Review of recent trends in friction stir welding process of aluminum alloys and aluminum metal matrix composites

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Transactions of Nonferrous Metals Society of China (English Edition)


Welding is a vital component of several industries such as automotive, aerospace, robotics, and construction. Without welding, these industries utilize aluminum alloys for the manufacturing of many components or systems. However, fusion welding of aluminum alloys is challenging due to several factors, including the presence of non-heat-treatable alloys, porosity, solidification, and liquation of cracks. Many manufacturers adopt conventional in-air friction stir welding (FSW) to weld metallic alloys and dissimilar materials. Many researchers reported the drawbacks of this traditional in-air FSW technique in welding metallic and polymeric materials in general and aluminum alloys and aluminum matrix composites in specific. A number of FSW techniques were developed recently, such as underwater friction stir welding (UFSW), vibrational friction-stir welding (VFSW), and others, for welding of aluminum alloy joints to overcome the issues of welding using conventional FSW. Therefore, the main objective of this review is to summarize the recent trends in FSW process of aluminum alloys and aluminum metal matrix composites (Al MMCs). Also, it discusses the effect of welding parameters of the traditional and state-of-the-art developed FSW techniques on the welding quality and strength of aluminum alloys and Al MMCs. Comparison among the techniques and advantages and limitations of each are considered. The review suggests that VFSW is a viable option for welding aluminum joints due to its energy efficiency, economic cost, and versatile modifications that can be employed based on the application. This review also illustrated that significantly less attention has been paid to FSW of Al-MMCs and considerable attention is demanded to produce qualified joint.

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