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Technical Report

Effect of post-weld heat treatments on microstructure and mechanical


properties of friction welded alloy 718 joints
R. Damodaram, S. Ganesh Sundara Raman

, K. Prasad Rao
Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai 600036, India
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 21 March 2013
Accepted 29 July 2013
Available online 6 August 2013
a b s t r a c t
The effect of post-weld heat treatments on the microstructure and mechanical properties of friction
welded joints of alloy 718 was studied in the present work. Alloy 718 rods were friction welded with
two prior heat treatments solution treatment and solution treatment and aging. Solution treatment
was done at 995 C for 1 h. Aging was done at 720 C for 8 h followed by furnace cooling to 620 C and
holding at 620 C for 8 h followed by air cooling. After friction welding, the joint samples were subjected
to two types of post-weld heat treatments direct aging (aging after welding, the same aging treatment
mentioned above) and solution treatment and aging. Electron back scattered diffraction technique and
transmission electron microscopy were used to study the development of microstructure. Hardness
and tensile properties of the weld joints were evaluated. In the as-welded condition, samples welded
with prior solution treatment and aging condition exhibited lower hardness at the weld zone and inferior
tensile properties compared to the base material due to the dissolution of strengthening precipitates in
the weld zone. On the other hand, formation of ne grains due to dynamic recrystallization led to higher
hardness at the weld zone compared to the base material welded with prior solution treatment condition.
Solution treatment and aging post-weld heat treatment resulted in an abnormal grain growth in the weld
zone and thermomechanically affected zone. Owing to the formation of strengthening precipitates, solu-
tion treatment and aging post-weld heat treatment resulted in a signicant increase in tensile strength of
joint samples compared to that of as-welded friction weld joints. However, solution treatment and aging
post-weld heat treatment done on friction weld joint samples with prior solution treatment or solution
treatment and aging heat treatment condition resulted in inferior tensile properties compared to those of
samples subjected to direct aging post-weld heat treatment. This may be attributed to grain coarsening
that occurred during the post-weld solution treatment. Therefore, direct aging after welding is the recom-
mended post-weld heat treatment for friction welded alloy 718 joints as compared to solution treatment
and aging after welding.
2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Alloy 718 is a c
00
(Ni
3
Nb) strengthened NiFe based superalloy
that exhibits excellent corrosion resistance and outstanding
strength at elevated temperatures. Alloy 718 is commonly welded
using fusion welding techniques such as tungsten inert gas weld-
ing, electron beam welding, and laser welding [1]. However, there
are problems associated with fusion welding of alloy 718 such as
the formation of Laves phase, Niobium segregation, microssuring,
which could occur in the fusion zone or heat affected zone (HAZ),
and affect the mechanical properties and service life [26]. Appli-
cation of a solid state welding process like friction welding could
be an alternative joining method to overcome these problems.
Friction welding has been commercially used in joining of aero
engine components, such as turbine blade disk (blisk) assemblies,
compressor wheel, compressor rotor, and rotor drum [7,8]. During
friction welding process, the material at the weld zone, thermome-
chanically affected zone (TMAZ) and HAZ undergoes changes in
temperature, gradient of strain, strain rate and microstructure.
Friction weld zone, in general, consists of very ne grains due to
the occurrence of dynamic recrystallization during the process
[9]. Wang et al. [10] reported an average grain size of 25 lm in
friction weld zone of alloy 718.
As the temperatures experienced during friction welding are
above the solvus temperatures of the strengthening precipitates,
dissolution of the precipitates can occur in the weld zone and
TMAZ/HAZ. Post-weld heat treatment is hence recommended to
regain the mechanical properties of alloy in the weld zone. Wang
et al. [11] observed no change in the ne grain microstructure of
weld zone after post-weld solution treatment at 1050 C followed
by aging treatment. Daus et al. [12] observed a reduction in hard-
ness value in the weld zone compared to base material due to dis-
solution of c
00
precipitates and loss in hardness could be recovered
0261-3069/$ - see front matter 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.matdes.2013.07.091

Corresponding author. Tel.: +91 44 22574768; fax: +91 44 22570509.


