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Friction and Wear Research Vol. 1 Iss.

3, October 2013

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Electrochemical Corrosion Behavior of


Friction Stir Welding Weld for 6061
Aluminum Alloy
Yadong Zhao*1, Qiang He2
School of Mechanical Engineering, Anyang Institute of Technology China
zhaoyadong1983@163.com; 2aystar@163.com

*1

Abstract
Microstructure of the Friction Stir welded was characterized
by its much finer grains as contrast with the grains of parent
material. At the ambient temperature 0.2 M NaHSO3 and 0.6
M NaCl solution, the electrochemical corrosion behavior of
friction stir welded 6061 aluminum alloy and 6061 parent
material were comparatively investigated by static weight
loss experiment (gravimetric test), potentiodynamic
polarization curve and scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
observation. The corrosion rate of the weld with the tool
rotation rate of 800 r/min, the traverse speed of 160 mm/min,
was less than that of the parent material; and the weld
showed more positive corrosion potential, less current
density, larger Rp (polarization resistance) than the parent
material. SEM observation showed that a few shallow pits
were presented on the surface of the weld. However, a large
number of deeper pits emerged on the surface of the parent
material.
Keywords
Friction Stir Welding (FSW); Electrochemical Corrosion; Weld;
6061 Aluminum Alloy

Introduction
Friction stir welding (FSW) was invented at The
Welding Institute (TWI) of UK in 1991 as a solid-state
joining technique that unites thermal and mechanical
aspects to produce a high quality joint, and it was
initially applied to aluminum alloys (Thoms et al. 1991;
Colligan et al. 1998; Murr et al. 1998). Because it is a
solid state joining process that no melt metal emerges
during welding, and it can avoid many defects in
fusion welding techniques, FSW has been used on
many alloys that are typically difficult to be welded
(Liu et al. 2007), and many advantages of friction stir
welding make FSW extremely attractive for the joining
of aerospace aluminum alloys and magnesium alloy.
In a relatively short duration after invention, quite a few
successful applications of FSW have been demonstrated.
Meanwhile, many researchers have devoted to

systematically investigating the microstructural


evolutions (Mahoneyet al. 1998), the residual stress
and hardness distributions (Peelet al.2003), the
mechanical properties (strength and ductility) (Satoet
al.2001), fatigue and fracture toughness (Lomolinoaet
al.2005) of FSW joints, however, the electrochemical
corrosion behaviours have been rarely studied.
To authors knowledge, for a wide range of
engineering applications of FSW, the corrosion
susceptibility, especially the ambient electrochemical
corrosion behavior of the high-strength aluminum
alloy FSW weld is a concern. In the present
communication, firstly, the microstructure of FSW
weld and 6061 parent material were characterized.
Then at the ambient temperature 0.2M NaHSO3 and
0.6MNaCl solution, by static weight loss experiment
(gravimetric test), potentiodynamic polarization (PDP)
curve, electrochemical impedance spectra (EIS) and
scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observation, the
electrochemical corrosion behavior of FSW weld and
parent material were comparatively investigated. Some
interesting and surprising results of electrochemical
corrosion behavior of 6061 FSW weld were obtained.
Experiment
Apparatus
Static weight loss experiments were carried out in a
rectangular glass tanker with a capacity of 3000 ml.
After the immersion tests for a given interval of 24h,
the samples were treated by the procedure adopted by
K. S. Ferrer et al (Ferrerand Kelly.2001), dried, then
weighed by a type-FA1104A electrical balance
(accuracy: 0.1 mg), finally observed by SEM.
Potentiodynamic polarization tests were carried out
using CHI600B electrochemical station at ambient
temperature, using a pyrex glass, single compartment,
three-electrode cell with a capacity of 100ml. Electrode

