Corrosion Behaviour of Friction Stir Welded AA5xxx Aluminium Alloys

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Ramadan Abuaisha


Friction stir welding (FSW) is a well recognised method for joining aluminium alloys and other engineering materials at a temperature below their melting point. However, the microstructure of the alloys may be modified during the welding process due to frictional heat and severe plastic deformation.In this study, the microstructures of friction stir welded AA5754-H111 and AA5083-O aluminium alloys have been investigated using optical microscopy, transmission and scanning electron microscopy equipped with electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) and energy dispersive x-ray (EDX) facilities. Typical weld zones introduced by FSW were observed. Further, a joint line remnant flaw (JLR) within the thermomechanical affected zone (TMAZ) of the welds was also revealed. The formation of the JLR is attributed to dispersion of the magnesium rich oxides within the joining line.The effect of the modified alloy microstructure on the corrosion behaviour of the welds has been investigated by corrosion susceptibility testing and ex-situ SEM examination. Both parent alloys and welds showed good exfoliation and intergranular corrosion resistance (IGC). However, severe localized corrosion was observed at joint line remnant and the weld root.Reduced hardness was recorded in the heat affected zone (HAZ) of AA5754-H111 aluminium alloy weldment. This is attributed to the heat generated during welding that led to grain coarsening. In contrast, slightly increased hardness was recorded within the TMAZ. This was related to the grain refinement as a result of the recrystallization process that took place due to the effect of the thermal cycle and the plastic deformation. Little hardness change was recorded within AA5083-O aluminium alloy weldment. This was attributed to the effect of the alloy temper condition.Thermal simulation of the service environment of the friction stir welded alloys was conducted to assess the resistance to sensitization of welds. After exposure of the welded AA5754 and AA5083 alloys at 50, 70 and 170°C for prolonged time, the resistance of the AA5083 alloy weld to the IGC drastically decreased owing to the precipitation of magnesium rich particles known as β-phase at the grain boundaries. On the contrary, the resistance of the AA5754 alloy weld to IGC remained after the thermal exposure. Thus, the level of Mg content in Al-Mg alloys plays an important role in determining the corrosion characteristics of the alloys. The precipitation of Mg rich particles (β-phase) on the grain boundary is the determining factor for the resistance of the AA5xxx alloys to IGC owing to the difference in the electrode potentials between the β-phase and the grain interior, which leads to the generation of microgalvanic cells and selective dissolution of the grain boundary.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Peter Skeldon (Supervisor)
Award date1 Aug 2013