You are on page 1of 13

Research Article

Advances in Mechanical Engineering

2016, Vol. 8(4) 113
The Author(s) 2016
Fatigue properties of 6061-T6 DOI: 10.1177/1687814016643454
aluminum alloy butt joints processed
by vacuum brazing and tungsten inert
gas welding

Huei Lin1, Jiun-Ren Hwang1 and Chin-Ping Fung2

Tungsten inert gas welding and vacuum brazing butt joints of AlMgSi alloy 6061 in the artificially aged condition T6
were studied. Constant amplitude and variable amplitude fatigue loading tests were performed. The experimental S-N
curves were compared with the fatigue design curves recommended by the International Institute of Welding, British
Standard, and Eurocode 9. Two mean stress correction methods, Goodman and Gerber, were evaluated. In terms of the
size effect on the fatigue life, this article proposed an innovational thickness correction method based on the ratio of the
ultimate tensile strengths of specimens with different thickness. For vacuum brazing components, the tensile strength
based thickness correction method was better than the thickness correction methods recommended by the
International Institute of Welding and Eurocode 9.

Vacuum brazing, tungsten inert gas welding, aluminum alloy, fatigue, mean stress effect, size effect

Date received: 3 November 2015; accepted: 15 March 2016

Academic Editor: Filippo Berto

Introduction conditions.4 The frequently preferred process for weld-

ing aluminum alloy is tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding
Recently, environmental problems and concerns about owing to its relative simplicity and cost. However, this
energy consumption have led to the increasing use of alu- process causes grains to coarsen in the fusion zone, dis-
minum alloys in the automobile, aerospace, and other tortion, hot cracking, and residual stresses. Vacuum
industries. In particular, 6000 series aluminum alloys brazing (VB) can eliminate the disadvantages of TIG
have been studied extensively because they have better welding. It is performed at 1:333101 to1:333 104 Pa,
strength, weldability, corrosion resistance, and cost less and no oxidation problems arise. The flux-free braze
than other aluminum alloys.1,2 AA 6061 is one of the
most versatile of the heat-treatable alloys and popular for 1
medium-to-high strength applications. It has a wide Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Central University,
Taoyuan City, Taiwan
range of applications such as in transportation compo- 2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Oriental Institute of Technology,
nents, medical equipment, and national defense products. New Taipei City, Taiwan
Butt welding has numerous advantages such as good
connection efficiency, easy workmanship, and weight Corresponding author:
Jiun-Ren Hwang, Department of Mechanical Engineering, National
reduction.3 The wide range of application of butt welds Central University, No. 300, Jhongda Rd., Jhongli District, Taoyuan City
in various structures provides researchers a large scope 32001, Taiwan.
for analyzing their behavior under various loading Email:

Creative Commons CC-BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without
further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
2 Advances in Mechanical Engineering