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Friction and Wear Research Vol. 1 Iss. 3, October 2013

potentials were measured with respect to an aqueous


KCl saturated calomel electrode (SCE). A Pt sheet was
used as the counter electrode. The potential was
scanned from -1.5 V to 1.5 V versus the open current
potential (Ecorr). Scan speed was set at 0.01V/Sec.
EIS measurement was carried out with the EG&G
PARC Parstat 2273 controlled by POWERSINE at Eocp
and an AC sine wave amplitude of 10 mV was utilized.
The applied frequency ranged from 105 to 10-2 Hz. The
samples for this experiment were also treated the same
as in PDP test. The impedance data, Rs was the
solution resistance, Rp was the polarization resistance,
Ro was the oxide film resistance, and C was the
interfacial capacitance, which were analyzed by
Zsimpwin software.
The morphologies of corrosion surfaces for weld and
parent material after static weight loss experiment
(gravimetric test) were analyzed by JSM-6360LV
scanning electrode microscope (SEM).
Chemicals and Materials
The tests were carried on with 6061 aluminum alloy
plate with thickness of 4mm. The chemical
composition of 6061 aluminum alloy was listed in
Table 1. The FSW samples were prepared by a
Suspensory apparatus of FSW manufactured in China
FSW Center. The process parameters were chosen as
the tool rotation rate of 800 r/min, the traverse speed
of 160 mm/ min. All chemicals used were of the purity
of reagent grade. Each wire-cut sample was
encapsulated with epoxy resin and supported by a
PVC holder, then ground with silicon carbide (SiC)
papers, finally polished to a diamond paste. The
exposure area of the sample was 10mm10mm.
TABLE 1 CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF 6061 ALUMINUM ALLOY

Element

Si

Fe

Cu

Mg

Mn

Cr

Wt%

0.4

0.70

0.15

0.8

0.15

0.04

Zn

Ti

0.25 0.15

Al
bal

grains, as shown in Fig. 1(a).


Fig. 1(b) showed FSW weld zone center grain structure
in contrast to the parent material grain structure.
While the slightly elongated and larger grain structure
in the parent material was significantly recrystallized
in contrast to parent material. Correspondingly, the
equiaxed, dynamically recrystallized grain structure in
the weld zone center was changed in terms of actual,
avrange grain size, from the parent material (Corral et
al. 2000).

The contribution of intense plastic deformation and


high-temperature exposure within the stirred zone
during FSW resulted in recrystallization. Intense
plastic deformation and frictional heating during FSW
resulted in generation of a recrystallized fine-grained
microstructure within stirred zone. In the interior of the
recrystallized grains, usually there was low dislocation
density (Mishra and Ma. 2005). The microstructure of
6061 parent material was characterized by its coarse
30

200
m

60 m

FIG. 1 MICROSTRUCTURESOF (a) 6061 PARENTMATERIAL AND


(b) FSWWELDZONECENTER

Static Weight Loss Experiments


Herein, 0.2M NaHSO3 and 0.6MNaCl solution was
picked up as the corrosive media in order to simulate
the polluted acidic industrial atmosphere. The
electrolyte solutions temperature was ambient
temperature. For each kind of material (FSW weld and
6061 parent material), there were three parellel
samples. The average corrosion rate was calculated by
eq 1, and all data for immersion tests were listed in
Table 2.

1 2

(1)

TABLE 2 RESULTS OF IMMERSION TEST FOR FSW WELD AND PARENT


MATERIAL

Sample
F

Results and Discussion


Microstructure

s10-6
(m2)
1160

m1
(g)
6.4494

m2
(g)
6.4428

t
(h)
24

v10-1
(g/(m2h))
2.37

v 10-1
(g/(m2h))
2.53

1160

6.4478

6.4411

24

2.41

1160

6.5848

6.5770

24

2.8

1160

6.4463

6.4346

24

4.2

1160

6.4525

6.4418

24

3.84

1188

6.6798

6.6702

24

3.37

3.8

Sample FSW weld was coded as F, 6061 parent


material as P, m1 and m2 were the sample mass before
and after corrosion, respectively, s was the area
exposed in solution, t was the time of corrosion, v was
corrosion rate of each measurement, and was average
corrosion rate of three parallel samples. According to
eq 1, of FSW weld and parent metal were 0.253 g/
(m2h) and 0.38 g/(m2h), respectively. This result

