Research Papers

Resistance Spot Welding of Ultra-Thin Automotive Steel

[+] Author and Article Information
YanSong Zhang

e-mail: zhangyansong@sjtu.edu.cn
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Digital
Manufacture for Thin-walled Structures,
School of Mechanical Engineering,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
Shanghai 200240, PRC

XinMin Lai

State Key Laboratory of Mechanical,
System and Vibration,School of Mechanical Engineering,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
Shanghai 200240, PRC

Pei-Chung Wang

Manufacturing Systems Research Laboratory,
General Motors R&D Center,
Warren, MI 48090

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering. Manuscript received May 21, 2012; final manuscript received December 27, 2012; published online March 22, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Wei Li.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 135(2), 021012 (Mar 22, 2013) (10 pages) Paper No: MANU-12-1156; doi: 10.1115/1.4023367 History: Received May 21, 2012; Revised December 27, 2012

One of the major challenges in spot welding of ultra-thin gage steel (e.g., <0.6 mm) is the short cap life. Because of the elevated temperature developed at the electrode/sheet interface, the electrodes often require dressing or replacement within a fraction of the time when welding more traditional automotive gage steel (>0.75 mm). In this study, the method of inserting flexible strips between the electrode and workpiece in resistance spot welding of 0.4 mm thick galvanized SAE1004 steel sheet has been adopted in order to reduce electrode tip temperature and improve weld quality. The effect of the inserted strips on the Joule heat generation and temperature distribution has been analyzed analytically. Then, because of the difficulties in measuring the experimental electrode tip temperature, a finite element model has been employed to estimate temperature distributions within the weld zone. The effects of the process variables (i.e., strip material and thickness) on the cap temperature and weld quality were modeled. Experiments were also conducted to validate the modeling results. Test data and modeling results showed that the presence of the strip significantly facilitated weld initiation and growth and decreased the rate of electrode degradation. Of the materials investigated, the desirable strip for resistance spot welding 0.4 mm thick galvanized SAE1004 steel was determined to be 0.12 mm thick Cu55Ni45 alloy.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Peças, P., Henrique, M., Miranda, R. M., and Quintino, L., 1995, “Laser Welding of Low-Thickness Zinc-Coated and Uncoated Carbon Steel Sheets,” Opt. Quantum Electron., 27, pp. 1193–1201. [CrossRef]
Irving, B., 1996, “The Search Goes on for the Perfect Resistance Welding Control,” Weld. J., 75(1), pp. 63–68.
Li, W., Cheng, S., Hu, S. J., and Shriver, J., 2001, “Statistical Investigation on Resistance Spot Welding Quality Using a Two-Stage, Sliding-Level Experiment,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 123(3), pp. 513–520. [CrossRef]
Williams, N. T., and Parker, J. D., 2004, “Review of Resistance Spot Welding of Steel Sheets Part 2 Factors Influencing Electrode Life,” Int. Mater. Rev., 49(2), pp. 77–108. [CrossRef]
Parker, J. D., and Williams, N. T., 1998, “Mechanisms of Electrode Degradation When Spot Welding Coated Steels,” Sci. Technol. Weld. Join., 3(2), pp. 65–74. [CrossRef]
Holliday, R. J., Parker, J. D., and Williams, N. T., 1995, “Electrode Deformation When Spot Welding Coated Steels,” Weld. World, 35(3), pp. 160–164. [CrossRef]
Freytag, N. A., 1965, “A Comprehensive Study of Spot Welding Galvanized Steel,” Weld. J., 44(4), pp. 145s–156s.
Holliday, R. J., Parker, J. D., and Williams, N. T., 1996, “Relative Contribution of Electrode Tip Growth Mechanisms in Spot Welding Zinc Coated Steels,” Weld. World, 37(4), pp. 186–193.
Chen, Z., and Zhou, Y., 2006, “Surface Modification of Resistance Welding Electrode by Electro-Spark Deposited Composite Coatings: Part I—Coating Characterization,” Surf. Coat. Technol., 201, pp. 1503–1510. [CrossRef]
Dong, S. J., 2003, “Effects of TiC Composite Coating on Electrode Degradation in Micro Resistance Welding of Nickel-Plated Steel,” Metall. Mater. Trans. A, 34(7), pp. 1501–1511. [CrossRef]
Lai, X. M., Luo, A. H., Zhang, Y. S., and Chen, G. L., 2009, “Optimal Design of Electrode Cooling System for Resistance Spot Welding With the Response Surface Method,” Int. J. Adv. Manuf. Technol., 41, pp. 226–233. [CrossRef]
Qiu, R. F., Satonaka, S., and Iwamoto, C., 2009, “In Situ Scanning Electron Microscopy Observation of Fracture Crack Propagation in the Welding Interface Between Aluminum Alloy and Steel,” Mater. Sci. Technol., 25(10), pp. 1189–1192. [CrossRef]
Chang, B. H., and Li, M. V., 2001, “Comparative Study of Small Scale and Large Scale Resistance Spot Welding,” Sci. Technol. Weld. Join., 6(5), pp. 273–280. [CrossRef]
Chuko, W., and Gould, J. E., 2002, “Development of Appropriate Resistance Spot Welding Practice for Transformation-Hardened Steels,” Weld. J., 81(1), pp. 1s–8s.
Gould, J. E., Khurana, S. P., and Li, T., 2006, “Predictions of Microstructures When Welding Automotive Advanced High-Strength Steels,” Weld. J., 85(5), pp. 111s–116s.
Davis, J. R., ed., 1998, Metals Handbook, Desk ed., ASM International, Materials Park, OH, pp. 55–65.
Li, W., 2005, “Modeling and On-Line Estimation of Electrode Wear in Resistance Spot Welding,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 127(4), pp. 709–717. [CrossRef]
Li, W., Cerjanec, D., and Grzadzinski, G. A., 2005, “A Comparative Study of Single-Phase AC and Multiphase DC Resistance Spot Welding,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 127(3), pp. 583–589. [CrossRef]
Chang, B. H., Du, D., Sui, B., Zhou, Y., Wang, Z., and Heidarzadeh, F., 2007, “Effect of Forging Force on Fatigue Behavior of Spot Welded Joints of Aluminum Alloy 5182,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 129(1), pp. 95–100. [CrossRef]
Shen, J., Zhang, Y. S., Lai, X. M., and Wang, P. C., 2010, “Modeling of Resistance Spot Welding of Multiple Stacks of Steel Sheets,” Mater. Des., 32, pp. 550–560. [CrossRef]
Harlin, N., Jones, T. B., and Parker, J. D., 2003, “Weld Growth Mechanism of Resistance Spot Welds in Zinc Coated Steel,” J. Mater. Process. Technol., 143–144, pp. 448–453. [CrossRef]
Gupta, O. P., and De, A., 1998, “An Improved Numerical Modeling for Resistance Spot Welding Process and Its Experimental Verification,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 120(2), pp. 246–251. [CrossRef]
Nied, H. A., 1984, “The Finite Element Modeling of the Resistance Spot Welding Process,” Weld. J., 63(4), pp. 123s–132s.
Hou, Z. G., Kim, I.-S., Wang, Y. X., Li, C. Z., and Chen, C. Y., 2007, “Finite Element Analysis for the Mechanical Features of Resistance Spot Welding Process,” J. Mater. Proc. Technol., 185, pp. 160–165. [CrossRef]
Wang, M., Zhang, H. T., Pan, H., and Lei, M., 2009, Numerical Simulation of Nugget Formation in Resistance Spot Welding of DP590 Dual-Phase Steel, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press, Vol. 43, pp. 56–60.
Rogeona, P., Carrea, P., Costaa, J., Sibilia, G., and Saindrenanb, G., 2008, “Characterization of Electrical Contact Conditions in Spot Welding Assemblies,” J. Mater. Proc. Technol., 195, pp. 117–124. [CrossRef]
Babu, S. S., Santella, M. L., Feng, Z., Riemer, B. W., and Cohron, J. W., 2001, “Empirical Model of Effects of Pressure and Temperature on Electrical Contact Resistance of Metals,” Sci. Technol. Weld. Join., 6(3), pp. 126–132. [CrossRef]
Song, Q. F., Zhang, W. Q., and Niels, B., 2005, “An Experimental Study Determines the Electrical Contact Resistance in Resistance Welding,” Weld. J., 84(5), pp. 73s–76s.
American Welding Society, 1997, “Recommended Practices for Test Methods for Evaluating the Resistance Spot Welding Behavior of Automotive Sheet Steel Materials,” Report No. ANSI/AWS/SAE/D8.9-97.
Aslanlar, S., 2006, “The Effect of Nucleus Size on Mechanical Properties in Electrical Resistance Spot Welding of Sheets Used in Automotive Industry,” Mater. Des., 27, pp. 125–131. [CrossRef]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