joints with high integrity and superior strength are Fatigue tests were performed using constant and vari-
formed. VB improves the uniformity of temperature of able amplitude loadings. The results of fatigue tests
base metal and reduces residual stresses using a slow were compared with fatigue design specifications of
heating and fast cooling cycle. It results in better Eurocode 9, BS 8118, and IIW and could provide the
mechanical properties of the material. The process has designer with the amendments for fatigue design
been used in various industries. required in the proposal. The following two problems
Fatigue is an important issue for welded structures were also considered in this study:
subjected to cyclic loading.5 However, welded joints
exhibit poor fatigue properties. In welding techniques, 1. Differentiation between VB and TIG welding;
failure is a key problem that is related to the stability 2. The influence of thickness and the variable
and safety of the welded structure.6 The fatigue proper- amplitude loading on the fatigue life.
ties of welded structures are function of welding mate-
rial, shape of the welded structure, radius of weld toe,
weld angle, height of the reinforcement, and welding Experimental methods
quality.710 With respect to the studies on the fatigue in The material used in this research was AlMgSi alloy
aluminum alloy weldments, most literature discussed (AA 6061-T6). Rolled aluminum alloy plates with
the fatigue behaviors of weldments prepared by the thickness of 6 and 12 mm were jointed, respectively.
molten welding methods, such as inert-gas metal-arc TIG-welded joints were fabricated in a single-V butt
welding,11 TIG welding,1214 and friction stir weld- joint configuration as shown in Figure 1. The ER5356
ing.1519 Few studies investigated the diffusion-bonding filler rod was used in the TIG welding process. Highly
weldments. pure argon was the shielding gas. Multi-pass welding
Several associations classify aluminum alloy weld- was conducted to fabricate the joints. Figure 2 shows
ments into different categories based on joint geometry the butt joint configuration of VB. The BAlSi-4 filler
and load type. Many related experiments have been and nitrogen cooling gas were used in the VB process.
performed. The experimental data yield the stresslife The direction of welding was normal to the rolling
relationship of each category, and design specifications direction. All necessary care was taken to prevent join
are established. Research into fatigue culminated in distortion and the joints were made after the sheets
such design specifications as British Standard (BS) were clamped. The welded plates were milled to a thick-
8118:1991,20 Eurocode 9:2007,21 and International ness of 4 or 10 mm, respectively.
Institute of Welding (IIW).22 Table 1 presents the chemical compositions of the
Due to the complexity of the materials used and base metal and weld metals. Table 2 lists the tensile
local geometry of welded structures, inadequacies exist properties of the base metal. The process parameters of
when performing fatigue design according to the exist- VB as shown in Table 3 were optimized in our previous
ing specifications of aluminum-welded structures. This study.23
study investigates the fatigue behavior of 6061-T6 alu- Optical microscope images were captured from the
minum alloy butt welded by TIG welding and VB. cross sections of the weldments. After the specimens

Figure 1. Configuration of single-V butt joint for TIG welding: (a) 6 mm and (b) 12 mm (all dimensions in mm).
Lin et al. 3

Figure 2. Configuration of butt joint for vacuum brazing: (a) 6 mm and (b) 12 mm (all dimensions in mm).

Table 1. Chemical compositions of the base metal and weld metals (wt.%).

Material Si Fe Cu Mn Mg Al

6061-T6 0.48 0.4 0.27 0.12 1.00 Balance

ER5356 0.25 0.1 0.05 4.5 Balance
BAlSi-4 12 0.8 0.3 0.15 0.1 Balance

Table 2. Tensile properties of the base metal. Table 3. Process parameters of vacuum brazing.

Material Yield strength Tensile strength Elongation Soak Soak Brazing Brazing
(MPa) (MPa) (%) temperature time temperature time
(C) (min) (C) (min)
6061-T6 259 306.7 17.3
590 50 600 30

were cut, they were cold-mounted and then mechani- The deformation of the tensile specimens was mea-
cally ground and polished. After polishing, the speci- sured using an extensometer. The specimen finally
mens were etched using Kellers reagent. Deionized failed after necking, and the load was recorded as a
water and ethanol were subsequently used to neutralize function of displacement. Axial fatigue tests were car-
the specimens. All samples were then cleaned for 20 s in ried out at room temperature with a servo-hydraulic
an ultrasonic bath using ethanol, dried, and placed in a machine at a frequency of 10 Hz and a stress ratio of
desiccator until they were analyzed using a microscope.
R = 21. Before the fatigue tests were performed, the
In order to characterize the welded joints, Vickers
specimen surfaces were polished in the loading direc-
hardness across the welded joint cross section was
tion using emery papers with a grade up to 1000.
obtained using a microhardness tester, with an indenta-
In order to discuss the influence of thickness correc-
tion load of 0.05 kgf, according to the ASTM E384
tion and mean stress, this study conducted variable
standard. The microhardness was measured from the
center of the weld bead to both sides until microhard- amplitude fatigue testing on weldments with thickness
ness was stabilized. The interval of measurement was of 4 and 10 mm. The transmission (TRN) history devel-
0.1 mm for VB specimen and 1 mm for TIG welding oped by the American Society of Automotive Engineers
specimen. (SAE) was adopted. This history contained predomi-
Tensile and fatigue properties of the 6061-T6 plates nantly tensile loadings along with significant compres-
in the transverse direction were evaluated. The tests sive loads. It has been normalized and has a maximum
were carried out according to ASTM E8 and ASTM value of 999. As most signals in the transmission history
E466 standards, respectively. Configurations of the ten- have small fluctuations, they had little effect on the fati-
sile and fatigue specimens are shown in Figure 3. gue life. Accordingly, the signals with small amplitudes
4 Advances in Mechanical Engineering