E-mail address: ganesh@iitm.ac.in (S. Ganesh Sundara Raman).
Materials and Design 53 (2014) 954961
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after a post-weld heat treatment (PWHT) due to reprecipitation of
c
00
and c
0
precipitates in RR 1000 (Ni- based super alloy) to Inconel
718 inertia friction weld zone. Huang et al. [13] reported that pre-
cipitate coarsening and reduction in strength depend on holding
time during PWHT of inertia friction welded Alloy 720Li to Inconel
718. Kim et al. [14] observed improvement in the mechanical prop-
erties after PWHT for 8 h on friction welded alloy 718 and SNCrW
stainless steel (in wt% 0.2 C, 1.4 Si, 19.8 Cr, 9.5 Ni and 68.3 Fe) due
to the formation of c
00
strengthening precipitate.
In our previous work [15], we reported the microstructure and
mechanical properties of friction welded alloy 718 joints in the as-
welded and post-weld direct aged conditions. Samples welded in
prior solution treatment followed by aging (STA) condition exhib-
ited lower hardness at the weld interface compared to the base
material in STA condition due to the dissolution of strengthening
precipitates. After post-weld aging, a signicant increase in hard-
ness was observed in the weld zone for samples welded in STA
and solution treatment conditions. The present work was under-
taken to study the effect of post-weld STA treatment on micro-
structure and mechanical properties of friction welded alloy 718
joints. The results were compared with those of welds subjected
to direct aging treatment.
2. Experimental details
The chemical composition (in wt%) of base material alloy 718
used in the present study was 51.6 Ni, 18.2 Cr, 5.1 Nb, 3.28 Mo,
1.06 Ti, 0.56 Al, 0.33 V, 0.09 Mn, 0.01 S, 0.004 C, 0.003 B and
19.763 Fe. Alloy 718 rods of 13 mm diameter were subjected to
two different heat treatment conditions prior to welding: (i) solu-
tion treatment (ST) and (ii) STA. Solution treatment was carried out
at 995 C for 1 h and aging was done at 720 C for 8 h followed by
furnace cooling to 620 C and then aging at 620 C for 8 h followed
by air cooling to room temperature. A furnace with a programma-
ble controller was used for the heat treatment. The temperature
was measured in the furnace chamber. The difference between
the measured temperature and the actual sample temperature
was within 3 C. The average cooling rate achieved in the furnace
was 2 C/min.
A continuous drive rotary friction welding machine was used
for welding. Weld parameters used were as follows: friction pres-
sure of 300 MPa, upset pressure of 600 MPa, burn off length of
4 mm and speed of 1500 rpm. These parameters were chosen after
a number of trial experiments were done with parameters varying
in the following range friction pressure between 200 and
Table 1
Sample codes used to represent samples in different conditions.
Sl.
no.
Sample condition Code
1 Base material in ST condition B1
2 Base material in STA condition B2
3 Weld joint with ST as the pre-weld heat treatment W1
4 Weld joint with STA as the pre-weld heat treatment W2
5 Weld joint with ST as the pre-weld heat treatment and DA as
the post-weld heat treatment
W3
6 Weld joint with STA as the pre-weld heat treatment and DA as
the post-weld heat treatment
W4
7 Weld joint with ST as the pre-weld heat treatment and STA as
the post-weld heat treatment
W5
8 Weld joint with STA as the pre-weld heat treatment and STA as
the post-weld heat treatment
W6
Fig. 1. Macrostructure of a friction welded joint in the as welded condition (W2
sample).
Fig. 2. (a) EBSD (IPF + grain boundary) map of a base metal sample in STA condition
(B2 sample), and (b) grain boundary misorientation distribution map.
