Aluminum alloys because of their high strength to weight ratio have various applications as structural material in railways, ship building, aeronautics, construction, and consumer appliances. This increased use of aluminum alloys calls for more efficient and reliable welding processes which has always represented a great challenge for designers and technologists. AA-6061 Aluminum Alloy (Al-Mg-Si) is widely used in the aircraft industry and has gathered wider acceptance in the fabrication of light weight structures. The preferred welding process for this alloy is Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) process due to their comparatively easier applicability, high yield, and better economy. Major difficulties are associated with this type of welding process, such as, the presence of tenacious oxide layer, high coefficient of thermal expansion, solidification shrinkage, solubility of hydrogen, and other gases in the molten state. Furthermore, problems such as decay of mechanical properties due to phase transformation and softening can occur in the heat-affected-zone (HAZ). Post weld heat treatment can be used to improve the strength of the HAZ for heat-treatable alloys like AA-6061. Hence, the major objectives of this work was to conduct a systematic study and gain an in-depth understanding of the effect of post-weld heat treatment (PWHT) of these joints on tensile properties, micro hardness, microstructure, and fracture surface morphology of butt-welded joints. It was found that of all the PWHT processes, Age-hardening (AH) resulted in superior mechanical properties and hardness. The reason for this enhanced strength has also been studied from metallurgical point of view. Microstructure and fracture surface of the tensile tested specimens were studied using light microscope and scanning electron microscope, respectively. Correlation has been drawn between the tensile test results, microhardness and the metallurgical results. It was found that the uniformly dense precipitation of fine Mg2Si, and the lack of precipitate-free zone could be the reason for the superior results found.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.