Residual Stress Development in AA7050 Stationary Shoulder Friction Stir Welds

  • Tianzhu Sun

Student thesis: Phd


Stationary shoulder friction stir welding (SSFSW) is a recently developed variant of conventional friction stir welding (FSW). Recent studies have shown that SSFSW can join high strength aluminum alloys with improved mechanical strength and reduced distortion as a result of a narrower and more uniform thermal profile. However, a lack of understanding on the residual stress development in the SSFSW process makes it difficult to assess the structural integrity and delays a widespread application of this technique to industry. This dissertation reports the first systematic investigation into the development of residual stress induced by the SSFSW process and comparison between SSFSW and FSW techniques. Welding residual stresses were experimentally assessed with both the contour method and neutron diffraction. The weld microstructure and hardness distributions were characterized and used to understand the formation of residual stresses during the welding process. The results have shown that for both FSW and SSFSW processes, the residual stresses distribute in the form of ‘M’ shaped profile while the magnitude and size of tensile residual stress zone were effectively reduced (by 25%) in the SSFSW process, even when input welding power was identical. Other improvements seen in the SSFSW process include a reduction in the heat affected zone width, an increase in the minimum hardness and a more uniform through-thickness microstructure and hardness. The dominating welding process parameter affecting the welding residual stress was travel speed as compared to rotation speed and tool downforce. With a 90 degree shaped shoulder, SSFSW has been shown to produce defect-free T-sections by dual fillet welds. For these components, an asymmetrical distribution of microstructure, hardness and residual stresses were found as a consequence of the thermal effects induced by second weld on the first weld. The material softening caused by the first weld provides the potential of utilizing a lower heat input on the subsequent pass so as to optimize the welding parameters.
Date of Award1 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPhilip Prangnell (Supervisor), Philip Withers (Supervisor) & Matthew Roy (Supervisor)


  • butt weld
  • neutron diffraction
  • T-joint
  • Residual stress
  • AA7050
  • contour method

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