Friction and Wear Research Vol. 1 Iss. 3, October 2013

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Poteniodynamic Polarization Curves


Fig. 2 was the potentiodynamic polarization curves of
6061 FSW weld and parent material in 0.2M NaHSO3
and 0.6M NaCl solution at ambient temperature. The
electrochemical parameters of FSW weld and parent
material were listed in Table 3. Ecorr of FSW weld was
more positive than that of parent material, while Icorr
was less than that of parent material. The whole
potentiodynamic polarization curve of FSW weld was
on the top left-hand side of the potentiodynamic
polarization curve of the parent metal over the entire
potential range. Fig.2 and Table 3 also indicated that
the corrosion resistance of FSW weld in 0.2 M NaHSO3
and 0.6 M NaCl solution was improved, in comparison
with parent material. These results were in accordance
with those obtained from static weight loss
experiments.
TABLE 3 ELECTROCHEMICAL PARAMETERS OF FSW WELD AND PARENT

electrode. There is no acknowledged explanation


about the inductive arc at low frequency. CAO et al
(Cao et al. 1989) suggested that inductive resistance
could be produced in inducing period of pit corrosion
of oxide film. Meanwhile, from Fig. 3, the radius of the
capacitance loop of weld was remarkably larger than
parent metal. The results indicated that the
polarization resistance of the parent metal was smaller
than that of weld, and the electrochemical reactions
took place easier and more quickly.
3000

F
P

2000

Zim/ohm.cm2

demonstrated that the corrosion resistance of FSW


weld was improved, in comparison with that of parent
material.

1000

-1000

-2000
-1000

1000

2000

3000

4000

5000

6000

7000

Zre/ohm.cm2

FIG. 3 NYQUIST PLOTSOF FSW WELDAND PARENT MATERIAL

MATERIAL

Icorr

C
Fcm2

Sample

Ecorr
mVSCE

-559.85

0.26

8.597

3496

2343

6.3

-685.11

1.45

7.852

911.9

1422

12.6

-0.2

Rscm2 Rpcm2 R0cm2

Acm-2

F
P

FIG. 4 EQUIVALENT CIRCUIT OF EIS FOR FSW WELD AND


PARENT MATERIAL

-0.4

E/VSCE

-0.6
-0.8
-1.0
-1.2
-1.4
-1.6
-7

-6

-5

-4

-3

-2

-1

logI/A.cm2

FIG. 2 POTENTIODYNAMIC POLARIZATION CURVES OF FSW


WELD AND PARENT MATERIAL

EIS Results
Fig. 3 was the Nyquist plots of FSW weld and the
parent material, from which all the Nyquist complex
planes were composed of two semi-arcs. For the high
frequency region, a capacitance loop appeared, which
should be attributed to a polarization reaction
processed on the surface of the electrode, with the
attenuation of frequency, a inductive loop emerged
which was induced by the continuous absorption and
desorption of the reactants on the surface of the

Fig.4 was the equivalent circuit of EIS for FSW weld


and the parent metal. The exact values of all the
equivalent circuit parameters can be fitted by
Zsimpwin software and were listed in table 3. Among
them, Rp was an important parameter coupled with
the corrosion rate, and the more the polarization
resistance was, the slower the corresponding corrosion
rate was. The EIS results indicated that the corrosion
rate of FSW weld was slower than that of the parent
metal. It was consistent with static weight loss
experiments and potentiodynamic polarization curves
test.
SEM Results
Fig.5 (a) and (b) showed the SEM morphologies for
FSW weld and 6061 parent material. By SEM
observation, the morphology of FSW weld after
ambient temperature static immersion test was
relatively even, revealing the classical formation of the
elliptical onion structure in the centre weld which
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Friction and Wear Research Vol. 1 Iss. 3, October 2013

