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Friction stir welding is a solid state joining process which was invented at The welding Institute
(Cambridge, UK) in 1991[1,2].The basic concept is relatively simple which utilize a non consumable
rotating tool consisting of a concentric threaded tool pin and tool shoulder, as shown in fig-1.
FSW produces a strong metallurgical bond where the severe plastic deformation is caused by the
tool pin that plunges or penetrates into the work piece material and travels along the weld line. The
shoulder generates the frictional heat which rides on the surface of the work piece. The tool serves
three main purposes: (1) Heating of the work piece by friction and severe plastic deformation. (2)
Movement of the material to produce the joint. (3) Containment of the hot metal below the tool
shoulder. As a result, a solid state joint is produced with no melting. Because of various geometrical
features on the tool, material movement around the pin is very complex,ref[3]
Fig 1.Schematic representation of FSW[4]
The direction where the tool rotation is same as the tool travel direction is the advancing side of the
work piece and where the direction is just opposite is the retreating side. The FSW process can be
subdivided into 3 phases: (1) the plunge phase or the initial period. (2) The main phase or the steady
state period. (3) The termination phase or terminal period. During plunge phase, tool pin plunges
axially into the work piece at a specific rate, where the temperature distribution within the welding
tool and work piece is established. Once the tool plunges into the work piece, the tool starts moving
along the joint line and a steady state period starts where the temperature distribution is uniform.
During the terminal period, the tool is withdrawn from the work piece leaving an exit hole at the end
of the weld.
1.1 Weld Zone -
Thread gill divide the FSW weld zone into 4 distinct regions: the nugget zone (NZ), the thermo
mechanical zone (TMAZ), the heat affected zone (HAZ) and the unaffected base metal (BM) [4].The
nugget is the fully re-crystallized area, which undergoes severe plastic deformation and frictional
heating during the process and is located at the centre of the stir zone. The TMAZ is the zone between
the parent metal and the stir zone. This zone mainly consists of elongated parent metal grains that
have deformed in an upward flowing pattern around the nugget zone. In TMAZ zone, recrystallization
does not occur because of limited deformation.HAZ is located in between parent metal and TMAZ
zone, which experiences a thermal cycle but doesn’t undergo any plastic deformation. In this zone
the grains are similar to that of base metal, however coarsening of the precipitates occurs. Beyond the
HAZ, base metal zone exist, which may have experienced a thermal cycle from the weld but the micro
structure and mechanical properties is not affected by the heat input.
Fig-2 Schematic cross-section of a typical FSW weld showing four distinct zones (A) Base Metal (B)
Heat-affected (C) Thermo-mechanical affected (D)Stirred (nugget zone).Source:Ref [6]
1.2 Advantages of FSW over other welding process-
In contrast to conventional fusion welding, FSW is a solid state joining process with no melting
during the process. Poor solidification cracking, porosity ,kissing bond, Lazy S are the typical weld
defects of conventional fusion welding process which can be reduced by FSW process.FSW is
considered to be the most significant development in metal joining in a decade and is a “ green”
technology due to its energy efficiency, environmental friendliness and versatility. As compared to
conventional welding methods, FSW consumes considerably less energy, no consumables such as
cover gas or flux and no harmful emissions are created during welding, thereby making the process
environmentally friendly. Further because FSW does not involve the use of filler metal with no
melting any Al alloy can be joined without concern for compatibility and also dissimilar aluminium
alloys and composites can be joined with equal ease.[ref-7-9].
Hence after two decades of development, FSW proves to be an important alternative process in
aerospace or aeronautical industries involving aluminium alloys. High joining speed, autogeneous
welding, improved metallurgical properties and reduced need for human skill are amongst the most
important advantages of FSW in comparison with conventional fusion welding method.[10,11].
FSW can be applied to most geometrical structural shapes and to various types of joints such as butt,
lap,T-butt and fillet shapes.[12,13].The most convenient joint configurations for FSW are butt and lap
joints. Configurations of other types of joint designs are also applicable to FSW which are illustrated
in fig-3.
Fig-3 Joint configuration for friction stir welding (a) Square butt (b) Edge butt (c) T-butt joint (d) Lap
joint (e) Multiple Lap joint (f) T-Lap joint (g) Fillet joint.Source: Ref [14].
Additional key benefits of FSW process over fusion welding are summarized below [14]
(1) Low distortion and shrinkage.
(2) Excellent mechanical and metallurgical properties.
(3) No porosity and spatter.
(4) No shielding gas required.
(5) No filler wire required.
(6) Less surface cleaning is required.
(7) Can able to weld 2xxx, 5xxx, 6xxx, 7xxx series which are difficult by fusion welding process.
2. Friction Stir Processing-
Now a days in manufacturing sectors super plastic forming is one of the most critical area of
research.[ref-15-18].Therefore FSP can be used as a generic process which enabling technology for
unitized structures[ref-19].Friction stir processing is a new developed technique, which is another
variant of FSW process. It is a process to modify the micro structure where there is no formation of
joint in these applications.
The benefits of FSP include enhancement of material properties of cast and wrought material,
Healing of flaws and casting porosity, mechanical mixing of the surface and subsurface layers, grain
refinement, homogenization of precipitates in various alloys and composites, enhance super plasticity
due to excessive plastic flow of material.
