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R. M.

Chandima Ratnayake1
Department of Mechanical and Structural
Engineering and Materials Science,
University of Stavanger,
Underwater Friction Stud
Stavanger N-4036, Norway
e-mail: Welding Optimal Parameter
H. O. Ytterhaug
Department of Mechanical and Structural Estimation: Engineering Robust
Engineering and Materials Science,
University of Stavanger,
Stavanger N-4036, Norway
Design Based Approach
Underwater friction stud welding (FRSW) without a shroud around the stud requires con-
trolling welding parameters to achieve optimal joint strength. A hydraulic FRSW unit has
P. Bogwald been designed and fabricated to perform FRSW without a shroud via a remotely operated
Department of Mechanical and Structural
underwater vehicle (ROV). An experimental study has been initiated to investigate the
Engineering and Materials Science,
optimal FRSW parameter combinations and corresponding values leading to optimal ulti-
University of Stavanger,
mate tensile load capacity (UTLC) values in the welded joint. The engineering robust
Stavanger N-4036, Norway
design (ERD) approach has been deployed to run the experiment. Each weld has been
made with a S355 M12 stud on S355 structural steel plate. This paper discusses the ex-
perimental approach, results and conclusions reached in the parameter evaluation, esti-
S. T. R. Nilsen mation, and experimentation. [DOI: 10.1115/1.4028466]
Department of Mechanical and Structural
Engineering and Materials Science, Keywords: underwater friction welding, engineering robust design, optimal parameter,
University of Stavanger, ultimate tensile load capacity
Stavanger N-4036, Norway

1 Introduction the quenching effect gives rise to excessive hardness and severe
cracking even at relatively shallow depths [9]. Although the cool-
The friction welding (FRW) of metals was proposed by the ma-
ing efficiency of the water is supposed to be independent of depth,
chinist Chudikov during the mid-1950s, and the approach was
there are slight changes due to the variation of temperature and sa-
patented (No. 106 270) during 1956 [1]. Although the possibility
linity [10,11]. The aforementioned becomes a significant chal-
of utilizing friction heat for welding had been indicated previously
lenge, especially in the case of subsea interventions for
in the literature, only Chudikov managed to prove that it is possi-
modifications and repair activities using FRW in the North Sea.
ble to make a high quality butt weld between two steels rods by
For instance, the FRSW has been “utilized to retrofit sacrificial
utilizing heat generated by friction [1]. Existing welding methods
anodes to subsea pipelines although the pipeline is live (that is, it
are broadly categorized in two classes: (1) fusion welding; (2)
proceeds to transportation hydrocarbons at pressure)” [5]. In some
solid state welding; and (3) brazing/soldering. The FRW is a solid
instances, the anodes are positioned on the sea bed “next to the
state welding process, in which the welded connection is formed
pipeline and a lug on a cable from the anode is connected to the
without melting the metal. The bonding takes place by joint plas-
stud welded on the pipeline” [5]. However, the effect of cooling
tic deformation of the pieces to be welded via heat generated from
rates due to the surrounding water is mitigated by the foamed
friction [2,3]. The FRW has advantages over the other welding
plastics, which are utilized to form a shroud around the weld
approaches as the “bonding in FRW [which] takes place below
region [12]. In essence, a shroud protects the friction welded joint
the melting point limits the extent and complexity of metallurgical
from the surrounding water during the FRW, minimizing the
reactions causing embrittlement (i.e., formation of intermetallic
quenching effect (i.e., minimized hardness changes) and giving
phases), cracking and porosity” [4]. Also, rotary FRW (in particu-
acceptable welds [13]. However, some of the tailor-made FRSW
lar stud welding) has been proven to be significantly easier to per-
applications demand that they are performed without a shroud. It
form underwater [5]. Hence, FRSW has been widely employed in
is a challenge to estimate optimum FRSW parameter settings,
the offshore oil and gas (O&G) industry, especially in subsea
under no shroud conditions, which meet the optimal UTLC
related repair and modifications [6].
requirements. Hence, the aforementioned kind of applications
The FRW processes are generally sensitive to the surroundings
requires the determination of those parameter settings which
in which they are made [7,8]. For instance, the underwater FRW
provide optimal UTLC and material property requirements in a
causes rapid cooling of the weld and leads to poor weld properties
friction welded joint.
[9]. For instance, practical experience, research and literature indi-
The ERD approach provides means of improving the perform-
cates that when the steel studs are friction welded to steel plates,
ance of an engineering application (e.g., FRW), while minimizing
the effect of inherent “noise” [Note: the noise is referred to as
uncontrollable variations (i.e., making underwater FRWs without
Corresponding author. a shroud and resulting changes) that may affect the performance
Contributed by the Ocean, Offshore, and Arctic Engineering Division of ASME
of a particular engineering application] [14–16].
Manuscript received March 4, 2014; final manuscript received August 25, 2014; This paper focuses on a special case, in which a tailor-made
published online September 25, 2014. Assoc. Editor: John Halkyard. FRSW design is going to be integrated with an ROV and perform

