The Inhomogeneous Microstructure and Deformation of Similar and Dissimilar Al-Zn Containing Mg Friction Stir Welds
The magnesium-based aluminum-zinc alloys have excellent stiffness to weight ratios, and may be combined by friction stir welding to expand the possible applications. The high aluminum alloy AZ80 in particular has the advantage of being relatively stiff but still extrudable. However limited friction stir welding research is available for this alloy and extrapolation from the extensive work in aluminum alloys is impractical due differences in precipitation behaviour, and magnesium's high plastic anisotropy and tendency to form strong textures during friction stir welding. This work investigates the correlations between local friction stir welded microstructures, textures, residual strains, and the local deformation behaviour based on strain mapping during tensile tests. Covering bead-on-plate and butt configurations, joining of similar and dissimilar materials, and a range of processing conditions, many findings of interest for deformation modelling and industrial applications are presented. Synchrotron x-ray diffraction study of an entire friction stir weld was used to determine texture, residual strain and dislocation density data from a single experiment. A number of unique findings were made, mainly related to the asymmetric distribution of properties both between sides of the weld and through the depth. Particularly in the case of strain measurements, features not detectable at coarser measurement spacing or by line scan are presented and compared for multiple processing conditions. Investigation of the longitudinal material flow during welding showed that even when periodicity in grain size, precipitate distribution, or texture was not observed, periodic changes in texture intensity resulting from compaction of material behind the tool were present, providing evidence that movement of nugget material remained periodic. Strain localisation and fracture behaviour were found to be completely different between good quality similar and dissimilar friction stir welds. For similar magnesium friction stir welds, higher heat input was shown to improve mechanical performance by reducing the residual strain, while for dissimilar friction stir welds, deformation behaviour was found to be more sensitive to the final material distribution in the friction stir weld nugget. For dissimilar welds, even minor changes to the material flow were shown to have a major impact on the tensile performance.