Choi et al (2013) [ref-20] used friction stir processing (FSP) to incorporate SiC particles into the
matrix of A356 Al alloy to form composite material. Constant tool rotation speed of 1800 r/min and
travel speed of 127 mm/min were used in this study. The base metal (BM) shows the hypoeutectic Al-
Si dendrite structure and the microstructure of the stir zone (SZ) is very different from that of the BM.
At this time, FSP is the only solid state processing technique that has unique capabilities to increase
the super plastic strain rate as compared to other conventional thermo mechanical processing such as
rolling, equal channel angular extrusion.
3. Literature Review
3.1 Process Variables in FSW
There is a complex material movement and plastic deformation involved in friction stir welding or
processing which depends on a number of process variables. The main process variables in FSW can
be subdivided into 3 categories: Machine variables, tool variables and other variables.
Table-3.1 main process Variables in FSW[21]
Tool variables Machine variables Other variables
Tool material
Pin and shoulder diameter
Pin length
Thread pitch
Shoulder and tool features
Welding speed
Spindle speed
Plunge force
Tool tilt angle
Joint design
Material Type and size
Property of work piece material
Type of fixture material
Further the process variables are very much important to understand the joint properties which
include fatigue strength, toughness, corrosion, hardness and stress corrosion resistance. These process
parameters affect the weld joining through heat generation and dissipation.
3.1.1 Welding or Machine Variables.
Among all the parameters tool rotation rate(w,rpm) and traverse speed(v,mm/min) are the most
important welding parameters in FSW.The tool rotation results in stirring and mixing of the material
around the tool pin and the traverse speed results in movement of material from the front to back and
complete the welding process. Higher tool rotation rate generate higher temperature because of high
frictional heating results in intense stirring and mixing of material. With increase in temperature there
is a frictional coupling occur between the tool surface and work piece. So a monotonic increase in
heating with increasing tool rotation rate is not expected as the coefficient of friction at interface will
change with increasing tool rotation rate [1].
Sato etal (2002) [22] also observed that there is a significant rise of temperature with rise of rotational
Peel et al (2006) [ref23] investigate the effect of changing the rotational and traverse welding speeds
on the tool forces, power input and thermal history throughout the welding cycle. They observed that
both the torque and extent of material mixing in the stir zone displays a much stronger dependence on
the rotational speed than the traverse speed.
Cemal Meran (2006) [ref-24]had done friction stir welding on brass plates of 3mm thickness with
constant rotational speed and different welding speed. They also observed that at constant rotational
speed 112mm/min welding speed is the optimum parameter yield defect free weld joint with
maximum joint strength.
As per Kwon et al (2009)[ref-25] friction stir welding was performed on 5052 Al plate having
thickness of 2 mm with a wide range of rotational speed and constant traverse speed. The results
showed that at all the tool rotational speed defects free welds were obtained. In addition ,the onion
ring structure becomes more wider as tool rotation speed is increased and on the other hand grain size
decreased with decrease in tool rotation speed.
The mechanical and micro structural behaviour of dissimilar FSW AA6082-AA2024 with different
welding parameters was studied by Cavalierea et al (2009) [26].They found that the best tensile and
fatigue properties were obtained for the joints with the AA6082 on advancing side and welded with an
advancing speed of 115mm/min.
As per rodrigues et al (2009)[27] friction stir welds produced in mm thick plate of AA6016-T4
Aluminium alloy with two different tools were analysed and compared concerning the microstructure
and mechanical properties. For each tool, the welding parameters were optimized in order to achieve
non-destructive welds. The welds produced were classified as hot and cold welds. The results
obtained showed that hot welds obtained with the maximum tool rotational speed and minimum
traverse speed, have improved mechanical properties relative to the cold welds and that were in under
match condition relative to the base material.
As per Rajamanickram et al (2009)[ 28],temperature under the tool was strongly depend on the tool
rotation rate than the welding speed.they also demonstrated that weld speed could be the main input
parameter which has the highest statistical influence on the mechanical properties.
Azizieh et al (2011) [ref 29] used friction stir processing to fabricate AZ31/Al2O3 nano-composite
for surface application. They observed that with higher rotation speed,inspite of finer particle
cluster,grain growth was occurred due to higher heat input and simultaneously more shattering effect
of rotation cause better nano-particle distribution.
Lakshminarayanan et al (2011) [ref-30] developed friction stir welding window for AA2219 Al
alloy. They conclude that the quality of the welding depends on the weld pitch or tool advance per
revolution (ratio of welding speed to rotational speed) and can be increased by increasing the welding
speed at constant rotational speed or by decreasing the rotational speed at constant welding speed.
3.1.2 Tool variables.
Tool geometry is the most influential aspect of process development which plays a critical role in
the material flow and in turn governs the traverse rate at which it can be conducted. The FSW tool
consists of a pin and a shoulder. Contact of the pin with the work piece produces frictional and
deformational heating and softens the work material and on the other hand contacting the shoulder
to the work piece increases the work piece heating and expands the zone of softened material and
constrained the deformed material. Therefore forward motion of the tool produces loads parallel to
the direction of travel which is termed as Traverse load: Normal load is the load required for the tool
shoulder to remain in contact with the work piece.
Fig-4 Schematic Drawing of FSW tool [souce-ref-1]
Therefore selection of correct tool material is also one of the prime concerns for production of
quality welding. Various researchers studied the mechanical and metallurgical aspects of welds using
different tool materials.
Tool steels is the most common tool material used in FSW process for aluminium alloy [ref-31-
35].The advantages to using tool steel as friction stir tooling material include easy availability, low
cost, good machinabilty and established material characteristics.
