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Weldability window for copper/Low carbon steel plates using explosives

S. Saravanan 1, K. Raghukandan 2
Department of Mechanical Engineering,AnnamalaiUniversity, Annamalai nagar ,Cuddalore ,District,
Tamilnadu 608 002 India
Department of Manufacturing Engineering, Annamalai University, Annamalai nagar, Cuddalore District,
Tamil Nadu 608 002 India


Explosive cladding is a solid state fusion welding process in which the joining of two
metals is accomplished by the application of the pressure released by the detonation of an
explosive pack. Weldability windows for this technique are essential in tailoring welding
conditions in order to obtain both straight and wavy interfaces. Weldability domain
depends only on the properties of weaker or flyer plate. Mathematical relations suggested
by various researchers were used to determine the limits of weldability window. The
objective of this work is to suggest the better location for welding in order to get a wavy

Explosive cladding is an unconventional technique of joining two metals by the use of
explosives . This is a solid phase process in which the bonding is produced by the
oblique high velocity collision between the two plates to be welded. As the explosion is
initiated the flyer plate is accelerated by the detonation pressure and flies at a very high
velocity towards the parent plate. The stand-off provides the distance across which the
flyer can be accelerated at the necessary impact velocity. The stand-off also provides an
unobstructed exit path for the free jet and air between the mating plates. The bond
between the two metals is strong produces a “surface jetting” effect resulting in a strong
bond between the metals (2). The strength of the clad is always greater than the weaker
parent metal. The use of steel-copper bimetal in the manufacture of parts
for smelting furnaces considerably increases the service life of the
furnace and raises the equipment reliability. Copper is the most common
metal used in high current, low voltage conductor systems. Low carbon steel provides
good strength at low cost. Welding of Copper- Low carbon steel is not possible by
conventional methods. Explosive welding provides a viable alternative to weld this
dissimilar combination. . The quality of bonds strongly depends on judicial control of
process parameters. These include surface preparation, stand off distance, explosive load,
detonation energy and detonation velocity.(3) The welding window enables the analytical
condition for the formation of wavy and straight interface. This study was conducted to
generate a weldability domain for copper- Low carbon steel dissimilar combinations and
to optimize the ideal locations for welding within the window. Within the window
experimental results were plotted.

The schematic illustration of explosive welding is shown in fig 1.


x plo

Stand off distance

Base plate

Fig 1. Inclined Explosive welding process

Raghukandan (4) has opted copper plate (120mm*50mm) as the flyer and lowcarbonsteel
(120mm*50mm) as the base plate for his experiments. Nitroglycerine (detonation
velocity=2500m/s) a proven explosive was used as the energy generator. Thickness of
flyer plate was varied from 2mm to 6mm. Weldability windows for this combination was
calculated and the experimental results of Raghukandan were plotted on the generated

Estimation of welding conditions:

Inclined geometry:
The flyer plate velocity Vp can be calculated using Gurney equation (5)
−1 / 2
 (1 + 2 / R ) 3 + 1 1 
 
Vp = 2E  6(1 + 1 / R ) + r  (3)
 
Where Vd is detonation velocity of explosive and r is the loading ratio. √2E is the Gurney
energy, which is experimentally known for common explosives. The dynamic bend angle
β, collision angle γ and welding velocity Vc were calculated from Birkhoff equation (5)
 β −α 
cos  
Vc = V P  2  (4)

sin β

 β − α  VP
sin  = (5)
 2  2Vd
γ =β+α (6)

Where α is the initial angle, Vp is the plate velocity. Known values of α, β, Vd, Vp, Vw
and the properties of the materials enable the design of the weldability

Weldability window:

The development of theoretical model which is capable of predicting the mechanism by

which the waves are produced is the best approach which is attempted herein. The wavy
interface without intermetallics yields the most desirable properties(6). Witmann et al.
and Deribas et al.(8) developed a explosive welding window in which collision angle β

is plotted in ordinates and welding velocity Vc in absicca. The portion of the left
boundary is of much interest as it gives the minimum collision velocity for cladding.
Behind this limit smooth weld is not possible. Simonov(9) proposed a equation which
gives the minimum collision velocity