Journal of Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering FEBRUARY 2015, Vol. 137 / 011401-1
C 2015 by ASME
Copyright V

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Table 1 Chemical composition of S355 steel

Chemical composition (maximum %)

Steel C P Mn S Si

S355 0.200 0.025 1.600 0.025 0.550

Fig. 1 FRSW test rig: CAD model versus prototype

Fig. 3 A motor coupling to hold the stud and tightening of test

stud into the motor coupling

Fig. 2 A container to create underwater conditions

the FRW without using a shroud. The paper provides an experi-

mental FRSW study that has been performed using ERD
approach to investigate the optimal parameter settings. The
experiments have been performed at underwater conditions,
without utilizing a shroud, with S355 M12 bolts on S355 struc-
tural steel plates.

2 Industrial Challenge
There is considerable potential that it is possible to use FRW
processes in hostile environments due to the possibility of using
sophisticated ROVs together with advanced control systems. Fig. 4 Arrangement of stud and a sample plate in the FRSW
Hence, the FRW processes have been tailor-made for special test rig
requirements, and in some cases developed for use in irradiated
environments, high vacuum, underwater (even at great depth).
During the underwater FRW, the reduction of softened zones (i.e.,
responsible for the improvement in mechanical properties) results hydraulic powered systems are capable of being used with an
due to cooling [17]. Moreover, Darras and Kishta [18] have ROV and of operating at higher depths than air powered systems.
reported that the hardness of a submerged friction weld is higher Figure 2 illustrates the arrangement in the test rig to hold the plate
than that of a friction weld in air. They have also reported that and stud inside a container during FRSW to create underwater
more grain refinements are “attained under submerging conditions (or subsea) conditions.
due to faster cooling rate.” The aforementioned findings necessi- The tests have been performed using partially threaded M12
tate performing experiments to investigate the optimal FRW studs. Both the stud and plate are S355 steel. The S355 steel is
parameters which result in optimal UTLC in the welded joint. specified as a high-yield nonalloy steel. The chemical composition
is illustrated in Table 1.
3 Methodology The name S355 has been assigned [Note: First specified in the
European EN10025 standard and later published by the British
3.1 Design of the FRSW Test Rig. The FRSW test rig, Standards Institute (BSI) as BS EN 10025 S355, S355J2, and
which was designed to establish the initial welding parameters in S355J2 þ N, which have been superseded by BS4360 grades] due
Ratnayake [19], has been improved and is illustrated in Fig. 1. to the fact that the average minimum yield strength of the steel is
Then, the prototype of the designed test model was fabricated. 355 N/mm2 [20]. The M12 studs have been prepared using CNC
In general, while the motor, which may be the hydraulic or LB9 series turning center. Each stud has been held in place by
electric type, rotates the stud at high speeds, the pistons apply the simply screwing it into the motor coupling (see Fig. 3).
necessary axial force on the stud. Hydraulic cylinders have been Plates with 10 mm thickness have been cut to about (30  100)
introduced to the test rig to increase the accuracy. Moreover, mm pieces and tightened to the test rig (see Fig. 4).

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Table 3 Standard orthogonal array L9

Experiment number P S HT FT

1 1 1 1 1
2 1 2 2 2
3 1 3 3 3
4 2 1 2 3
5 2 2 3 1
6 2 3 1 2
7 3 1 3 2
8 3 2 1 3
9 3 3 2 1

[i.e., in this case, L9 orthogonal array is selected as four signifi-

cant input parameters (P, S, heating time (HT), and forging time
(FT)), which have been identified] [14,21]. Table 3 illustrates the
standard L9 orthogonal array.