Colegrove et al [36] and Vaze et al [37] used cobalt-nickel-base alloy MP159 for friction stir welding
of aluminium alloy.
Tungsten –base alloys have also been used by many researchers in friction stir welding of copper
alloys, nickel aluminium bronze, titanium alloys and steels [ref 38-40].
Table-2 is a summary of the current tool materials used to friction stir the indicated materials and
thicknesses which are extracted from the vast literature sources.
Table-3.2 Summary of Current Friction stir welding tool materials [Source-1]
Alloy Thickness Tool material
Tool steel,WC-Co
MP 159
<6 Tool steel,WC
Copper and
Copper Alloys
Nickel alloys,PCBN(a),Tungsten alloys
Tool steel
Titanium alloys <6 Tungsten alloys
Stainless steels <6 PCBN,Tungsten alloys
Low-alloy steels <10 WC,PCBN
Nickel alloys <6 PCBN
In recent years several new features have been introduced in the design of tools. Several tools
designed at TWI are shown in Table-3.3.
Table-3.3 A selection of tool design at TWI [source-1]
The whorl and MX-Triflute have smaller pin volumes than the tools with cylindrical pins. The tapered
threads in the whorl design induce a vertical component of velocity that facilitates plastic flow. The
flute in the MX-Triflute also increases the interfacial area between tool and the work piece, leading
to increased heat generation rates, softening and flow of material. Consequently more intense stirring
reduces both the traversing force for the forward tool motion and the welding torque[33].Although
cylindrical, whorl and Triflute are suitable for butt welding, they are not useful for lap welding, where
excessive thinning of the upper plate can occur together with the trapping of adherent oxide between
the overlapping surfaces.Flared-Triflute and A-skew Tools were developed to ensure fragmentation of
the interfacial oxide layer and a wider weld than in usual for butt welding. The Flared-Triflute tool is
similar to MX-Triflute with an expanded flute, while A-skew TM tool is threaded tapered tool with its
axis inclined to that of the machine spindle. Both of these tools increase the swept volume relative to
that of the pin, thus explaining the stir region and resulting in a wider weld and successful lap joints.
Motion due to rotation and translation of the tool induces asymmetry in the material flow and heating
across the tool pin.
Apart from the tool pin design there is a significant impact of tool shoulder profile and tool shoulder
feature design on weld quality. Various tool shoulder features design have been used by TWI.These
features increase the amount of material deformation produced by the shoulder, resulting in increased
work piece mixing and higher quality friction stir welds. Following figure consists of scrolls, ridge pr
knurling, grooving and concentric circles and can be machined on any shoulder profile.
Fig-5 Tool shoulder geometries, viewed from underneath the shoulder [source-ref-41]
Scialpi et al(2007) [ref-42]performed FSW using of three different type of shoulder geometry(scroll
and fillet,cavity+fillet,only fillet).They investigated the results on micro structural and mechanical
properties of friction stir welded 6082 Al alloy. Results showed that for thin sheets, the best joint has
been welded by a shoulder with fillet and cavity.
Zhang et al(2011) [43] used the rotational tool without pin using three different tool configuration-
inner concave flute, concentric circle flute and three spiral flute. The experimental results showed that
tensile strength and grain size attained by the tool with three spiral flute is much better than by the
other two which can be used to join thin plate of aluminium alloy.
Forcellese et al (2012)[44] investigated the effect of tool geometry using two different tool
configuration with different values of shoulder diameter, both with and without pin. Results indicate
that by increasing the shoulder diameter, a strong beneficial effect on both ductility and strength
value is obtained using pin-less tool configuration with more homogeneous micro structure.Further
Forcellese and simoncini(2012)[45] investigated the plastic flow behaviour and formability of friction
stir welded AZ31 thin sheets obtained using pin-less tool configuration and compared the results with
the base metal.
Galvao et al(2012) [ref-46] developed a study which aimed was to investigate the influence of
shoulder geometry(one is scrolled and another one a conical shoulder tool) on the formation and
distribution of brittle structures in friction stir welding of aluminium and copper joint.the author
noticed that the nugget of the welds produced using same process parameters but different tool
geometry had completely different morphology and intermetallic content.
As per Galvao et al (2013)[ref-47] work has been done to see the influence of the shoulder geometry
on friction stir welding of 1mm thick copper-DHP plates. The welds were produced using three
different shoulder geometries: flat, conical and scrolled. By varying the tool rotation and traverse
speed it was observed that many defects were produced for all weld condition in case of flat shoulder.
On the other hand scrolled shoulder tool is more effective than the conical one for the production of
defect-free welds. However both geometries required a minimum rotational speed to avoid internal
To overcome these problems TWI recently focused on FSW tool designs that increase the tool travel
speed, increases the volume of material swept by pin-to-pin volume ratio and increase the weld
symmetry. The skew stir tool increase the volume of material swept by pin-to-pin volume ratio by
offsetting the axis of the pin from the axis of the spindle [48,49].
Similarly com-stir tools combine rotary motion (tool shoulder) with orbital motion(tool pin) to
maximize the swept volume[50].
The re-stir tool (TWI) avoids the inherent asymmetry produced during friction stirring by alternating
the tool rotation, either by angular reciprocation or rotary reversal [51].on the other hand in dual
rotation tools, the pin and shoulder rotate separately at different directions[52].
