Research Papers

Effect of Process Parameters on Joint Formation and Mechanical Performance in Friction Stir Blind Riveting of Aluminum Alloys

[+] Author and Article Information
YunWu Ma, ZhongQin Lin

State Key Laboratory of Mechanical System
and Vibration,
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Digital Manufacture
for Thin-Walled Structures,
School of Mechanical Engineering,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
Shanghai 200240, China

YongBing Li

State Key Laboratory of Mechanical System
and Vibration,
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Digital Manufacture
for Thin-Walled Structures,
School of Mechanical Engineering,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
Shanghai 200240, China
e-mail: yongbinglee@sjtu.edu.cn

Blair E. Carlson

Manufacturing Systems Research Lab,
General Motors Global R&D,
30500 Mound Road, Warren, MI 48090

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received August 6, 2017; final manuscript received January 15, 2018; published online March 13, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Yannis Korkolis.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 140(6), 061007 (Mar 13, 2018) (11 pages) Paper No: MANU-17-1501; doi: 10.1115/1.4039118 History: Received August 06, 2017; Revised January 15, 2018

Aluminum alloys have been increasingly adopted in the fabrication of automotive body structures as an integral component of mass savings strategy. However, mixed use of dissimilar aluminum alloys, such as sheet metals, castings, and extrusions, poses significant challenges to the existing joining technologies, especially in regard to single-sided joint access. To address this issue, the current study applied the friction stir blind riveting (FSBR) process to join 1.2 mm-thick AA6022-T4 aluminum alloy to 3 mm-thick Aural-2 cast aluminum. A newly developed, robot mounted, servo-driven, FSBR equipment and the procedure using it to make FSBR joints were introduced systematically. The effect of rivet feed rate and spindle speed on joint formation and cross section geometry was investigated, and it was found that a high spindle speed and a low rivet feed rate, i.e., high heat input, are prone to produce good joints, and that low heat input can cause severe problems related to insufficient softening of the sheets. The rivet deformation, especially the notch location on the mandrel relative to the shank has significant influence on lap-shear strength and fracture mode of the final joints. A rivet pull-out fracture mode was observed at higher rivet feed rates and lower spindle speeds and exhibited significantly improved energy absorption capability, i.e., 62% higher compared to traditional blind riveted (BR) joints.

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Fig. 1

Commercial Stavex rivet: (a) as-received rivet and (b) specific dimensions

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Fig. 2

Schematic of FSBR process: (a) rivet plunging, (b) friction drilling, (c) hole forming, (d) shank upsetting, and (e) mandrel fracture/removal

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Fig. 3

Experimental setup: (a) robot mounted FSBR equipment, (b) close-up view of the rivet gun, (c) coupon fixture, and (d) schematic of the semifinished FSBR joint on the fixture with a clearance hole

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Fig. 4

Rivet clamping and fracture mechanism: (a) physical position relationship of rivet and spindle, and the relative position of rivet, nozzle tip, clamps, and clamp housing inside the spindle, (b) rivet loading, (c) rivet clamping, (d) shank upsetting, and (e) mandrel fracture

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Fig. 5

Schematic of the coupons: 1.2-mm-thick AA6022-T4 aluminum alloy sheet and 3-mm-thick Aural-2 die cast aluminum alloy. All measurement units are mm.

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Fig. 6

Cross section and appearance of FSBR joints at different process parameter settings: (a) sound joint obtained at ω= 12,000 rpm and f= 3 mm/s, (b) joint with quality issue “A” obtained at ω = 6000 RPM and f = 9 mm/s, and (c) quality issue “B” appeared at ω = 9000 RPM and f = 12 mm/s

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Fig. 7

Force and torque analysis during friction drilling process of FSBR

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Fig. 8

Evidence of relative rotational motion between rivet and spindle: (a) smooth mandrel surface and overheated broken end and (b) rivet shank buckled and welded to the nozzle tip

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Fig. 9

Rivet/joint profile and rivet length measurement results: (a) as-received rivet, (a′) BR joint; (b), (c), and (d) are photos of polished FSBR joint cross section fabricated with rivet feed rates of 3 mm/s, 6 mm/s, and 9 mm/s, respectively, and a spindle speed of 9000 rpm and all prior to upsetting; (b′), (c′), and (d′) are photos of comparable polished joints as (b), (c), and (d) though after upsetting

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Fig. 10

Rivet length before and after the shank upsetting step for various spindle rotation speeds. (a) 12,000 rpm, (b) 9000 rpm, and (c) 6000 rpm. Note that only the FSBR joints with no quality issues, i.e., marked with “” in Table 2, were tested.

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Fig. 11

Lap-shear strength of the sound FSBR joints and BR joints. Note that for FSBR joints, only those with no quality issues, i.e., marked with “” in Table 2, were tested.

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Fig. 12

Fracture modes of the FSBR joints: (a) fracture mode “S”: shank shearing and (b) fracture mode “P”: rivet pull-out

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Fig. 13

Microhardness testing of the FSBR joint: (a) Indentation patterns on AA6022-T4, Aural-2 and rivet shank; (b), (c), and (d) microhardness testing results of the rivet shank before and after upsetting under the spindle speeds of 6000 rpm, 9000 rpm, and 12,000 rpm, respectively

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Fig. 14

Microhardness of aluminum alloy sheets in the FSBR joint: (a) top AA6022-T4 aluminum alloy sheet and (b) bottom Aural-2 cast aluminum

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Fig. 15

Plots of lap-shear strength, rivet length, and rivet shank hardness of the 1.2 mm AA6022-T4 aluminum sheet to 3 mm Aural-2 aluminum casting FSBR joints. Note, shank-shearing was the preferred fracture mode for all tests with a rivet feed rate of 3 mm/s regardless of spindle speed. All other rivet feed rates were associated with a preference for rivet pull-out fracture mode.

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Fig. 16

Schematic of the FSBR joint cross section, shank hardness, and lap-shear fracture mode making under the spindle speed of 9000 rpm and rivet feed rates ranging from 3 mm/s to 9 mm/s

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Fig. 17

Lap-shear load–displacement curves of the FSBR joints at ω = 9000 rpm, f= 3 mm/s, and ω = 9000 rpm, f = 9 mm/s, and the BR joints. Note that five repetitions were tested under each condition, the FSBR joints at ω = 9000 rpm, f = 3 mm/s and BR joints showed fracture mode “S”, while the FSBR joints at ω = 9000 rpm, f = 9 mm/s showed fracture mode” P”.




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