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Gap-free fibre laser welding of Zn-coated steel on Al alloy for light-weight automotive applications

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date02/2011
JournalMaterials & design
Journal number2
Volume32
Number of pages10
Pages495-504
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

As a result of new policies related to global warming announced by the European Union, avoiding unnecessary energy waste and reducing environmental pollution levels are becoming a major issue in the automotive industry. Accordingly, the lap welding of Zn-coated steels process, which is commonly used for producing car doors, has been gradually developed to lap welding of Zn-coated steel to light materials, such as Al alloy, Mg alloy and composite materials, in order to effectively reduce the vehicle weight. In certain part of car manufacture, organic glues are used to temporally join the Zn-coated steels and Al alloys before permanent welding takes place. The stability of such temporary joining by glues needs improving. Laser "stitching" or low strength welding could be considered as an alternative. However, challenges exist in joining Zn-coated steel on Al alloy by laser welding, due to significant differences of material properties between the two welding materials. Porosity, spatter and intermetallic brittle phases are readily produced in the weld. In this study, the effects of welding speed, laser power, number of the welding passes and type of shielding gas in gap-free welding of Zn-coated steel on Al alloy were investigated using a 1 kW single mode continuous wave fibre laser. Results show that a weld with higher shear strengths in the laser stitching application and less intermetallic phases could be obtained when nitrogen gas was used as the shielding gas. The corrosion resistance and the surface finish of the weld could be improved in double pass welding, especially when argon gas was used as the shielding gas. Crown Copyright (C) 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.