Date of Thesis

12-16-2013

Thesis Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Type

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Constance Ziemian

Abstract

ASTM A529 carbon¿manganese steel angle specimens were joined by flash butt welding and the effects of varying process parameter settings on the resulting welds were investigated. The weld metal and heat affected zones were examined and tested using tensile testing, ultrasonic scanning, Rockwell hardness testing, optical microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectroscopy in order to quantify the effect of process variables on weld quality. Statistical analysis of experimental tensile and ultrasonic scanning data highlighted the sensitivity of weld strength and the presence of weld zone inclusions and interfacial defects to the process factors of upset current, flashing time duration, and upset dimension. Subsequent microstructural analysis revealed various phases within the weld and heat affected zone, including acicular ferrite, Widmanstätten or side-plate ferrite, and grain boundary ferrite. Inspection of the fracture surfaces of multiple tensile specimens, with scanning electron microscopy, displayed evidence of brittle cleavage fracture within the weld zone for certain factor combinations. Test results also indicated that hardness was increased in the weld zone for all specimens, which can be attributed to the extensive deformation of the upset operation. The significance of weld process factor levels on microstructure, fracture characteristics, and weld zone strength was analyzed. The relationships between significant flash welding process variables and weld quality metrics as applied to ASTM A529-Grade 50 steel angle were formalized in empirical process models.

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