck the red
penetrant (in case of presence of surface crack) on to surface of weldment.

3.1 Mechanical Testing: Mechanical testing for weldments is carried out in two folds to evaluate
the mechanical properties across the weldments and along the transverse direction of welding i.e.
along the partial melted zone. Tensile specimens are subjected to universal testing machine as
discussed earlier to find the tensile strength of weld joints while Vickers micro hardness testing is
exclusively made to understand the characteristics of heat affected zone (HAZ) along the both the
transverse sides of welding.

3.1.1 Tensile test: The results of tensile test for weldments obtained for different weld currents
are shown in Fig.3. All the stress-strain diagrams (Fig.3) exhibited similar type of profiles. It can
be seen that graphs have undergone through considerable extent of ductile behaviour before its
failure except 120Amps. From the Fig.3 it can be observed that area under stress-strain curve is
minimum for weld current of 120amps while as area enclosing the same for 100amps is found to
be maximum. It can be understood that the weldment made of 120amps for tensile testing absorbs
low energy before it undergoes failure/ fracture which indicates brittle behaviour of weldment
Exhaustive SEM analysis of failed tensile specimen for 120Amps and 100Amps is used to predict
the mode of failure is discussed in later section.

The ultimate tensile strength of each welded sample shown graphically in Fig. 2 for ease of
interpretation. The peak weld strength i.e. ultimate tensile strength of each welded sample prior to
its failure are shown in graphical manner in Fig 2. From Fig. 2, it can be seen that the ultimate
strength varies in the range of 243MPa - 350MPa during welding of AA5083 aluminium alloy
with AA 7075 aluminium alloy and maximum weld strength is found to be 350 MPa at weld
current 100 Amp. Furthermore, these weldments under tensile tests do not exhibit sharp yield point
which clearly indicates the ductile nature of weldments. Presence of inter-metallic phases such as
Al(Mg-Si), MgZn2,Mg2Si,Al3Fe, Al2Cu2Fe, MgAl (Cu), Al2 CuMg, Al2CuFe4 and other inter-
metallic may be contributors to obtain weld strength which will be conferred later on through
elemental analysis of fractured sample of tensile specimen.
Stress Vs Strain
400
350
Stress(in Mpa) 300
250 80A
200 90A
150 100A
100 110A
50
120A
0
0.001 0.021 0.041 0.061 0.081 0.101
Strain

Fig.2 shows Stress-Strain diagram of tensile specimens under various welded currents.

As we can see that the stress-strain curve in some cases is highly serrated and it gives rise to the
discontinuous propagation of Luders band in total welded specimen. The amount of serration is
much higher in the specimens welded above 100 Ampere current..

Fig. 3 depicts variation of weld strength with different weld current.


3.1.2 Vickers’s micro hardness testing:

Fig.4 shows the variations of hardness for different currents across the weld zone. Moreover, for
all the currents, similar type of profile is observed and there is a significant drop of hardness value
along the HAZ formed across the AA 5083 aluminium alloy. Thus, it may be one of the reasons
of failure of tensile specimens for all currents along the side of AA5083. Furthermore, it has been
supported through detailed microstructural study across the weldment. The Hardness of 5083 side
is much lower and 7075 side is higher, and supposing that the strength is non-linearly affecting the
failure probability at weld zone

Fig. 4 shows the variation of hardness across the weldment for different current.

3.2 Micro structural analysis:

From the tensile test, it can be seen that weldment fabricated using 100Amps can be considered
having better mechanical properties, hence it is worthwhile to conduct systematic microstructural
analysis by preparing metallurgical samples. Two specimens are cut to understand the
morphological changes; one is along the HAZ and other weld pool characteristics across the
transverse direction of welding
3.2.1 Microstructural study for characterizing the weld pool feature across the transverse
direction of welding:

In Fig.5, it has been represented the evolution of microstructure in a vertical cross section of the
weld. This signifies the formation of a graded structure from top of the weld to bottom. The entire
grain growth characteristics have been captured in Fig.5. One can see that there are elongated
grains and this elongation took place in a particular direction. In central zone, some equiaxed grain
formation can be seen. Therefore, it can be told that when we are coming close to the neutral axis
of a rolled sheet, the locked in strain triggers recrystallization there. The recrystallized grain size
is ranging from 10 μm to 23 μm whereas the elongated grain is highly elliptical in shape. The
Major axis value ranging from 80-204 μm and minor axis value 15 to 68 μm. Therefore, the
ellipticity is very high in grains situated top of the weld. The central grains are equiaxed and in the
weld bottom, grain growth is evident. There are abnormally grown grains situated beneath the
recrystallization zone. So, a concise picture of variable or gradual shape statistics can be observed
in grain structure. The application of rapid heating gives rise to abnormal growth in the weld
bottom whereas grains at weld top retained the elongated morphology to some extent.

Fig .5 shows microstructural evolution in vertical section of dissimilar TIG weld

3.2.2 Microstructural study along the transverse direction of welding:

Fig. 6 (a) and (e) shows the presence of elongated grains which establishes the fact that plates are
received under rolling condition. Along the interfaces of weld partially melted grains are observed
of the order of 10 to 15 microns and adjacent to partially melted grains along the both the sides
coarse grains are observed of the order of 20 to 30 microns and it is attributed to heat flow across
the transverse direction from weld zone during welding and weld metal solidification.