Figure 3. Dimensions of fatigue and tensile specimens: (a) 4 mm (TIG welding), (b) 10 mm (TIG welding), (c) 4 mm (vacuum
brazing), and (d) 10 mm (vacuum brazing) (all dimensions in mm).

could be ignored to reduce significantly the length of racetrack width was set to be 40% of the greatest range
transmission history. The racetrack-counting method of the history. The reduced history had 130 reversal
could condense and reveal significant events in a com- points as shown in Figure 4. We adjusted the scale of
plex reversal history. For this procedure, a racetrack the condensed transmission loading course to the
width(s) must be defined first. Only reversal points at desired level before each variable amplitude fatigue test.
which a racer would have to change from upward to The rainflow-counting method was adopted to count
downward or vice versa are counted. In this study, the the number of cycles of each stress range in the fatigue
Lin et al. 5

analysis. Dowling24 demonstrated that the rainflow- temperature in the weld bead and expands the heat-
counting method accurately identified closed hysteresis affected zone (HAZ). Figure 5(a) and (b) shows the
loops in a variable amplitude histogram. microstructures of a TIG weld bead and the HAZ,
Miners rule had been developed to estimate the respectively. The grains grew in the 6061-T6 weld bead
accumulation of fatigue damage of metals subjected to and the HAZ. The precipitates in the HAZ gradually
a cyclic loading with varying amplitudes. The failure concentrated to the grain boundary and grain center.
criterion is VB is a heating method that uses radiation and
X ni allows uniform heating and automatic temperature
=C 1 control. It can prevent local overheating and the forma-
Ni tion of a HAZ. In this method, the deformation of the
where ni is the number of cycles at stress level Si, Ni is the workpiece and the residual stress is minimal. Figure
fatigue life in cycles at stress level Si, and C is the critical 6(a) and (b) displays the microstructures of a brazing
damage value which is selected on a knowledge of the bead and the base metal, respectively, after VB. Unlike
load history or on a desired factor of safety. The C value TIG welding, VB resulted in no obvious variations
is usually assumed to be 1 for random and pseudo- among brazing bead, HAZ, and base metal. In Figure
random histories. In this study, C was equal to 1. 6(a), many inter-metallic compounds surround the dif-
fusion layer of the brazing bead after the filler metal
elements diffused toward the base metal. According to
Results and discussion Figure 6(b), since the temperature in the VB process
was high and maintained for over an hour, most of the
Microstructures precipitates were solid dissolved. After quenching with
As TIG welding requires a large local heat input and nitrogen gas, the solid solution formed a supersaturated
provides a low welding rate, it easily produces high phase, and then, a small quantity of precipitates was
generated through natural aging.

The microhardness test was conducted at the welding
surface of the specimen. Figure 7(a) and (b) plots the
microhardness distribution achieved by TIG welding
and VB, respectively.
Figure 7(a) shows that under the influence of a local
high temperature in TIG welding, the area with the low-
est microhardness was the HAZ with a microhardness
value of HV50. The microhardness of the base metal
was HV100. The HAZ extended to approximately
22 mm to the left and right of the weld bead. The micro-
Figure 4. Condensed SAE transmission history.
hardness distribution along the two sides of the weld

Figure 5. Optical micrographs of TIG weldment: (a) weld bead and (b) heat-affected zone.
6 Advances in Mechanical Engineering

Figure 6. Optical micrographs of vacuum brazing specimen: (a) weld bead and (b) base metal.