(a) Schematic and (b) experiment setup of resistance welding with inserted flexible strips

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Heat generation during RSW process

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

(a) Geometric model and (b) boundary conditions for modeling of resistance welding of thin gage steel

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Distribution of (a) contact pressure and (b) current density at the sheet/sheet interface

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Typical temperature contours at the instant that current is terminated (a) without strips under welding current of 6.5 kA, (b) with 0.10 mm thick AISI304 strips under welding current of 5.7 kA and (c) temperature at the electrode surface versus welding time, and (d) temperature distribution from the weld center to the electrode at the end of welding along the Y-axis

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

(a) Contact pressure at sheet/sheet interface and (b) temperature at the weld center under different electrode force

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Calculated effect of the resistivity of the strip material on temperature distribution along the (a) Y-axis and (b) X-axis in resistance welding of 0.4 mm thick galvanized SAE1004 steel

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

(a) Calculated effect of Cu55Ni45 alloy strip thickness on temperature distribution and (b) electrode tip temperature/temperature at sheet/strip interface versus strip thickness relationship

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Top view and typical cross section of spot welded galvanized 0.4 mm thick SAE1004 steel (a), (b) without strip under 5.7 kA, 160 ms, 1.8 kN, (c)–(h) with 0.10 mm thick AISI304 strip under 5.7 kA, 160 ms and (c), (d) 1.8 kN, (e), (f) 1.4 kN and (g), (h) 2.2 kN

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

(a) Effect of strip on the weld formation and cross section of spot welded galvanized 0.4 mm thick SAE1004 steel, (b) with 0.10 mm thick AISI304 strips, and (c) without strips under the weld condition of 1.8 kN, 5.7 kA and 160 ms

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Effect of the inserted strip on the (a) electrode profiles and (b) growth in electrode surface diameter during electrode wear test under the weld condition of 1.8 kN, 5.7 kA and 160 ms

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

SEM observation and EDS analysis of the electrode after 600 welds, (a), (b) without strip; (c), (d) with 0.10 mm thick AISI304 strip and (e), (f) with 0.12 mm thick Cu55Ni45 strip in resistance welding of 0.4 mm thick galvanized SAE 1004 steel




Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In