was characteristic of the FSW weld, and the pits were


nearly uniform, no visible superficial porosity or
macroscopic defects existed, which indicated that
localized attack for FSW weld in the given media can
be neglected.
For 6061 parent material, the morphologies were
relatively rough, and some deep pits can be obviously
observed. The localized attacks of 6061 parent material
were supposed to result from the microcells formed
due to the chemical nonhomogenization.
a

material. The corrosion rate of FSW weld of the tool


rotation rate of 800 r/min, the traverse speed of 160
mm/min, was less than that of 6061 parent material.
The corrosion potential of the weld was more positive
than that of 6061 parent material, while the corrosion
current density was less than that of 6061 parent
material.
The polarization resistance of FSW weld of the tool
rotation rate of 800 r/min, the traverse speed of 160
mm/min, was larger than that of 6061 parent material.
SEM observation showed that a few shallow pits were
presented on the surface of FSW weld, however, a
large number of deeper pits emerged on the surface of
6061 parent material.
REFERENCES

100 m
b

Cao, Chunan, Wang, Jia, Lin, Haichao. Effect of Cl on the


impedance of passive-film-covered electrodes. 9(1989):
261270.
Colligan, K J, Avila, S J. Friction Stir Welding US Patent
5794835 (1998).
Corral, J, Trillo, E A, Ying, L et al. Corrosion of friction-stir
welded aluminum alloys 2024 and 2195. 19(2000):2117

100 m
FIG. 5 SEM MORPHOLOGIES (a) FSW WELD AND (b)
PARENTMATERIAL

Discussion
During FSW process, the material undergoes intense
plastic deformation at elevated temperature, resulting
in generation of fine and equiaxed recrystallized
grains. The dynamic recrystallization grains caused to
the density of dislocation of the sample decreased. At
the same time, after severe plastic deformation (SPD),
the change of actual microstructure of FSWed sample
made the weld chemically homogenized. Based on the
principle of electrochemistry, the homogenization of
the chemical constituent made less prone to forming
the localized microcells; meanwhile, coupled with the
decrease of the density of the dislocation, the crystal
linear defect, or the number of the weld reduced, and
the decreased active sites (herein, the high-density
dislocations) for the anodic dissolution of weld metal
enhanced the ability of the corrosion resistance.

2122.
Ferrer, K S, Kelly, R G. Comparison of methods of removal
of corrosion products from AA2024-T3. 57 (2001):110117.
Liu, Shuhua, Liu, Meng, Wang, Deqing et al. Friction stir
welding of copper alloys.16(2007):64-67.
Lomolinoa, S, Tovob, R, Santosa, J D. On the fatigue
behaviour and design curves of friction stir butt-welded
Al alloys. 27(2005):305316.
Mahoney, M W, Rhodes, C G, Flintoff, J G et al. Properties
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Mishra, R S, Ma, Z Y. Friction stir welding and processing.
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Murr, L E, Flores, R D, Flores, O V, et al. Friction Stir
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Peel, M, Steuwer, A, Preuss, M et al. Microstructure,
mechanical properties and residual stresses as a function

Conclusions

of welding speed in aluminium AA5083 friction stir

The microstructure of the FSW weld consisted of very


fine grains in comparison of the grains of parent

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32

Sato, Y, Park, S, Kokawa, H. Microstructural factors

Friction and Wear Research Vol. 1 Iss. 3, October 2013

governing hardness in friction-stir welds of solidsolution-hardened Al Alloys. 32(2001):3033-3042.


Thoms, W M, Nicholas, E D, Needdham, J C et al. Friction

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Yadong Zhao, M. E., Lecturer, School of Mechanical


Engineering, Anyang Institute of Technology, Anyang
455000, China, Tel: 0086-372-2909844. E-mail: zhaoyadong
1983@163.com

Stir Butt Welding GB Patent 9125978 (1991).

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