Published in Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Engrg. Vol. 254, pp. 353-369, 2013
doi: 10.1016/j.cma.2012.09.013


This work describes the formulation adopted for the numerical simulation of the friction stir welding (FSW) process. FSW is a solid-state joining process (the metal is not melted during the process) devised for applications where the original metallurgical characteristics must be retained. This process is primarily used on aluminum alloys, and most often on large pieces which cannot be easily heat treated to recover temper characteristics.

Heat is either induced by the friction between the tool shoulder and the work pieces or generated by the mechanical mixing (stirring and forging) process without reaching the melting point (solid-state process).

To simulate this kind of welding process, a fully coupled thermo-mechanical solution is adopted. A sliding mesh, rotating together with the pin (ALE formulation), is used to avoid the extremely large distortions of the mesh around the tool in the so called stirring zone while the rest of the mesh of the sheet is fixed (Eulerian formulation).

The orthogonal subgrid scale (OSS) technique is used to stabilize the mixed velocity–pressure formulation adopted to solve the Stokes problem. This stabilized formulation can deal with the incompressible behavior of the material allowing for equal linear interpolation for both the velocity and the pressure fields.

The material behavior is characterized either by Norton–Hoff or Sheppard–Wright rigid thermo-visco-plastic constitutive models.

Both the frictional heating due to the contact interaction between the surface of the tool and the sheet, and the heat induced by the visco-plastic dissipation of the stirring material have been taken into account. Heat convection and heat radiation models are used to dissipate the heat through the boundaries.

Both the streamline-upwind/Petrov–Galerkin (SUPG) formulation and the OSS stabilization technique have been implemented to stabilize the convective term in the balance of energy equation.

The numerical simulations presented are intended to show the accuracy of the proposed methodology and its capability to study real FSW processes where a non-circular pin is often used.

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Published on 01/01/2013

DOI: 10.1016/j.cma.2012.09.013
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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