R. Damodaram et al. / Materials and Design 53 (2014) 954961 955
300 MPa, upset pressure between 300 and 600 MPa and burn off
length between 2 and 4 mm. The parameters, which produced a
relatively uniform and narrow weld region, were used to produce
weld joint samples for the present study. Friction weld joint spec-
imens were subjected to two different PWHTs (i) direct aging
(DA) (the same aging treatment mentioned above) and (ii) STA.
Fig. 3. EBSD (IPF + grain boundary) map of a W2 sample showing weld zone and TMAZ.
Fig. 4. (a) EBSD (IPF + grain boundary) map of weld zone of a W2 sample, and (b)
grain boundary misorientation distribution map.
Fig. 5. (a) EBSD (IPF + grain boundary) map of TMAZ of a W2 sample, and (b) grain
boundary misorientation distribution map.
Fig. 6. (a) EBSD (IPF + grain boundary) map of HAZ of a W2 sample, and (b) grain
boundary misorientation distribution map.
Fig. 7. Transmission electron micrograph of weld zone of a W2 sample showing
ne grains.
956 R. Damodaram et al. / Materials and Design 53 (2014) 954961
Post-weld solution treatment was carried out at 995 C due to the
following reasons. It is the solvus temperature of d phase, to relieve
residual stress, to get homogenized microstructure and to improve
the mechanical properties [16]. Table 1 shows the codes used to
represent samples in different pre- and post-weld heat treatment
conditions.
Samples for electron back scattered diffraction (EBSD) analysis
were polished as per standard metallographic practices followed
by ne polishing with colloidal silica. EBSD measurement was car-
ried out by using FEI Quanta 200 scanning electron microscope
(SEM) equipped with TSLOIM software at a step size of 0.6 lm.
For transmission electron microscopic observations, specimens
were polished to a thickness of 100 lm and subjected to twin jet
electro polishing with an electrolyte of 10% perchloric acid in
methanol at 30 C. Vickers microhardness measurements were
made across weld line with a load of 0.5 kg and dwell time of
15 s. Room temperature tensile tests were carried out as per ASTM:
E8/E8M-11 standard specimen conguration. Fracture surfaces of
tensile tested samples were observed using an SEM.
3. Results and discussion
3.1. Characterization
The macrostructure of the friction welded alloy 718 joint (with
STA as the pre-weld heat treatment) in the as-welded condition
(W2 sample) is shown in Fig. 1. The weld zone produced was rela-
tively uniform and narrow throughout the entire cross section. To
understand the microstructural changes during friction welding,
EBSD technique provides quantitative measurement of the fraction
of high and low angle grain boundaries and average grain size. The
EBSD (Inverse Pole Figure (IPF) + grain boundaries) map of the base
material in STA condition (B2 sample) is shown in Fig. 2(a). It
shows equi-axed grains and annealing twin boundaries with an
average grain size of 29 lm. More than 90% of the grain boundaries
were high angle grain boundaries (misorientation angle >15) as
shown in Fig 2(b).
Fig. 3 shows weld zone and TMAZ of a W2 sample. Weld zone
microstructure of a W2 sample consists of new equi-axed recrys-
tallized grains with an average grain size of 45 lm (Fig. 4(a)).
Weld zone consists of around 68% high angle grain boundaries
along with 32% low angle grain boundaries (angle <15 misorienta-
tion) (Fig. 4(b)). The temperature at the weld zone during friction
welding was measured by an infrared thermometer and the peak
temperature was 1118 C [15]. Yang et al. [17] modeled inertia
welding of IN 718 and calculated the strain rate to be 250 s
1
for
an upset pressure of 250 MPa at 1260 C. Srinivasan and Prasad
[18] developed processing maps for hot working of IN 718. They re-
ported the presence of two domains of dynamic recrystallization
one occurring at 950 C and 0.001 s
1
and the other at 1200 C and
0.1 s
1
. They suggested that the dynamic recrystallization in the
former domain is nucleated by d (Ni
3
Nb) precipitates leading to
ne grained microstructure. In the second domain, the availability
of interstitial carbon atoms (due to dissolution of carbides in the
matrix) increases the rate of dislocation generation and so dynamic
recrystallization occurs. In a study on hot compression behavior of
alloy 718, Wang et al. [19] reported the occurrence of dynamic
recrystallization during deformation of parent grain boundaries,
which occurs due to subgrain rotation or by formation of twinning.
