Correlation of microstructure and mechanical properties in friction stir welded 2198-T8 Al-Li alloy
In this study, the 1.8. mm thick cold-rolled sheets of 2198-T8 Al-Li alloy were manufactured by friction stir welding (FSW) at a rotation rate of 800. rpm and a travel speed of 300. mm/min. The microstructure and mechanical properties of different regions of the produced joint were evaluated by means of optical microscopy (OM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), hardness testing and tensile testing. Results show that the original "pancake" grains became coarser in the heat affected zone (HAZ), transformed into equiaxed grains in the stir shoulder zone (SsZ) and stir pin zone (SpZ), and formed mixed grains with both "pancake" and equiaxed shapes in the thermo-mechanical affected zone (TMAZ). The hardness distribution in the cross-section of the FSW joint exhibited a "basin" shape. When approaching the weld centre, the hardness gradually decreased compared to the base metal (BM). The BM exhibited the highest strength due to the presence of fine T1 phase. In the HAZ, the strength decreased as T1 phase was partially dissolved. In the SsZ and SpZ, in spite of strength contribution from grain refinement, the strength further decreased as T1 phase was fully dissolved. The minimum strength in the TMAZ was related to the reduced amount of T1 phase and the presence of transition layer with sharp gradient of grain size.
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