Figure 7. Microhardness profile across the weld: (a) TIG weldment and (b) vacuum brazing specimen.

bead was asymmetric because the TIG welding speci- for each type of joint. The averages and standard devia-
men was prepared using a two-pass method. During the tions of tensile properties are given in Table 4. Tensile
second pass, the first weld bead was reheated, causing strength of the base metal was 306.7 MPa, and that of
annealing, thus reducing the microhardness. the TIG welding joint was 174 MPa, which was 56.7%
In Figure 7(b), no clear HAZ was observed because of the strength of the base metal. The tensile strength
the weldment was heated to a uniform temperature in a that was achieved by VB was 177 MPa, which was
vacuum, so local overheating did not occur. The rapid 57.7% of the strength of the base metal. This experi-
cooling and partial coarsening of precipitates reduced mental result indicated that 6061-T6 had the same ten-
the microhardness of the base metal from HV100 to sile strength in both VB and TIG welding, because it
HV65, which was close to the microhardness of the was a heat-treatable aluminum alloy. When the VB
HAZ in TIG weldment. temperature elevated to 600C, and rapidly cooled
using nitrogen gas, precipitation hardening occurred,
improving the mechanical properties of the weldment.
Tensile properties For TIG welding, local high temperature molten
Table 4 presents the tensile properties of two types of welding minimized the tensile strength of the HAZ,
AA 6061-T6 weldments. Three specimens were tested causing necking there, and fracture surface was
Lin et al. 7

Table 4. Tensile properties of different AA 6061-T6 weldments.

Welding method Thickness (mm) Tensile strength (MPa) Elongation (%)

Mean Standard deviation Mean Standard deviation

TIG welding 4 174 2.9 9.2 2.7

TIG welding 10 168.8 6 23.3 4.8
Vacuum brazing 4 177 0.19 30.4 0.2
Vacuum brazing 10 195.5 0.8 23.7 1.9

TIG: tungsten inert gas.

Table 5. Parameters for the S-N curve of 4-mm-thick AA 6061-T6.

Welding method K m s Z95

TIG welding 5:5331020 6.53 0.17 2.93

Vacuum brazing 4:631029 10.87 0.1 3.08

TIG: tungsten inert gas.

Figure 8. Fracture surfaces for tensile specimens: (a) TIG welding and (b) vacuum brazing.

classified as ductile as shown in Figure 8(a). In VB, the When Nf \2 3 106 the S-N equation was expressed
specimen fractures at the weld toe and the fracture sur- as
face did not exhibit obvious necking, so the fracture
surface was classified as brittle as shown in Figure 8(b). Log Nf = Log K  m Log Sn f t  Zs 2
The tensile strength of the 10-mm-thick VB specimen
was 195.5 MPa, which exceeded that of the 4-mm-thick where Nf is the fatigue life in cycles, K is the empirical
VB specimen, because increasing the diffusion-bonding constant, m is the slope coefficient of the S-N curve, Sn is
surface improved the mechanical properties. However, the nominal stress, f(t) is the thickness reduction factor,
the tensile strength of the 10-mm-thick TIG welding Z is the number of standard deviations, and s is the stan-
specimen was 168.8 MPa, which was less than that of dard deviation of Log Nf . The parameters for the S-N
the 4-mm-thick TIG welding specimen, because more curve of butt joints of AA 6061-T6 were listed in Table 5.
welding passes yielded poorer mechanical properties. The fatigue design curve of aluminum butt joint was
classified as IIW FAT 45, BS 8118 class 42, and
Eurocode 9 category 56-7. For effective stress ratios,
Fatigue properties based on consideration of both applied and residual
To obtain S-N curves, seven VB specimens and eight stresses, R \ 0.5 a fatigue enhancement factor f(R)
TIG welding specimens were tested. Based on the fati- may be considered by multiplying the fatigue class of
gue strength assessment recommended by the IIW,22 classified details by f(R)
statistical analysis and processing of fatigue experimen-
tal data were performed. f R = 0:4 3 R + 0:9 for  1 R  0:25 3
8 Advances in Mechanical Engineering

Table 6. Safety factors for TIG welding and vacuum brazing.

N fDs IIW fDs BS 8118 fDs Eurocode 9

TIG welding
104 0.89 1.62 1.98
105 1.36 2.19 1.93
106 2.06 2.97 1.89
23106 2.33 3.25 1.87

N fDs IIW fDs BS 8818 fDs Eurocode 9

Vacuum brazing
104 0.63 1.14 1.39
105 1.1 1.77 1.56
106 1.91 2.76 1.75
23106 2.26 3.16 1.82
Figure 9. S-N curves of 4 mm thickness of AA 6061-T6.
TIG: tungsten inert gas; IIW: International Institute of Welding; BS:
British Standard.

where R is the stress ratio. When R = 21, f(R) = 1.3.