The sub grain rotation leads to grain boundary shearing resulting
in the formation of local orientation and strain gradient, which
leads to the dynamic recrystallized grains. Metals with low or
intermediate stacking fault energy (copper, nickel, stainless steel)
have very slow recovery and dynamic recrystallization occurs
when critical dislocation density and critical strain are achieved
Fig. 8. Transmission electron micrograph of TMAZ of a W2 sample showing
formation of ne grains along the deformed grain boundaries.
Fig. 9. Bright eld transmission electron micrograph showing c
00
precipitates in
weld zone of a W6 sample.
Fig. 10. (a) EBSD (IPF + grain boundary) map of base material portion of a W6
sample, and (b) grain boundary misorientation distribution map.
R. Damodaram et al. / Materials and Design 53 (2014) 954961 957
Fig. 11. EBSD (IPF + grain boundary) map of a W6 sample showing weld zone and TMAZ.
Fig. 12. (a) EBSD (IPF + grain boundary) map of a W6 sample showing weld zone,
and (b) grain boundary misorientation distribution map.
Fig. 13. Grain size distribution in weld zone of W2 and W6 samples.
Fig. 14. (a) EBSD (IPF + grain boundary) map of TMAZ in a W6 sample, and (b) grain
boundary misorientation distribution map.
Fig. 15. Microhardness proles obtained across the weld joints in different
conditions.
958 R. Damodaram et al. / Materials and Design 53 (2014) 954961
[20]. TMAZ undergoes relatively lower amount of strain and tem-
perature compared to weld zone. Serrated, deformed grain bound-
aries and ne grains around the original deformed grains were
observed in TMAZ of a W2 sample (Fig. 5(a)). TMAZ shows around
57% low angle grain boundaries and 43% high angle grain bound-
aries (Fig. 5(b)). Zhou and Baker [21] observed necklace like micro-
structure at temperatures below 1050 C and fully recrystallized
grains at and above 1050 C for a strain of 0.7 in hot compression
testing done at different temperatures between 950 C and
1100 C and different strain rates between 0.1 and 5 10
3
s
1
.
Nucleation of new grains occurs along the deformed old grain
boundaries, resulting in the formation of necklace like microstruc-
ture [20]. HAZ of a W2 sample showed coarser grains compared to
base material as shown in Fig. 6(a). HAZ shows 46% low angle
boundaries and 54% high angle boundaries (Fig. 6(b)).
Transmission electron microscopic studies were done to sub-
stantiate the results got from EBSD. Samples for transmission elec-
tron microscopic observations were extracted from weld zone and
base material in friction welded joint (W2 sample). Transmission
electron micrograph of weld zone of a W2 sample (Fig. 7) conrms
that the weld zone is composed of ne equiaxed grains. Transmis-
sion electron micrograph of TMAZ of a W2 sample (Fig. 8) clearly
shows elongated grains, necklaces that form along the prior grain
boundaries and dislocation cells/substructure. These specic fea-
tures of dynamic recrystallisation mentioned by Humphreys and
Hatherly [20] are clearly seen. Transmission electron micrograph
of weld zone after post-weld STA treatment (W6 sample) shows
the formation of strengthening precipitates in the weld zone
(Fig. 9).