Vc =K (2Hv/ρ) 0.5 (1)

Where K is a constant depends on flyer plate, Hv is Vickers hardness of flyer in Mpa and
ρ is the density of flyer plate in Kg/m3.The right limit is known as the sound velocity of
materials or 120% of bulk sound velocity. It is however; experimentally evident that
approaching the upper limit of Vc restricts the choice of other parameters within window.
Knowledge of the minimum satisfactory values is more important in practice. The lower
and upper limits of dynamic angle β were experimentally determined by Bahrani and
Crossland.(5). Stivers and Witmann (7)
and Deribas etal. (8)
concurred the lower limit for
welding given in eqn (2) as follows
β = K2
Sin (2)
Where β is in radians,K2 is a constant ,Hv is the Vickers hardness and ρ is the density.
Nevertheless, Deribas etal. (8) noted that eqn (2) gives values different from experiment at
large values of β, so that they suggested the following equation for the lower boundary as
β = K2 (3)
The value of K2 is 0.6 for high-quality pre-cleaning of surfaces, and1.2 for imperfectly
cleaned surfaces and 0.85 for general situations. The lower limit for bonding was also
proposed by Blosinski(11) as follows
Vc = Vp/ 2sin (β/2) (4)

Vp = (5)

Deribas et al., Crossland and Wittman(5) proposed two different equations for the upper
limit for welding above which interfacial melting will occur, while the Deribas etal.
accept that melting occurs and determine the condition that the time for solidification
should be less than the time for tensile wave to reach the interface. Deribas et al.
Crossland and Wittman relationships are given in Eqs (6).and (7) respectively, as follows:

Sin (β/2) = K3/ (t0.25.Vc1.25) (6)

Vp = K4/t 0.25.Vc (7)

Where k3 = Cf/2, Cf = (K/ρ)1/2,K=E/3(1-2ν),t is the thickness of flyer plate, K is the bulk
modulus and Cf is the shear wave velocity. According to Petushkov (12), the velocity of the
contact points that corresponds transition from straight to wavy interface is given by
0 .5
 20 H V 
VC = 
 ρ 
 (8)
 
Hv is the hardness of metal and ρ is its density.

To achieve welding jetting has to occur. The jet velocity was obtained using the
following equation. (5)
Vj = ( (1 + cos β ) (9)
sin β

Results and discussion:

The weldability windows for these dissimilar metals are analytically found and are shown
below. The lower limit was same for the combination while the upper limit of weldability
window depends on the thickness of flyer. The flyer thickness greatly influnces the bond
strength as it determines the explosive energy transmitted to the bond area To get a
clear picture on the experimental conditions different windows were shown for different

Fig 2. Flyer thickness 2mm Fig 3. Flyer thickness 3mm

Fig 4. Flyer thickness 4mm Fig 5. Flyer thickness 5mm

Fig 6. Flyer thickness 6mm

For the calculation of left and upper limit a constant k which is a polytropic exponent of
detonation products is used. Unfortunately a constant value cannot be given to K as it
depends on the detonation velocity. Determination of lower limit is more important as it
gives the minimum value for welding. Right limit is not of high significance as the
detonation velocity of explosive is very less than the sound velocity of the material. The
transition region predicts the transition from smooth to wavy interface, as the presence of
wave is considered as good weld.
From the welding windows it is observed that, as the thickness of flyer increases
weldability region becomes narrow. If the initial angle α increase welding velocity
decreases. Any point within the window would mean successful welding with wavy
interface. Points closer to the lower limits are preferable because a lower collision angle
results in small waves and lower plate velocity reduces interfacial layer and defects.
1. Weldability window is an effective procedure for tailoring welding conditions for
explosive welding and is helpful in determining the conditions for obtaining
straight, smooth weld formation.
2. Flyer material is more influential in the construction of weldability window.
3. Hardness and density of the flyer plate determine the lower limit of the required
4. As the thickness of flyer plate increases the welding region becomes narrow.
5. Points closer to the lower limits of welding window are preferable.
6. As the collision angle increases welding velocity decreases.

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