Figure 9 shows the S-N curves of AA 6061-T6 butt Safety factors of TIG and VB specimens are listed in
joints processed by TIG welding and VB and the rec- Table 6 and also plotted in Figure 10(a) and (b). The
ommended design curves in three specifications. The following observations were made:
recommended design curves of IIW FAT 45 and
Eurocode 9 category 56-7 had been multiplied by 1.3 in 1. Safety factor increased with increasing life dura-
Figure 9. The stress amplitude in the fatigue experi- tion except that obtained from Eurocode 9 in
ments was 40%85% of the tensile strength. The linear TIG weldment.
regression line obtained from experimental data repre- 2. Safety factors depended on the welding process.
sents 50% survival probability. The experimental S-N They are higher for TIG weldment than for VB
curve with 95% survival probability was obtained from specimen.
the standard deviation shift with Z95. In the higher life 3. For short life duration, safety factors of TIG
region (N = 105 2 3 106 ), experimental S-N curves of weldment and VB specimen were below the
TIG weldments were higher than the recommended value of 2 indicated by IIW FAT 45, BS 8118
design curves of BS 8118 class 42, Eurocode 9 category class 42, and Eurocode 9 category 56-7.
56-7, and IIW FAT 45. As comparing with the experi-
mental results, these three specifications were conserva- Since the HAZ was the area with the lowest micro-
tive. In the lower life region (N = 104105), fatigue hardness, the rupture of the TIG-welded fatigue speci-
design curve of IIW FAT 45 was not applicable to VB men occurred in the HAZ, close to the weld bead.
butt joints. However, the experimental fatigue strength Figure 11(a) shows the fracture surface of the TIG
of VB joint was still higher than those of the BS 8118 weldment, which revealed a large number of smaller
class 42 and Eurocode 9 category 56-7. Regarding to dimples mixed with several larger dimples distributed
the influence of welding process on fatigue strength, on the fracture surface. The fracture surface of the TIG
TIG welding was superior to VB. According to Yahr,25 weldment showed a ductile fracture dominated by dim-
when aluminum alloy specimens were subjected to fati- ples due to microvoid coalescence. The rupture of the
gue loading (R = 21), cyclic hardening caused fatigue VB fatigue specimen occurred at the weld bead. Since
strength enhancement. Therefore, the fatigue strength the cracks grew in the diffusion layer of the weld bead
might be higher than the monotonic yield strength and and the bonding surface of the base metal, the thick-
close to the ultimate strength of the material. ness of the diffusion layer strongly affected the crack
Safety factors were evaluated from experimental and growth. Furthermore, if the welding temperature was
design curves maintained for longer, then the diffusion of the weld
bead was more complete, and the diffusion layer of the
Dsexp Nr weld was less likely to contain defects. Figure 11(b)
fDs = 4 shows the fracture surface of VB specimen. The clea-
Dscode Nr
vage planes were found on the left side of fracture sur-
where Dsexp and Dscode are the stress ranges relative to face, and the dimples were found on the right side of
experimental results and that indicated in the fatigue fracture surface. The fracture surface of VB specimen
design curve for the same number of cycles to failure, showed a combination of both ductile and brittle
respectively. regions.
Lin et al. 9

Figure 10. Safety factors: (a) TIG welding and (b) vacuum brazing.

Figure 11. Fracture surfaces for fatigue specimens: (a) TIG welding and (b) vacuum brazing.

Mean stress effect sa sm

Goodman : + =1 5
Se Su
Many service load histories have a non-zero mean
stress. In this study, the transmission history developed sa sm
by the SAE in the United States was adopted; the mean Gerber : + =1 6
Se Su
stress is tensile. Mean stress correction methods have
been developed to eliminate the burden of having to where sa is the stress amplitude, sm is the mean stress,
carry out fatigue tests at different mean stresses. Se is the endurance fatigue limit, and Su is the ultimate
Generally, there are many theories used to evaluate the tensile strength.
influence of the mean stress. In this article, we The predicted life and experimental life were com-
employed two theories that are commonly used to pared using the S-N curves from the experimental TIG
modify the prediction of fatigue life under fluctuating welding and VB data with a specimen thickness of
loading. Experience has shown that test data tend to 4 mm, following mean stress correction methods that
fall between the Goodman and Gerber curves. were carried out using equations (5) and (6), respec-
Goodman is usually a good choice for brittle materials tively. Figure 12(a) plots the predicted life and experi-
and not bounded when using negative mean stresses. mental life of 4-mm-thick weldments that were
Gerber is usually a good choice for ductile materials prepared by TIG welding. The predicted life made for
and bounded when using negative mean stresses the 4-mm-thick weldment using the Goodman mean
10 Advances in Mechanical Engineering