3.1.3 Joint design.
The most convenient joint configurations for FSW are butt and lap joints. Apart from butt and lap
joint configurations, other types of joint designs, such as fillet joints are also possible a needed for
some engineering applications.
3.2 Temperature Distribution and Heat Transfer in FSW process
In FSW, heat is generated by friction between the tool and the work piece via plastic deformation of
the metal. The heat generation mechanism is influenced by the weld parameters, thermal conductivity
of the work piece, pin tool, backing anvil and weld tool geometry. The temperature within and
around the stirred zone influence the microstructure of the welds, such as grain size, grain boundary
character, coarsening and dissolution of precipitates and resultant mechanical properties of the welds.
Therefore the study of temperature distribution and the resulting heat input within the work piece
material is very important during FSW process.
Hwang and co workers (2008) [53] experimentally explore the thermal histories and temperature
distribution within butt joint welds of 6061-T6 aluminium alloy. Four thermocouples of K-Type
with data acquisition system connected to a personal computer were used to record the temperature
histories during welding. The different types of thermocouple layout i.e same side and equal distance,
opposite side and equal distance and same side and unequal distance are devised at different locations
on the work piece to measure the temperature distribution during welding process. They concluded
that the temperature inside the pin can be regarded as a uniform distribution and that heat transfer
starts from the rim of the pin to the edge of the work piece.
3.3 Material flow in FSW
The FSW process can be modelled as a metal working process in terms of five conventional metal
working zones (1) Preheat (2) Initial deformation (3) Extrusion (4) Forging (5) Post heat/cool Down.
Typical zones obtained during the process are shown in fig-6. In the preheat zone ahead of the pin,
temperature rises due to the frictional heating of the rotating tool and adiabatic heating because of the
deformation of material. The thermal properties of material and the traverse speed of the tool govern
the extent and heating rate of this zone. As the tool move forward, an initial deformation zone form,
when material is hated to above a critical temperature and the magnitude of stress exceeds the critical
flow stress of the material, resulting in material flow. The material in this zone is forced both upwards
into the shoulder zone and downward into the extrusion zone. A small amount of material is captured
in the swirl zone beneath the pin tip where vortex flow pattern exists. In the extrusion zone with a
finite width, material flows around the pin from the front to the rear. A critical isotherm on each side
of the tool defines the width of the extrusion zone where the magnitude of stress and temperature are
insufficient to allow metal flow. Following the extrusion zone is the forging zone where the material
from the front of the tool is forced into the cavity left by the forward moving pin under hydrostatic
pressure conditions. The shoulder of the tool helps to constrain material in this cavity and also applies
a downward forging force. Material from shoulder zone is dragged across the joint from the retreating
side towards the advancing side.
Fig-6 (a) Metal flow pattern and (b) metallurgical processing zones developed during friction stir
welding [source-ref-54]
Guerra et al (2003)[ref-55] studied the flow of metal during FSW using a faying surface tracer and a
nib frozen in place during welding. They observed that material is moved around the nib in FSW by
two processes. In first process material on the advancing front side of a weld enters into a rotational
zone that rotates and advances with the nib. On the other hand material on the retreating front side of
the nib is entrained and fills in material on the RS of the nib wake. They further conclude that material
transported by these two processes has very different thermo mechanical histories and properties.
Further Hamilton and his co-workers (2008) [ref-56] proposed a model of material flow during
friction stir welding. They found that weld nugget forms as surface material which is extruded from
the retreating side into the region of plasticized material around the FSW pin and under the tool
shoulder. They further observed that nugget zone is the combination of interleaved layers of particle-
rich and particle poor material.
3.4 Weld Microstructure and Weld Mechanical properties.
The microstructure and consequent property distributions produced during friction stir welding
of aluminium alloys are dependent on several factors. The contributing factors include alloy
composition, alloy-temper, welding parameters other geometric factors. The alloy composition
determines the available strengthening mechanisms and how the material will be affected by the
temperature and strain history associated with FSW.Similarly the welding parameters(e.g., tool
rotation rate and welding speed) dictates for a given tool geometry and the thermal boundary
conditions,the temperature and strain history of the material being welded. Plate gage and other
geometric factors (such as shoulder size, heat sinks associated with clamping etc.) may affect the
temperature distribution within the weld zone and through the thickness of the welded plates.
In case of FSW/FSP the weld micro structure and property distribution also depends on the type of
alloy such as in case of Al alloy is it non-heat treatable, heat treatable (precipitation-Hardening) alloys
The weld nugget is typically described as the region of the thermo mechanically affected zone that has
experienced sufficient deformation at elevated temperature to undergo re-crystallizarion.The two key
variables that determine the properties of the material in the weld nugget are the peak temperature and
the quenching rate from that temperature.
According to Sato et al.[ref-57],the statistically re-crystallized grain size in the nugget region is
determined predominantly by the peak temperature in the weld; the higher the peak temperature ,the
larger the grain size. Some effect of welding speed may also be involved, but because the grain size
(for static grain growth) is exponential with temperature and linear with time, the peak temperature
will exert the dominant influence.
However a wide range of nugget grain sizes can be achieved by manipulation of welding process
parameters. Grain sizes on the order of 10s of micrometers and less than 1µm have been reported by
Su and et al (2000) [ref-58] and Heinz and et al (2002) [ref-59].