Fig. 6 shows the variation of microstructure across the transverse direction of welding.

Filler material (5083 Aluminium alloy) used during welding is similar to the base metals. So
solidification of weld metal promotes growth mechanism along the both sides of weld zone and it
leads to form partial melted zone which facilitates planar growth of solidifying of weld metal. The
solid-liquid interface along the both sides experiences different extent of constitutional super
cooling and resulting in formation of cellular, dendritic and equiaxed grains (at the centre of weld
zone). As presence of equiaxed grains imparts sound mechanical properties especially weld
strength and toughness, thus it may be one of the reasons that 100Amps current has yielded
maximum ultimate strength of 350MPa.

3.3. SEM analysis:

A systematic SEM analysis has been carried out to understand the grain morphology and phase
distribution to establish the failure of tensile specimen across the AA5083 side. Furthermore,
exhaustive analysis has also done to understand the failure mode of on failed samples.

3.3.1 SEM analysis across the weld metal:

Microstructural detail which has been explained earlier is further being supported in Fig. 7. From
the Fig.7 (b) the weld zone consists of equiaxed grains which attribute to attain high strength in
weldment (fabricated 100 Amps). Similarly interface characterization across both sides of
weldment reveals the higher extent of disperiod dissolution along AA 5083 aluminium alloy [Fig.7
(a)] compared to AA 7075 aluminium alloy. Fig.7(d) and (e ) represents aligned distribution of
base metal AA 5083 aluminium alloy and AA 7075 aluminium alloy respectively which is
resulting in the initial strengths of base metals.
Fig. 7 shows SEM photographs of (a) 5083-weld interface (b) Weld zone (c) 7075-weld interface
(d) 5083 base metal (e) 7075base metal.

3.3.2 SEM and EDAX analysis on failed tensile specimen: .The results of scanning electron
microscopy are depicted in the Fig. 8(a) and (b).

Fig. 8(a) shows the presence of dimples (b) mixed mode of failure of component during SEM.

The failed tensile specimens were examined for scanning electron microscopy at two different
locations along the surface of failed tensile specimen. Results of SEM confirm the presence of
both dimple and cleavage as shown in Fig. 8(a) and (b). Fig. 8 (a) exhibits ductile nature of material
before undergoing failure. Similarly, at the other location the specimen i.e. as shown in Fig. 8 (b)
has undergone complete mixed mode of fracture.
Results of SEM EDX are presented in Fig. 9 which shows the elemental form of Mg, Zn and Al
and it may lead to formation of disperiod phases which may be responsible either for brittle phase
or weld strength contribution.

Fig. 9 represents elemental composition of tensile failure weldment.

3.4 Non-destructive test on weldments:

Fig.10 depicts results of dye penetrant test of weldments fabricated at different weld currents. It is
observed that there is presence of solidification cracks in weldments fabricated at welding current
80 amps and 90 amps while as sound weldments i.e. free from external solidification cracks or
insignificant defects for welding currents 100 amps, 110 amps and 120 amps.

Fig. 10 shows macro photographs of dye penetrant (non-destructive welding test) weldments at
(a) 80Amp (b) 90Amp (c) 100Amp (d) 110Amp and (e) 120Amp

It is more often observed that the presence of tensile residual stresses along centre of weld zone
and compressive residual stresses along transverse direction of welding and along the edges of
weldments. Solidification cracks which appeared in the weldments joined at weld current of 80
amps and 90 amps may be due to not accommodating of tensile residual stresses. Similar type of
results are further confirmed in radiography test of weldments. Even though dissimilar welding
can be done using currents 100amps, 110 amps and 120 amps but 100 amps is preferable as
fabrication using other two currents resulting less tensile strength and brittle nature of weldment
fabricated at higher current of 120Amp.

4.0 Conclusions:

Based on the above investigation attempted to identify the challenges and characteristics of TIG
welding and to understand the grain growth characteristics in weld zone, following conclusions
can be inferred:

1. Under controlled atmosphere, 5083 and 7075 aluminium alloy can be successfully welded using
TIG welding.

2. TIG welding can be carried out in the range of 100 Amp- 120Amp and maximum weld strength
can be attained while maintaining weld current of 100 Amp. Thus, 100 Amp has been strongly
recommended for dissimilar welding of AA5083 and AA7075 aluminium alloy.

3. Presence of inter-metallic phases such as Al(Mg-Si), MgZn2,Mg2Si,Al3Fe, Al2Cu2Fe,


MgAl(Cu), Al2 CuMg, Al2CuFe4 and other inter-metallic are may be contributors to obtained weld
strength.

4. Combination of mixed mode i.e. ductile –brittle failure is found to be major mode of failure
while investigating failed tensile specimen.

5.0 Acknowledgements:
Authors would like to express deep sense of gratitude to Dr. K.V.L. Raju, Principal, MVGR
College of Engineering (A) and special thanks to Dr. R.Ramesh and Dr. S.Adinarayana for
publishing the research work and are highly obliged for their continuous motivation.

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