stress correction method agreed closely with experimen- When equation (7) is substituted into equation (2), the
tal life. Figure 12(b) plots the predicted life and experi- S-N equation is expressed as
mental life of 4-mm-thick weldments that were
prepared using VB. Goodman mean stress correction Sn
Log Nf = Log K  mLog  0:1  Zs 8
method also agreed closely with experimental life. As t10
TIG welding was a fusion-bonding method and VB
was a diffusion-bonding method, the two types of
The IIW specification provided the above equation,
bonding methods were different. Hence, the resulting
which was applicable to molten welding (TIG). VB was
tensile and fatigue properties were different, which
not a molten welding (but was classified as a diffusion
affected the fatigue life prediction based on the variable
bonding), and as the thickness increased, the tensile
amplitude test. As found in Table 4, the elongation of
strength increased accordingly, so the thickness correc-
VB specimens was better than that of the TIG welding
tion equation of the IIW specification was not avail-
specimens. In other words, TIG welding specimens
able. The fatigue strength of aluminum alloy was
were more brittle than VB specimens. Therefore, using
directly proportional to its tensile strength, so the
the Goodman mean stress correction method to predict
authors proposed a tensile strengthbased thickness
the fatigue life of TIG welding specimens would be
correction method. The S-N equation could be
more accurate.
expressed as
As revealed by the above results, for the 4-mm-thick
TIG welding and VB specimens of aluminum alloy Sn
6061-T6, under the transmission history, the Goodman Log Nf = Log K  m Log    Zs 9
mean stress correction method could be used to predic- UTS10
tion life achieved using both welding.
where UTS10 is the ultimate strength (195.5 MPa) of 10-
mm-thick specimen, and UTS4 is the ultimate strength
Size effect (177 MPa) of 4-mm-thick specimen.
The fatigue strength of weldments usually decreases due According to the experimental S-N curves of 4-mm-
to geometry, residual stress, slag, porosity, surface thick TIG weldment and 4-mm-thick VB specimen, the
defect, crack, and HAZ. In the fatigue analysis of weld- thickness corrections were carried out using equations
ment, S-N curves recommended by several standards or (8) and (9). After the mean stress correction was con-
codes are adopted. Thickness correction is also included ducted by re-applying equations (5) and (6), the pre-
in some specifications such as IIW. In this study, we dicted life and experimental life were compared. Figure
consider the fatigue strength of 4-mm-thick specimen as 13(a) plots the predicted life and experimental life of
a reference and check the suitability of different thick- TIG weldment, with an applied thickness correction
ness correction methods. The fatigue strengths of (equation (8)) based on the data from the 4-mm-thick
welded joints that fail from the weld toe are generally S-N curve. For a 10-mm-thick weldment under the
believed to decrease as the plate thickness increases.26 Goodman mean stress correction method, the predicted
Recent work has demonstrated that the thickness effect life agreed closely with the experimental life. Figure
depends on the overall proportions of the welded 13(b) plots the predicted life and experimental life of
joint.27,28 These effects are accounted for by the fatigue AA 6061-T6, processed using VB, with an applied ten-
rules in Eurocode 9. A further refinement in the IIW sile strengthbased thickness correction (equation (9))
recommendations modifies the thickness correction based on data from the 10-mm-thick S-N curve. As
exponent p for various welds. Values range from 0.3 to revealed by Figure 13(b), the life predicted using the
0.1, reflecting the fact that the thickness correction also Goodman mean stress correction method with the ten-
depends on the degree of stress concentration that is sile strengthbased thickness correction was better than
induced by the welded joint. The lower fatigue strength others. For the 10-mm-thick weldment, the predicted
of thicker members is considered by multiplying the life agreed closely with experimental life under the
stress range of the structure by the thickness reduction Goodman mean stress correction method. The above
factor f (t) results indicated that for the 10-mm-thick TIG welding
and VB specimens of aluminum alloy 6061-T6, under
 p the transmission history, the fatigue life could be well
f t = 7 predicted using the Goodman mean stress correction
where the reference thickness tref is 4 mm. The thickness The 10-mm-thick S-N curves could be derived via
correction exponent p is dependent on the effective equations (8) and (9) and 4-mm-thick experimental
thickness teff and the joint category. In this study, the S-N curves. Figure 14 plots the S-N curve for TIG
effective thickness was 10 mm and the p value was 0.1. welding that was obtained by applying the thickness
Lin et al. 11