3.2.3 Formulas Related to ERD Approach. The current study

focuses on investigating optimal FRSW parameter values that
Fig. 5 An arrangement of the plate inside the water container lead to the optimal joint UTLC. Hence, the larger-the-better
on the hydraulic cylinder objective function proposed in ERD has been selected for analyz-
ing the experimental data [14,21].
As the electric motors are not designed to meet high axial loads As suggested in the ERD approach, the larger-the-better case
on the shaft, a supportive thrust bearing has been placed to take has been selected for estimating parameter values that result in the
the axial load during FRSW. This has also been designed to ena- optimal joint UTLC. The relationship given in Eq. (1) has been
ble increased stability for the specimen and maintain its alignment utilized for calculating the signal to noise ratio [14]. The mean
with the motor shaft axis during welding. The overall arrangement values of the parameter values of each experiment are transformed
[i.e., the mounting plate (i.e., where a stud is to be welded) inside into S/N ratio values (gi; i ¼ 1,2,...,9).
the water container on the hydraulic cylinders] is illustrated in (  )
Fig. 5. 1 Xn
S=N ratioðgi Þ ¼ 10 log10 (1)
In essence, rotational speed generated by the electric motor to- n i¼1 y1ij
gether with axial pressure generates heat, which produces a
temperature increase on the joint surface sufficient for pressure
where n is number of replications, yij is performance indicator
welding (i.e., for steel, the temperature range is between 900 and
(i.e., joint UTLC) value; (i ¼ 1,2,…, n and j ¼ 1,2,…,9).
1300  C). Once the temperature is reached, the relative movement
The relationship in Eq. (2) calculates the signal to noise ratio
of the friction surfaces is halted in the shortest possible time (i.e.,
under the optimum levels of parameter design (gopt) [14].
instantaneously) to stop the introduction of heat. The FRSW pro-
cess is concluded by natural cooling of the joint under the applied
axial pressure [1]. The temperature of the water is maintained in gopt ¼ a þ aPi þ aSj þ aFT
k þ eijklmn (2)
the range of (10–14)  C throughout the experimentation process.
where a is overall mean S/N ratio over all the possible combina-
tions, i, j, k, l ¼ particular levels of each of the factors which were
3.2 Testing Approach selected (so in this model i, j, k, and l must all take on one of the
3.2.1 Establishment of Parameter Levels. Based on the exper- values 1, 2, or 3) aPi is deviation from a caused by setting factor P
imental results and the Welding Handbook [7] published by the at level i (similarly, other terms can be defined), eijkl is error term.
American Welding Society (AWS), the minimum, average and Each experiment was performed with three replicates in order
maximum values have been established to use the ERD approach to mitigate the bias. Then, using Eq. (2), signal to ratio at opti-
for performing the experiment(s). Table 2 illustrates the input pa- mum settings was calculated. The relationship in Eq. (3) has been
rameter levels that have been used to design the ERD approach utilized to calculate the corresponding output parameter values
based experiment(s) for investigating the optimal parameter [14].
settings of underwater FRSW. gopt
y ¼ 10 10 (3)
3.2.2 ERD Approach Centered Experimentation Basis. The
main goal in the ERD approach proposes matrices consisting of A verification experiment has been carried out using recognized
orthogonal arrays [14]. An orthogonal array is selected for a optimum settings, and results were compared to verify the validity
particular experiment based on the number of input parameters and establish the ERD approach for recognizing FRSW parameter
values corresponding to optimal joint UTLC.
Table 2 Parameter levels used for experiment(s)

Parameter levels 4 Results

The experiments have been performed with a minimum of three
Parameter 1 2 3
replicates. The results were recorded and the necessary calcula-
Pressure (P)/(MPa) 50 70 90 tions were performed. Table 4 illustrates levels of input parame-
Speed (S)/(rpm) 1400 2800 4200 ters and S/N ratios of output (i.e., S/N ratios of joint UTLC) for
HT/(s) 2.5 5 7 each of nine experiments.
FT/(s) 2 5 10 An Instron model 5985 tensile test machine has been used to
measure the joint UTLC. A program setup in the tensile test

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Table 4 Levels of input factors and S/N ratios of joint UTLC Table 5 Theoretically calculated joint UTLC value based on the
optimal parameter settings
Experiment S/N ratio
number P (MPa) S (rpm) HT (s) FT (s) (dB) Best parameter levels gopt /(dB) Theoretically calculated
combination (Eq. (2)) optimal joint UTLC (kN)(Eq. (3))
1 52.1 1402 2.5 2 87.396
2 52.1 2798 5.0 5 95.142 P2-S2-FT3-HT3 102.127 127.7
3 52.1 4199 7.0 10 95.730 P2-S2-FT3-HT2 101.724 121.9
4 69.4 1402 5.0 10 95.216
5 69,4 2798 7.0 2 94.343
6 69.4 4199 2.5 5 95.181
7 90.3 1402 7.0 5 95.253
8 90.3 2798 2.5 10 95.840
The optimal parameter values revealed from the experiments
9 90.3 4199 5.0 2 81.695 are illustrated in Table 6.