The post-weld STA heat treated samples (W6) have an average
grain size of 33 lm in base material portion of the weld joint
(Fig. 10(a)). More than 90% high angle boundaries and twins were
observed (Fig. 10(a and b)). Fig. 11 shows EBSD map of weld zone
and TMAZ after STA PWHT (W6 sample). Signicant changes in the
average grain size, and TMAZ were observed. Drastic grain growth
from 4 lm to 27 lm (as shown in Fig. 12(a)) was observed at the
weld zone with around 88% high angle boundaries and twins
(Fig. 12(b)). Similar observations have been made by Fukumoto
et al. [22] in AZ31B magnesium alloy friction weld joints and Hu
et al. [23] in friction stir welded 2024 aluminum alloy. Grain size
distribution in the weld zone in as-welded condition (W2) and
STA PWHT condition (W6) is shown Fig. 13. Recrystallization oc-
curs in the deformed material due to the formation and migration
of high angle grain boundaries, driven by the stored energy of
deformation [24]. Driving force for the abnormal grain growth
arises by decreased stored energy. Important factors that promote
Table 2
Average values of grain size and diagonal size of the indentations in case of two samples (W2 and W6).
Sample Weld zone TMAZ Base material
Grain size (lm) Diagonal size (lm) Grain size (lm) Diagonal size (lm) Grain size (lm) Diagonal size (lm)
W2 4.5 51.2 50 55.1 29.0 48.1
W6 27.0 45.7 41 48.0 33.0 46.8
Table 3
Room temperature tensile properties of alloy 718 base material and friction weld joint samples in different conditions.
Sl. no. Sample Yield strength (MPa) Ultimate tensile strength (MPa) Elongation in 24 mm gage length (%) Reduction in area (%) Failure location
1
a
B1 499 996 59 54
2
a
B2 1230 1539 22 41
3
a
W1 570 1003 46 58 Base material
4
a
W2 870 1081 15 42 Interface
5
a
W3 1266 1532 23 45 Base material
6
a
W4 1271 1520 21 38 Base material
7 W5 1254 1480 17 42 Base material
8 W6 1221 1434 17 41 Base material
a
Data taken from Ref. [15].
Fig. 16. Appearance of fracture surface of tensile tested samples: (a) W5 sample,
and (b) W6 sample.
R. Damodaram et al. / Materials and Design 53 (2014) 954961 959
abnormal grain growth are temperature, solutes and particles,
specimen size and texture [20]. In the as-welded condition, TMAZ
showed necklace like microstructure (W2 sample). However after
PWHT, grains in the TMAZ became coarse and equi-axed with an
average grain size of 41 lm (as shown in Fig. 14(a)) with around
86% high angle boundaries and twins (as shown Fig. 14(b)). Only
few grains were scanned due to coarse grain microstructure. Over
all, the post-weld solution treatment was found to have a signi-
cant effect on weld zone, TMAZ and base material microstructures.
3.2. Microhardness
The microhardness proles across the weld interface in friction
weld joints in different conditions are shown in Fig. 15. In the as-
welded condition, samples welded in STA condition (W2 samples)
exhibited lower hardness at the weld zone compared to the base
material due to the dissolution of strengthening precipitates in
the weld zone. On the other hand, in case of samples welded in
ST condition (W1 samples), formation of ne grains due to dy-
namic recrystallization led to higher hardness at the weld zone
compared to the base material. After post-weld STA treatment,
friction weld joint specimens (W5 and W6 samples) showed an in-
crease in the hardness in all zones compared to that in the as-
welded condition (W1 and W2 samples). The increase in the hard-
ness at the weld zone is due to dynamic recrystallization during
friction welding and formation of strengthening precipitates dur-
ing PWHT. Post-weld solution treatment and aging produced lower
hardness values in the weld zone and TMAZ (W5 and W6 samples)
when compared to post-weld direct aging treatment (W3 and W4
samples). This is due to abnormal grain growth that occurred in the
weld zone and TMAZ. There is no signicant change in the base
material hardness values. Friction weld samples with prior ST or
STA heat treatment conditions exhibited similar hardness prole
after post-weld STA treatment.