Figure 12. Comparison between the predicted life and experimental life of 4-mm-thick weldments: (a) TIG welding and (b) vacuum

Figure 13. Comparison between the predicted life and experimental life of 10-mm-thick weldments: (a) TIG welding specimen
with IIW thickness correction and (b) vacuum brazing specimen with and without tensile strengthbased thickness correction.

correction (equation (8)); the S-N curve for VB that

was obtained by applying the tensile strengthbased
thickness correction (equation (9)). Both curves were
compared with those recommended by three specifica-
tions. The S-N curves of both TIG weldment and VB
specimen following thickness correction were higher
than the design curves for the IIW FAT 45, BS 8118
class 42, and Eurocode 9 category 56-7.

This study investigated the mechanical properties of
AA 6061-T6 weldments processed by TIG welding and
Figure 14. S-N curves of 10 mm thickness with corrections. VB. Fatigue tests were conducted on TIG welding and
12 Advances in Mechanical Engineering

VB of butt-welded joints. The effects of mean stress and by accumulative roll-bonding. Mat Sci Eng A: Struct
specimen thickness on the fatigue life were presented. 2002; 325: 228235.
The following conclusions were drawn: 2. Mansourinejad M and Mirzakhani B. Influence of
sequence of cold working and aging treatment on
mechanical behaviour of 6061 aluminum alloy. T Nonferr
1. For the TIG weldment, the area with the lowest Metal Soc 2012; 22: 20722079.
microhardness was the HAZ. For the VB speci- 3. Kim MH, Kim HJ, Han JH, et al. Influence of backing
men, no clear HAZ was observed. materials towards the fatigue strength of butt-welded
2. TIG welding was a molten soldering method and joints. Proc IMechE, Part C: J Mechanical Engineering
VB was a diffusion-bonding method. Difference Science 2011; 225: 17981807.
in mechanism between these two joining methods 4. Grubisic V. Service strength of welded aluminum struc-
leaded to different size effect on tensile strength. tures influences and validation. Weld World 2007; 51:
The tensile strength of the VB specimen increased 116.
with specimen thickness, whereas that of the TIG 5. Fricke W. Recent developments and future challenges in
welding specimen decreased. fatigue strength assessment of welded joints. Proc
IMechE, Part C: J Mechanical Engineering Science 2015;
3. TIG butt joints of AA 6061-T6 achieved higher
229: 12241239.
fatigue strength as compared to the fatigue
6. Sun Y and Yang X. Study on the correction of S-N dis-
design curves of IIW FAT 45, BS 8118 class 42, tribution in the welding fatigue analysis method based on
and Eurocode 9 category 56-7. In the lower life the battelle equivalent structural stress by rough set the-
region (N = 104105), it was found that the fati- ory. Stroj Vestn: J Mech E 2014; 60: 600606.
gue strength of VB joint was lower than that of 7. PD 6493:1991. Guidance on methods for assessing the
IIW FAT 45, but still higher than those of the acceptability of flaws in fusion welded structures.
BS 8118 class 42 and Eurocode 9 category 56-7. 8. Bergmann JP and Herold S. Influence of processing con-
4. When a TIG weldment or VB joint of alumi- ditions on the mechanical properties of aluminium over-
num 6061-T6 was subjected to a variable ampli- lap joints: a case study. Weld World 2006; 50: 5564.
tude loading with tensile mean stress, Goodman 9. Gurney TR. Fatigue of welded structures. 2nd ed. Lon-
method was suitable to modify the mean stress don: Cambridge University Press, 1979.
effect. 10. Drew VN. Fatigue considerations in welded structure.
SAE technical paper 1982-820695, 1982.
5. In terms of the size effect on the fatigue life, the
11. Zhou C, Yang X and Luan G. Fatigue properties of fric-
