Resistance Spot Welding of AlSi-coated Ultra High Strength Steel : An experimental study
Abstract: The automotive industry of today faces ever harder requirements from regulatory bodies to increase the fuel efficiency, reduce the carbon footprint and increase the safety of their vehicles. The problem is being tackled in different ways; one of them being the use of innovative materials to reduce the overall weight while improving the crash safety of the vehicle. One such material is 22MnB5, an ultra-high strength (UHS) boron-alloyed steel, capable of reaching tensile strength of 1900 MPa. The weldability is a vital factor for applying boron steel in an efficient way into a vehicle construction. Resistance spot welding (RSW) is, among the different welding methods, the primary joining methods used within the automotive industry. The main challenges with RSW of UHS boron steel is the narrow welding window and increased risk of expulsion compared to conventional automotive steel. The aim of this thesis was evaluating how the weldability of three-sheet UHS boron steel combinations could be improved by applying different innovative welding methods. The methods investigated where; three-pulsed welding, two-pulsed welding with force profile and using hollow-cone electrodes instead of regular electrodes. The different methods where evaluated with welding experiments and analysis of the nugget diameter, vicker hardness comparison and tensile strength test of welding nugget. The results from this thesis shows that the current window of three-sheet combinations with UHS boron steel can be significantly improved by using hollow-cone electrodes in RSW. The results also showed that the width of the current window varied depending on the depth of the hole in the electrode, a deeper hole improved the current window but also increased the oxide build-up. Applying a force profile with lowered electrode force during the welding sequence provided an improved process window compared to the constant electrode force when welding a three-sheet combination containing AlSi-coated boron steel. A three-pulse welding sequence performed better than the reference two-pulse welding schedule but still not good enough to meet VCC acceptance criteria.
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