4.2 Verification Experiment and Results. A verification

experiment has been performed with optimal parameter values to
machine enabled the calculation of the ultimate UTLC of each validate the optimal parameter combination and if the correspond-
weld sample. ing values result in the optimal joint UTLC. The results of the ver-
Plots of parameter effects of the joint UTLC versus parameter ification experiment are illustrated in Table 7.
levels are presented in Fig. 6. The observed joint UTLC (57.830 kN) is higher than that of the
theoretical maximum tensile load that the stud is able to withstand
4.1 The Optimal Parameter Combination and Corre- (42.840 kN) at the threaded area. The experimental investigations
sponding Values. The best settings and the corresponding revealed that all three replicates broke in the threaded area of the
theoretically calculated optimal value of joint UTLC [using stud. Hence, it is possible to verify that the suggested ERD
Eqs. (2) and (3)] are summarized in Table 5. approach provides the optimal parameter values that result in the
As the levels HT3 and HT2 indicate a small difference, the the- optimal joint UTLC.
oretically calculated joint UTLC has been calculated for both.
However, a verification experiment has only been performed for 5 Different Zones, Hardness Values, and
the parameter level combination: P2-S2-FT3-HT3. It is observed Microstructures
that theoretical UTLC ¼ 127.7 >> 42.840, where 42.840 kN is the
theoretical maximum tensile load that the stud is able to withstand Figure 7 illustrates the approximate positions of the hardness
at the threaded area. measurement zones.

Fig. 6 Plots of parameter effects versus levels. (a) Pressure versus S/N ratio, (b)
speed versus S/N ratio, (c) FT versus S/N ratio, and (d) HT versus S/N ratio.

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Table 6 Optimal parameter values

Input parameter Optimal levels

P (kN) 69.4
S (rpm) 2798
FT (s) 7
HT (s) 10

Table 7 Results of verification experiment

Output parameter Experimental result

UTLC/(kN) 57.830 (>42.840)

Maximum hardness/(HV1) 346 (i.e., at zone 4)

Fig. 8 Microstructure of the base plate

Fig. 7 Approximate positions of hardness measurement zones

Table 8 Maximum hardness values versus zone

Fig. 9 Microstructure at zone 3
Experiment number Maximum hardness (HV1) Zone

1 429.0 4
2 396.3 4
3 341.0 4a
4 430.7 4
5 351.0 3b
6 337.0 4
7 393.3 4
8 366.7 4
9 414.3 5
25% below zone 5.
In between 3 and 4.

Table 8 illustrates the maximum hardness value versus the cor-

responding zone for each experiment.
Figure 8 illustrates the microstructure at the unaffected zone of
the base plate. The average hardness has been observed to be 201
Figure 9 illustrates a microstructure at zone 3. The microstruc-
ture indicates martensite as well as a blend of ferrite, pearlite, and
bainite. The hardness of the microstructure has been observed to Fig. 10 Microstructure at zone 4
be 247 HV1.
Figure 10 illustrates a microstructure at zone 4 which has been
taken from the verification experiment. The microstructure indi- exposure to higher cooling rates. The hardness has been observed
cates bainite and ferrite formations and smaller grains tend to to be about 500 HV1. However, the flash zone has no effect on the
have the highest overall hardness (average 346 HV1). joint performance.
Figure 11 illustrates a microstructure at the extruded flash, Figure 12 illustrates a microstructure at the unaffected base
which indicates the formation of a martensitic structure due to the metal zone of the stud. The microstructure of the base metal stud

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optimal hardness (when the hardness has been predefined). It is
possible to use the “nominal the better” or “smaller the better”
approach that has been suggested in the ERD approach for the
investigation of parameter combinations that lead to anticipated
hardness. For instance, in subsea systems, a maximum limit of
350 HV10 applies for carbon steel welds [22]. If the nominal or
anticipated hardness values have been decided, then it is possible
to use the “nominal the best” approach to investigate the optimal
parameter combinations. Hence, further research should be
carried out, employing the ERD approach for estimating and veri-
fying optimal parameter combinations that will result a nominal
(or target) hardness value at the weld joint.

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