thickness correction method recommended by tion stir welds in Al 5083 alloy. Scripta Mater 2005; 53:
the IIW with p = 0.1 was applicable to the TIG 11871191.
butt joint of aluminum 6061-T6. 12. Pinho da Cruz JAM, Costa JDM, Borrego LFP, et al.
6. This article proposed an innovational thickness Fatigue life prediction in AlMgSi1 lap joint weldments.
correction method which was based on the ratio Int J Fatigue 2000; 22: 601610.
of the ultimate tensile strengths of specimens with 13. Ye N and Moan T. Improving fatigue life for aluminium
different thickness. For VB components, the ten- cruciform joints by weld toe grinding. Fatigue Fract Eng
sile strengthbased thickness correction method M 2008; 31: 152163.
was better than the thickness correction methods 14. Radaj D, Sonsino CM and Fricke W. Recent develop-
recommended by the IIW and Eurocode 9. ments in local concepts of fatigue assessment of welded
joints. Int J Fatigue 2009; 31: 211.
15. Ericsson M, Jin LZ and Sandstrom R. Fatigue properties
Declaration of conflicting interests of friction stir overlap welds. Int J Fatigue 2007; 29:
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with
16. Di S, Yang X, Luan G, et al. Comparative study on fati-
respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this
gue properties between AA2024-T4 friction stir welds and
base materials. Mat Sci Eng A: Struct 2006; 435: 389395.
17. Zhou C, Yang X and Luan G. Effect of root flaws on the
Funding fatigue property of friction stir welds in 2024-T3 alumi-
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial sup- num alloys. Mat Sci Eng A: Struct 2006; 418: 155160.
port for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this 18. Xu X, Yang X, Zhou G, et al. Microstructures and fati-
article: This work was supported by the Ministry of Science gue properties of friction stir lap welds in aluminum alloy
and Technology, ROC under the contract no. NSC-101-2221- AA6061-T6. Mater Design 2012; 35: 175183.
E-008-011-MY3. 19. Di S, Yang X, Fang D, et al. The influence of zigzag-
curve defect on the fatigue properties of friction stir welds
in 7075-T6 Al alloy. Mater Chem Phys 2007; 104:
References 244248.
1. Lee SH, Saito Y, Sakai T, et al. Microstructures and 20. British Standard (BS) 8118:1991. Structural use of
mechanical properties of 6061 aluminum alloy processed aluminiumpart 1 code of practice for design.
Lin et al. 13

21. Eurocode 9:2007. Design of aluminium structurespart 25. Yahr GT. Fatigue design curves for 6061-T6 aluminum. J
1-3: structures susceptible to fatigue. Press Vess: T ASME 1997; 119: 211215.
22. Hobbacher A. Recommendations for fatigue design of 26. Gurney TR. The influence of thickness on the fatigue
welded joints and components (IIW doc. 1823-07, Welding strength of welded joints. In: Proceedings of the 2nd inter-
Research Council, Bulletin 520). New York: Welding national conference on behaviour of offshore structures,
Research Council, 2009. London, 2831 August 1979. Cranfield: BHRA Fluid
23. Lin H. Application of Taguchi method in the optimiza- Engineering.
tion of vacuum brazing parameters. In: Proceedings of 27. Maddox SJ. The effect of plate thickness on the fatigue
the 30th national conference on mechanical engineering of strength of fillet welded joints. Cambridge: Abingdon,
CSME, Taichung, Taiwan, 67 December 2013, paper 1987.
no. 1499. Taiwan: Chinese Society of Mechanical 28. Maddox SJ. Scale effect in fatigue of fillet welded alumi-
Engineers. nium alloys. In: Proceedings of the 6th international con-
24. Dowling NE. Fatigue failure predictions for complicated ference on aluminium weldments, Cleveland, OH, 35
stress-strain histories. J Mater 1972; 7: 7187. April 1995. Miami: American Welding Society.