3.5 Defects in FSW Welds
Compare to fusion welding process of aluminium and its alloy, the FSW does not suffer from
problems such as weld porosity, solidification cracking or heat affected liquation cracking. This is
because in FSW there is no bulk melting of the parent material. However obtaining a defect-free
joint with good mechanical properties is critical for industrial application. The formation of defects
such as lack of penetration, lack of fusion,tunnels,voids,surface grooves, excessive flash, surface
galling, nugget collapse and kissing bonds are mainly related due to imbalance in material flow or
due to geometric factors i.e process parameters (tool design, tool rotation speed, tool travel speed,
shoulder plunge depth or axial force, spindle tilt angle)[ref-60] . The temperature below melting
point of the parent material is the main source of plastic deformation of the material at the joint
line. Due to which micro structural change like re-crystallization, coarsening and or dissolution of
strengthening precipitates, grain orientation and growth occurs. The improper process parameters in
FSW giving rise to too hot or too cold welding condition. Too cold weld condition is responsible due
to insufficient material flow and giving rise to defects like void formation and nonbonding. On the
other hand too hot weld condition, giving rise to excessive material flow leading to material expulsion
like flash formation and the collapse of the nugget within the stir zone[ref-61] .
3.5.1 Defects from too hot welds
The defects which are generates under such processing conditions are visually indentified through
the surface appearance of the welded joint. The improper parameter settings cause too much thermal
softening. The surface of the welded joint appears to contain blisters or surface galling. Furthermore,
excessive heat generation can lead to thermal softening in the work piece material beyond the
boundary of tool shoulder. Therefore, the tool shoulder rather than actively participating as a mean of
material containment, it is giving rise to material expulsion in the form of excessive flash formation.
Too much thermal softening can also lead to the thinning of the work piece material. The work piece
material below the tool shoulder will reaches a point where it is no longer able to support the axial
load placed upon it. Such a condition during processing causes excessive flash of the work piece
material. A weld nugget collapse under too hot welding condition is another serious defect in FSW
joint. It is not expected all the times that increase of tool rotational speed at constant tool travel speed
causes increase in size of the weld nugget [62].
Kim and et al (2006) [ref-62] observed that excessive heat input had generated due to higher
rotational speed with a lower welding speed. As a result large mass of flash was ejected to the outside
due to the softening of the metal and also the tip of the probe sometimes touches the backing plate.
3.5.2 Defects from too cold weld
Too a cold welding condition result in work hardening of the material.This causes the dry slip
between the tool pin and the work piece material. The lack of surface fills or voids and channel
defects are the main defects arising due to insufficient heat generation. The insufficient heat
generation causes improper material mixing and thus responsible for non-bonding [ref-63].
Kim and their co-workers also evaluate that at lower rotational speed and high welding speed
insufficient heat input is generated. As a result cavity or groove-like defects are formed.[ref-63].
Excluding the defects due to excess and insufficient heat input one more defect is analysed by Kim
and his co-worker which is termed as defects due to abnormal stirring. For the abnormal stirring
defects are formed at higher rotational speeds and higher welding speeds. They found that the
abnormal stirring is caused due to the different temperatures between the upper part near the surface
and the lower part. Due to discontinuous flow of material shape of the top part on the advancing side
in the stir zone is completely different than the shape due to excess or insufficient heat input
FSW is capable of producing weld with a very less defects but still elimination of complete
process upset is not possible. Much research has been devoted to understanding the effect of
process parameters on defect formation in order to optimize the process parameters for FSW. Still
optimization of process parameters is mostly done by trial and error.
In past few decades, there has been research going on in the field of multi-pass welding and
processing where it is more desirable to repair the defective portion of the weld than to throw as a
scrap. One of the techniques that can be used to repair defects arising from process upsets is simply
re-welding using the nominal process parameter [ref-64]. Brown et al (2009) [ref-65] performed five
overlapping passes and found that there is no need of any adjustment for multi pass welding. Further
there is a significant reduction in feed force when welding over the previous weld. However grain
size, hardness and temperature during welding is unaffected with number of passes. Again there is a
gradual reduction of residual stress with increasing pass number.
Nataka et al. (2006) [ref-66] reported an improvement in the mechanical properties of aluminium
die casting alloy of multi-pass fsp compared to the as-cast base metals. As compared to base metal,
hardness increased by 20HVand the tensile strength of the multi-pass specimens were significantly
increased to about 1.7times of as-cast base metal. The main reason for improvement of mechanical
properties is due to the elimination of cold flake, uniform dispersion of the finer Si particles and grain
refinement of aluminium matrix. On the other hand Ma et al(2006) [ref-67] reported that there is no
effect of overlapping passes on size, aspect ratio or distribution of the Si particle while performed
five-pass with 50% overlap FSP on cast A365.
Leal and Louriero (2008)[ref-68] investigated the effect of overlapping FSW passes using two Al
alloys(AA5083-O and AA 6063-T6).They found that the quality and strength of the welds is not
just a function of the welding parameter but also depend on the type of material and its condition of
treatment. Lastly they found that weld polishing improved the mechanical efficiency of the welded
As Friction stir stir processing is one of the most promising techniques for grain refinement, removing
flaws, defects and all many researchers used multi-pass friction stir processing to improve the
properties of as-cast material.Fsp been applied by Johannes and Mishra (2007) [ref-69] to demonstrate
the effectiveness of multiple passes to create large area of super plastic materials with properties.
They conclude that GBS is the most important mechanism to achieve super plastic deformation.
