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Tool-Workpiece Interface Temperature Measurement in Friction Stir Welding

[+] Author Affiliations
Axel Fehrenbacher, Joshua R. Schmale, Michael R. Zinn, Frank E. Pfefferkorn

University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI

Paper No. MSEC2012-7326, pp. 169-178; 10 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference collocated with the 40th North American Manufacturing Research Conference and in participation with the International Conference on Tribology Materials and Processing
  • ASME 2012 International Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference
  • Notre Dame, Indiana, USA, June 4–8, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Manufacturing Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5499-0
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


The objectives of this work are to develop an improved temperature measurement system for Friction Stir Welding (FSW). FSW is a novel joining technology enabling welds with excellent metallurgical and mechanical properties, as well as significant energy consumption and cost savings compared to traditional fusion welding processes.

The measurement of temperatures during FSW is employed for process monitoring, heat transfer model verification and process control, but current methods have limitations due to their restricted spatial and temporal resolution and have found only few industrial applications so far. Thermocouples, which are most commonly used, are either placed too far away from the weld zone or are destructively embedded into the weld path, and therefore fail to provide suitable data about the dynamic thermal phenomena at the tool-workpiece interface.

Previous work showed that temperatures at the tool shoulder-workpiece interface can be measured and utilized for closed-loop control of temperature. The method is improved by adding an additional thermocouple at the tool pin-workpiece interface to gain better insight into the temperature distribution in the weld zone. Both thermocouples were placed in through holes right at the interface of tool and workpiece so that the sheaths are in contact with the workpiece material. This measurement strategy reveals dynamic temperature variations at the shoulder and the pin within a single rotation of the tool in real-time.

Due to the thermocouple’s limited response time and inherent delays due to physical heat conduction, the temperature response is experiencing attenuation in magnitude and a phase lag. Heat transfer models were constructed to correct for this issue. It was found that the highest temperatures are between the advancing side and the trailing edge of the tool. Further work is needed to increase the accuracy of the correction. Experimental results show that the weld quality is sensitive to the measured interface temperatures, but that temperature is not the only factor influencing the weld quality.

The dynamic temperature measurements obtained with the current system are of unmatched resolution, fast and reliable and are likely to be of interest for both fundamental studies and process control of FSW.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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