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Research Papers

Solid-State Infiltration of 6061-T6 Aluminum Alloy Into Carbon Fibers Via Friction Stir Welding

[+] Author and Article Information
Daniel J. Franke

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Wisconsin Madison,
1513 University Avenue,
Mechanical Engineering Building 1001,
Madison, WI 53706
e-mail: dfranke2@wisc.edu

Justin D. Morrow

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Wisconsin Madison,
1513 University Avenue,
Mechanical Engineering Building 1001,
Madison, WI 53706
e-mail: justin.morrow6@gmail.com

Michael R. Zinn

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Wisconsin Madison,
1513 University Avenue,
Mechanical Engineering Building 3043,
Madison, WI 53706
e-mail: mzinn@wisc.edu

Frank E. Pfefferkorn

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Wisconsin Madison,
1513 University Avenue,
Mechanical Engineering Building 1031,
Madison, WI 53706
e-mail: frank.pfefferkorn@wisc.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received December 15, 2016; final manuscript received June 12, 2017; published online September 13, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Wayne Cai.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 139(11), 111014 (Sep 13, 2017) (9 pages) Paper No: MANU-16-1649; doi: 10.1115/1.4037421 History: Received December 15, 2016; Revised June 12, 2017

Hybrid welding/joining of lightweight metals to carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRPs) typically relies on the adhesive bond created when the molten polymer matrix hardens in contact with the metallic surface. It is hypothesized that these bonds can be improved upon by fully displacing the polymer and infiltrating the carbon fibers with the metallic constituent to create load-bearing fibers that bridge the two materials. Friction stir welding (FSW) holds potential to melt and displace the polymer matrix, plasticize the metal constituent, and force the plasticized metal to flow around the fibers. Preliminary investigations were performed by FSW in AA 6061-T6 plates sandwiched against dry carbon fiber bundles. The FSW process plasticizes the aluminum while applying pressure, forcing the material to flow around the fibers. Cross-sectional images of the samples were used to measure the distance of infiltration of the aluminum into the carbon fiber bed. A fiber infiltration model previously developed to describe the infiltration of carbon fibers with epoxy resins during resin transfer molding was applied to this solid-state infiltration situation, thus modeling the plasticized aluminum as a fluid with an effective viscosity. Promising agreement was seen between the measured distances of infiltration and the predicted distances of infiltration when using effective viscosity values predicted by computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations of FSW found in literature. This work indicates that the well-established epoxy infiltration model can form the basis of a model to describe solid-state infiltration of carbon fibers with a plasticized metal.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Depiction of the experimental process (not to scale). WD designates the term “working distance,” which describes the distance between the bottom of the probe tip and the fiber interface.

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Fig. 2

Histogram of typical grayscale image of cross section of aluminum–carbon fiber interface. Arrows point to the threshold value locations.

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Fig. 3

(a) Original image and (b) segmented image produced by image analysis program. Two examples of the pixels indexed for each column are shown via the arrows.

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Fig. 4

Segmented fibers on the bottom surface of a 4.76-mm thick aluminum sample with a working distance of approximately 0.2 mm

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Fig. 5

Intact fibers on the bottom surface of the 6.35-mm thick aluminum workpiece, processed with a working distance of approximately 1 mm

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Fig. 6

Representative images of samples processed at 1250 rpm and 25 mm/min: (a) one welding pass, (b) two welding passes, (c) three welding passes, and (d) four welding passes

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Fig. 7

Representative images of samples processed at 2500 rpm and 50 mm/min: (a) one welding pass, (b) two welding passes, and (c) three welding passes

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Fig. 8

(a) Original image of infiltrated carbon fibers and (b) segmented image used for calculating volume fraction of fibers

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Fig. 9

Comparison of experimental data with infiltration model at varying effective viscosities as process time is increased

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Fig. 10

Effect of volume fraction on distance of infiltration with the fiber radius held constant at 3.5 μm, viscosity held constant at 5 × 106 Pa·s, and pressure held constant at 25 MPa

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Fig. 11

Effect of radius of the fibers on the distance of infiltration with the volume fraction held constant at 0.5, viscosity held constant at 5 × 106 Pa·s, and pressure held constant at 25 MPa

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