Similarly Ma et al (2009) [ref-70] noted that two pass FSP resulted in an enhancement in super plastic
elongation with a optimum rate in the nugget zone of second pass and a shift to higher temperature in
both central of second pass as well as transitional zone between two passes.
Surekha et al (2008) [ref-71] reported that multi-pass FSP showed better corrosion resistance
compared to the base metal.
Using cast Al alloy, Jana et al (2010) [ref-72] reported that all single pass runs showed some extent
of abnormal grain growth which was removed with multi-passes. They also examined and found that
higher rotational speed was found to be beneficial for controlling the AGG .
Barmouz et al. (2011) [ref-73] Fabricated cu/sic composites using MFSP.results found that multipass
FSP reduces the Sic particle size,improve the dispersion and separation of Sic paticle by severe
stirring action in the nugget zone which reduces the grain size of the copper matrix and created strong
interfacial bonding by removing the porosity content.
MPO Fsp has been applied by Ni and et al.(2011) [ref-74] to transform the coarse as-cast Nab alloy
base metal to get defect free material with fine microstructure, which was feasible to modify the large
sized plates.
Similar type of study had been conducted by Izadi and Gerich (2012)[ref-75] to study the effect
of multi-pass FSP on distribution and stability of carbon nano-tube and to fabricate a metal matrix
composite(MMC) based on AL 5059 and MWCNTs.
To avoid the use of multi-pass FSW/FSP, the two-tool-FSW concept is being developed at TWI in
several variations and is referred to as Twin-Stir [76,77, 78]. One of those techniques is Tandem twin-
stir technique. Tandem Twin-Stir uses two FSW tools (with or without counter rotation) positioned
one in front of the other.
3.6 Advantages of contra-rotating FSW tools

It is new variant techniques of FSW/FSP which require less clamping and improve the welding
speed. With two contra-rotations the resultant force counters each other so that the parts to be
welded require relatively low securing forces.

The tandem technique improves the weld integrity by disrupting and fragmenting the residual
oxide layer remaining within the first weld region by the follower tool.

As the weld made over the first run, but in reverse direction, creates no loos of mechanical
properties but produces further break-up and dispersal of oxides.

Since the second tool travels over the first weld region; it does not have to be as robust as the
leading tool.

Further the motion produced by the counter rotating tandem Twin-Stir is similar to Re-stir
tool, but the Twin stir produces faster travel speeds and in addition efficiency of FSW can be
improved with the use of two FSW tools [111].
3.7 Modelling and optimization of FSW using statistical methods, FE model, and soft
computing tools.
In order to accelerate, support and guide experimental development work with cost Process
modelling is one of the most innovative techniques. Modelling based on scientific understanding
of the mechanisms and physical phenomena of FSW has great potential for guiding tool design,
predicting likely operating conditions in new materials or joint geometries and then optimizing
process conditions for maximum process speed. Further it helps to predict the occurrence of voids and
defects, the extent of micro structural and property changes in the deformed and heat-affected regions
and the development of residual stress. Friction stir welding presents a multi physics modelling
challenge, because it combines closely coupled heat flow, plastic deformation at high temperature and
microstructure and property evolution. All three contribute to the processability of a material by FSW
and to the subsequent properties of the weld.
Analytical and numerical methods each have a role to play although numerical methods dominate due
to the power and ease of use of modern workstations and software.
The conventional experimental design techniques such as regression method, response surface
methodology (RSM) focus mainly on the mean of the performance characteristics, where as
Taguchi method takes the variance into consideration for the model development. These tools use
experimental data for the model development..
Soft computing techniques, such as artificial neural network (ANN),genetic algorithm(GA),fuzzy
logic(FL) and their combinations provide an alternative solution for predictive learning, modelling
and optimization of process parameters for achieving good weld quality. These evolutionary
algorithms consider the uncertainty features of the welding processes, which cannot be expressed
by mathematical equations. Thus, they are better as compared to conventional mathematical and
statistical techniques. These tools can handle large number of data to generate the model and optimize
it with a short time span. These tools are also adaptable for incremental learning, enabling the models
to be improved incrementally as new data become available.
3.7.1 Using statistical method
Various statistical tools have been applied for the modelling and optimization of FSW process with
weld parameters.
Jayaraman et al (2009) [Ref-80] analysed the effect of process parameters using full factorial design
technique for optimum tensile strength. Further they developed a mathematical model using nonlinear
regression analysis to correlate the process parameter with measured tensile strength.
Central composite Design with four parameters, five levels and 31 runs are used by Sundaram and
Murugam (2010) [Ref-81] to conduct the experiment on dissimilar Al alloy where five different pin
profiles are used to fabricate the joints. Further response surface methodology is employed to develop
the model.
Heidarzadeh et al (2012) [82] used response surface methodology based on central composite
rotatable design to develop a mathematical model predicting the tensile strength of friction stir welded
AA6061-T4 Al alloy joints at 95% confidence interval.
Bozkurt (2011) [83] used taguchi approach of parameter design to set the optimum welding
parameter. The experiments were performed using L9 orthogonal array method.
Koilraj et al (2012) [84] found out the optimum process parameter with reference to the tensile
strength of the joint using taguchi L16 orthogonal DOE method.