In case of W2 samples (weld joint with STA as the pre-weld heat
treatment), ner grains formed at the weld zone due to dynamic
recrystallization. The grain size of the base material portion of
W2 sample is 29 lm, which is coarser than the grain size of the
weld zone (4.5 lm). However, due to the dissolution of strengthen-
ing precipitates, the hardness of weld zone decreased. As the base
material portion did not experience higher temperature as experi-
enced by the weld zone, there was no dissolution of the strength-
ening precipitates and so the hardness was much higher
(indentation size was smaller in the base material compared to
that in the weld zone see Table 2). In case of W6 samples, there
is not much difference between the grain size of the weld zone and
that of the base material. It may be noted that strengthening pre-
cipitates formed in the weld zone during the post-weld STA treat-
ment. So there was not much difference between the hardness
values of weld zone and base material.
3.3. Tensile properties
The weld joint tensile samples in PWHT condition failed in the
base material far away from the weld zone. Post-weld STA treat-
ment (W5 and W6 samples) resulted in a signicant increase in
the yield strength and ultimate tensile strength compared with
the as-welded condition (W1 and W2 samples) see Table 3. This
could be due to the formation of strengthening precipitates and
grain renement. However, post-weld STA samples with prior ST
or STA heat treatment conditions (W5 and W6 samples) exhibited
inferior tensile strength and % elongation compared to base mate-
rial in STA condition (B2 samples) and samples subjected to post-
weld direct aging (W3 and W4 samples). This may be attributed
to grain coarsening that occurred in the post-weld solution treat-
ment. Cao et al. [25] observed that post-weld STA treatment re-
sulted in a slight decrease in ultimate tensile strength of base
material due to grain coarsening in laser welding of Inconel 718.
The base material in ST condition (B1 samples) exhibited the high-
est % elongation. This may be due to dissolution of strengthening
precipitates in the matrix. After post-weld STA treatment, samples
(W5 and W6 samples) showed reduction in ductility due to forma-
tion of strengthening precipitates in the matrix. SEM examination
of fracture surfaces of tensile tested samples showed dimples indi-
cating ductile mode of failure (Fig. 16).
4. Conclusions
Based on the results obtained in the present investigation on
the effect of post-weld heat treatments on the microstructure
and mechanical properties of friction welded joints of alloy 718,
the following conclusions are drawn.
(1) The as-welded friction weld zone of alloy 718 (with prior
solution treatment and aging condition) exhibited new
equi-axed recrystallized grains with an average grain size
of 45 lm. Fine grains around the original deformed grains
were observed in thermomechanically affected zone, which
experienced relatively lower strain and temperature com-
pared to weld zone.
(2) Post-weld solution treatment and aging resulted in a signif-
icant increase in grain size from 4 lm to 27 lm at the weld
zone. Thermomechanically affected zone became coarse and
equi-axed with an average grain size of 41 lm. The average
grain size of the base material portion of the joint after the
post weld solution treatment and aging treatment was
33 lm.
(3) Solution treatment and aging post-weld heat treatment
resulted in an abnormal grain growth in the weld zone and
thermomechanically affected zone. Owing to the formation
of strengthening precipitates, solution treatment and aging
post-weld heat treatment resulted in a signicant increase
in tensile strength of joint samples compared to that of as-
welded friction weld joints. However, solution treatment
and aging post-weld heat treatment done on friction weld
joint samples with prior solution treatment or solution
treatment and aging heat treatment condition resulted in
inferior tensile properties compared to those of samples sub-
jected to direct aging post-weld heat treatment. This may be
attributed to grain coarsening that occurred during the post-
weld solution treatment.
(4) Compared to post-weld solution treatment and aging, post-
weld direct aging treatment is recommended to restore
microstructure and mechanical properties.
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