Microstructure evolution during friction stir welding of mill-annealed Ti-6Al-4V

A. L. Pilchak, W. Tang, H. Sahiner, A. P. Reynolds, J. C. Williams

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In this study, mill-annealed Ti-6Al-4V plates were successfully friction stir welded over a wide range of processing parameters using a tungsten-1 pct La2O3 tool. Two K-type thermocouples embedded in the tool indicated that approximately 25 pct of the heat generated during welding was transferred out of the workpiece and into the tool. The thermocouple data, combined with observations of the microstructure, indicated that the stir zone of all welds exceeded the β transus. The microstructure and texture of two representative welds made just above and high above the β transus were investigated with scanning electron microscopy and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). The β phase orientations were reconstructed with a fully automated technique from the as-collected α phase data through knowledge of the Burgers orientation relationship. The results suggest that the fine β grains in the stir zone are formed from the base material ahead of the advancing tool by dissolution of secondary and primary α phase, and there is no further recrystallization. These grains subsequently deform by slip and rotate toward the orientations that are most stable with respect to the shear deformation induced by the tool. In the highest temperature weld, diffusion tool wear in the form of periodically spaced bands provided an internal marker of the tool/workpiece interface during welding. The flow patterns evident within the tungsten-enriched bands suggest that flow is considerably more chaotic on the advancing side than in the central stir zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-762
Number of pages18
JournalMetallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

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