3.7.2 Using soft computing method
Buffa et al (2006) [85] proposed a continuum based FEM model which is capable of predicting non-
symmetric nature of FSW process and the relationships between the tool forces and the variation in
process parameters. Predicted results are validated by comparing with experimental data of force and
temperature distribution using AA7075 Al alloy of 3mm thick plate. From the simulation results it is
found that temperature distribution about the weld line is symmetric which is due to the resultant of
heat generation where rotational speed of the tool is the dominant factor than advancing speed. But
on the other hand material flow and effective strain distribution is non-symmetric about the weld line
which is controlled by both advancing and rotating speeds.
Okuyucu et al (2007) [86] developed an ANN model to make a correlation between the fsw
parameters of Al plate and mechanical properties which were obtained experimentally. Input
parameter taken in this model are weld speed and rpm and output include tensile strength, yield
strength, elongation, hardness of weld metal and hardness of HAZ.Results showed that the calculated
values were in good agreement with measured one. So the model can be used as an alternative way
for the calculation of the mechanical properties of the welded Al plates by FSW method.Boldsaikhan
et al (2011) [87] proposed an innovative algorithm using discrete fourier transform and a multilayer
NN.This approach used to detect wormhole defects and important feedback information about weld
quality in real time to a control system for friction stir welding.
Laxminarayanan and balasubhramanian (2009) [88] used both RSM method and ANN to predict
the tensile strength of friction stir welded AA7039 aluminium alloy. Results obtained through
response surface methodology were compared with artificial NN.
Hattel et al (2012) [89] developed a step wise modelling approach to combine an in situ weld
simulation with a post welding failure analysis. By using the commercial software ANSYS, a thermo
mechanical model is developed to predict the thermally induced stresses and strain during welding
and finite element code is used to study the plastic flow localization and failure in a subsequent
structure analysis. They observed that there is a remarkable influence of post welding stress-strain
condition when the welded plate is subjected to tension, and it is largest when the specimen cut in
transverse to the weld line.
Veljic et al ( ) [90] developed a coupled thermo mechanical model to study the temperature field,
plunge force and plastic deformation of AA 2024-T351 Al alloy under different rotational speed
during the friction stir welding process. Three dimensional FE model has been developed in
ABAQUS/EXPLICIT using the arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian-formulation,the Johnson-cook material
law and the coulomb’s law of friction. In this study, they observed that the maximum temperature in
the welding process is lower than the melting point temperature of the base metal and the temperature
field is approximately symmetrical along the line of welding. With increase of rotational speed, the
plunge force is reduced. They further observed that the plastic strain is more in the advancing side and
even with increase of rpm; the low plastic strain region is on retreating side.
4. Objective of the research work
Though the twin stir techniques was proposed by TWI,but no detailed research on micro structure,
mechanical properties and process optimization has been carried out till today.
Therefore, the objective of this work is placed on to determine the effect of two contra rotating FSW
tool (Tandem Twin-stir) on the friction stir processing/welding region.
In order to demonstrate the characteristics of twin tool, a tool system was designed and used initially
for friction stir processing. When experiments was conducted both the tools rotated independently but
in opposite direction to each other and pass over the sample one after another.
5. Experimental Setup
5.1 Fixture Design
For conducting actual experiments it requires a fixture which can hold the welding plates firmly
and prevents the rotary and translator motions. So a properly designed fixture was manufactured
and installed over the milling machine bed as shown in figure- which has higher damping
coefficient and shock absorbing capability.
Fig- 7 Pictorial view of fixture (a) Fixture installed over milling macine bed (b) Welding plates
clamped over fixture
5.2 Machines/Instruments used during experiments
VF3.5 knee type vertical miiling machine has been used to fabricate the joints is shown in fig-
8.This has a facilty of RPM ranges from 50-1800 RPM and traverse speed ranges from 16 to 800
mm/min.So a large number of experiments by varying the welding speed and RPM.
Fig-8 VF3.5 Knee type vertical milling machine.
5.3 Twin Tool Setup
The self designed twin tool setup is manufactured for FSP/FSW is shown in fig-9.The twin tool setup
was mounted over the vertical milling machine. The twin tool system is composed of two tools which
are rotating in opposite direction to each other. The primary tool is mounted on the main shaft and the
main shaft is connected directly with spindle of the milling machine. Therefore, the main tool rotates
at the same rotational speed and in the same rotation direction as the spindle during the welding
process. The secondary tool is connected just like a cantilever beam with the primary tool with the
help of gear assembly. The power transmission from the primary to secondary tool is similar to the
transmission of power from driver to driven gear, So that the rotation of the secondary tool is just
opposite to the primary tool.
Non-threaded cylindrical pin with non-consumable tool was used to fabricate the process. Each
of the FSW tools is placed inside collet with a collet cover. With the help of tapered roller contact
bearing, the gear is assembled with the main shaft or the spindle. Hence when the m/c power is on,
the main spindle rotates, which transmit power to the primary tool through the driver gear and on
the other hand, the main gear transmits power to the driven gear so that the second tool also rotates
simultaneously with the fist tool but in opposite direction.
Fig-9 twin tool attachment
5.4 Experimental Work
The rolled plates of 2.5 mm thickness, commercial pure aluminium alloy have been cut into
the required size (200mm×50mm×2.5mm) by power hacksaw cutting and milling. The joint
configuration is obtained by securing the plates in position using mechanical clamps. Both
FSP and FSW were performed along the longitudinal direction and perpendicular to the rolling
direction of the plate.Non-consumable tools made of stainless steel SS316 have been used to
fabricate the joints. The tool dimensions are shown in fig-10.
The chemical composition and mechanical properties of base metal are presented in table-5.1 and
5.2.The chemical composition of work piece material and tool material was analyzed using OES
analysis. The chemical composition of tool material is shown in table 5.3.From OES analysis it
is confirmed that the tool material is SS316 type. The tensile specimen of base material is also
tested to check the mechanical properties of the base material. Vickers micro hardness test is also
performed to check the micro hardness of base material.
Table-5.1 chemical composition (weight %) of work piece material
Chemical composition (weight %) of work piece material
Si Fe Cu Mn Mg Cr Ni Zn Ti Others
, each
0.494 .656 .0207 0.0498 0.0045 0.00094 0.0014 <
Table 5.2: Mechanical properties of Base material
Yield Strength in
Ultimate strength in
Elongation in %age Hardness at 200 gmf
load in VHN
45-55 HV
Table 5.3: Chemical composition (weight %) of Tool Material SS316
Si P Mn Cr Ni Mo Fe
2.13 0.27 8.95 16.29 0.2 0.14 72.01
Friction stir processing has been carried out both by using single tool as well as twin tool attachment.
The welding parameters and tool dimensions are presented in table-5.4.
Table-5.4: Welding parameters and tool dimensions
Process parameters Values
Rotational speed (rpm) 900,1120,1400,1800
Welding speed (mm/min) 16,20,25
D/d ratio of tool 3.2
Pin length (mm) 2
Tool shoulder, D (mm) 16
Pin diameter (mm) 5
Fig-10 FSP/FSW tool dimensions
By using four rotational speed (900, 1120, 1400, 1800 rpm) and three welding speed (16, 20, 25 mm/
min) total 12 experiments were performed both by single tool and twin tool attachment. Therefore
total 24 experiments have been carried out in this process.
5.5 Measurements
After processing, specimens are prepared for macro and micro structural analysis, tensile test and
Vicker’s hardness test from the processed region perpendicular to the welding direction.
5.5.1 Metallographic Observations (Macrostructure Analysis)
Macrostructural analysis has been carried out using a light optical microscope (LEICA DFC-295) as
shown in fig-11(a) in corporate with an image analysing software (LEICA QWin-V3) as shown in fig-
11(b).The specimen for metallographic examination are sectioned to the required sizes from the joint
or region comprising FSP zone, thermo-mechanical zone, heat-affected zone and base metal regions
and polished using different grades of emery papers. Final polishing has been done using the diamond
paste in variable speed grinder polishing machine as shown in fig-12 and is etched with Keller’s
reagent to reveal the macrostructures.
Fig-11 (a) Optical microstructure (LEICA DFC-295) (b) Leica QWin-V3 (Display)
Fig-12 Variable speed grinder polisher
5.5.2 Micro hardness
The micro hardness profiles of the FSW joints were measured in the cross sections in order to
evaluate the material behaviour as a function of the different welding parameters. Microhardness
testing was done on Vickers micro hardness testing apparatus as shown in fig- 13. The Vickers
hardness was measured on the polished cross-section with a spacing of 200µm between two adjacent
indentations. The hardness test was taken perpendicular to the direction of welding with testing load
of 200gmf and dwell time of 15sec.
Fig-13 Vickers microhardness testing apparatus
5.5.3 Tensile properties
The welded joints are sliced using band saw and then machined perpendicular to the welding direction
with a gauge length of 16mm and a width of 6mm, as shown in fig-14 below. Three specimens were
prepared and tested for each joint and the average is used to estimate the tensile property. The Tensile
test was performed at room temperature using universal testing machine (INSTRON-8862) as shown
in fig-15.the specimen is loaded at the strain rate of 1.0mm/min as per ASTM specification so that
tensile specimen undergoes deformation as shown in fig-15(b).the specimen finally fails after necking
and the load versus position has been recorded. The 0.2% offset yield strength; ultimate tensile
strength and percentage of elongation have been evaluated.

Fig-15 (a) Universal Testing Machine (INSTRON) (b) Specimen mounted over UTM
Fig-14(Dimension of the tensile test specimen)
6 Results and Discussion
Fsp using single tool Fsp using twin tool
900 16
1120 16
1400 16
1800 16
900 20
1120 20
1400 20
1800 20
900 25
1120 25
1400 25
1800 25
MICROHARDNESS using single tool using twin tool
BASEMETAL 49.07045 49.07045
sample-1 40.6966 43.8123
sample-2 39.8189 41.00729
sample-3 38.6905 43.69063
sample-4 38.7652 43.37412
sample-5 38.7729 39.21647
sample-6 40.595 45.20649
sample-7 40.1921 40.46207
sample-8 38.875 46.36081
sample-9 41.4555 42.0942
sample-10 41.49 44.2644
sample-11 43.9978 45.30361
sample-12 42.8434 43.3452
using single tool
using twin tool
sample-1(900-16) sample-2(1120-16) sample-3(1400-16) sample-4(1800-16)
sample-5(900-20) sample-6(1120-20) sample-7(1400-20) sample-8(1800-20)
sample-9(900-25) sample-10(1120-25) sample-11(1400-25) sample-12(1800-25)
sample-1(900-16) sample-5(900-20) sample-9(900-25)
sample-2(1120-16) sample-6(1120-20) sample-10(1120-25)
sample-3(1400-16) sample-7(1400-20) sample-11(1400-25)
sample-4(1800-16) sample-8(1800-20) sample-12(1800-25)
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