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The welding of aluminium castings

Tony Paterson

Welding of aluminium castings


Objectives:
What is a casting
Why weld a casting
Casting designations
Which castings are weldable
Effect of casting processes
Effect of welding composition
Alloys used in RSA
Welding of selected casting alloys

Specific applications
Welding problems

What is a casting?
three dimensional shape formed from the melt (highly
complex shapes possible)
cf wrought flats - one dimensional (thickness)
wrought extrusions two dimensional
wrought forgings simpler three dimensional
(hot or cold formed from solid or semi solid cast)
Generally non homogenous structure due to directional
solidification
Produced using various processes (sand, permanent mould
(gravity and low pressure laminar
flow), high
pressure die casting

Why weld a Casting?


Join a casting to wrought material
Joining several castings together
Build up a casting
Worn area or manufacturing

Join casting to other metal


Physical damage to old casting
Repair of superficial defect in a new casting
Repair of unavoidable shrinkage porosity in new casting
Note that not all castings are weldable

Why weld a Casting?


Join a casting to wrought material
Welding compromises the strength of tempered aluminium because it reverses
the temper effect
It is desirable to choose the position and nature of welds to limit the impact of
this loss of strength.
From a structural point of view a casting forms a good corner stress transfer
unit in three dimensional structural applications as it potentially displaces
welds to low stress areas.
Whilst adhesive bonding is sometimes called for, some
casting alloys are weldable.

Welding of aluminium castings


Objectives:
What is a casting
Why weld a casting
Casting designations
Which castings are weldable
Effect of casting processes
Effect of welding composition
Alloys used in RSA
Welding of selected casting alloys

Specific applications
Welding problems

Aluminium Casting Designations


Which alloy is which - Cast Alloy Designations
There is no single universally accepted designation system
Designations systems include:
US 3 digit number, plus 1 decimal
EN 5 digit number (RSA standard since 1990s)
Chemical designations (eg old DIN)
UK discontinued LM series still commonly cited in RSA
Others eg old eastern Europe
Others Far East including Japan
Note: From a welding point of view we need to understand which alloy we are
dealing with as not all are weldable in particular most Cu (2xx.x)and ZnCu
(7xx.x) alloys are practically unweldable.
There are exceptions.

Aluminium Casting
Designations
Cast Alloy Designation (US)
US 3 digit number, plus 1 decimal

Al+
Cu Si/Cu/Mg Si Mg
Zn
Sn Other
1xx.x 2xx.x 3xx.x 4xx.x 5xx.x 7xx.x 8xx.x 9xx.x
Non-heat-treatable
Heat-treatable

Aluminium Casting Designations


Cast Alloy Designation (US)
(Modifications (sometimes have a prefix [A,B,C])
depending on the element

AXXX.X

Principle Alloying Element


Alloy Number
Form - Final Casting (.0) or Ingot (.1 or .2)*
*Depending on Purity Limits

Example 535.0 is an Al/Mg alloy, with no


modification, assigned alloy number 35, for
final casting

Aluminium Casting
Designations Cast Alloy Designation
(EN)
EN 5 digit number

Al+
Cu Si/Mg Si/Cu/Mg Si.12% Mg Zn/Mg Master
21xxx 41xxx 45xxx
44xxx 51xxx 71xxx 9xxxx
42xxx 46xxx
43xxx 47xxx
Non-heat-treatable
Heat-treatable

Aluminium Casting Designations


Cast Alloy Designation (EN)

ACXXXXX
Principle Alloying Element
Alloy Groups (with principal element)
Arbitrary
Generally 0
0 except for aerospace

Examples:
AC 42100 is an Al/Si/Mg alloy .
AC 45100 is an Al/Si/Cu/Mg
alloy

Aluminium Casting Designations


Cast Alloy Designation (Chemical) similar to wrought
Chemical designation (older German specifications)
First

symbol: AB (billet) or AC (casting) or (A) or G (DIN)

Second symbol: Al
Third and following: Alpha numeric

Alpha - Main element or elements in order of decreasing


nominal content (or, if equal, in alphabetical order up to a
maximum of four elements) followed by numbers.
- Numeric - represent the mass percentage contents to the
nearest 0,5%, or, if less than 1%, the nearest 0,1%)
Weldability: take care with alloys where Cu>0,25 -0,4%

Designations Cast Alloy Designation


(BS now superceded)
UK discontinued LM series (unsystematic WW2 base)

Still used in RSA and cited in reference literature


Al
Cu
LM0

Si/Cu Si/Mg
LM2
LM4
LM20
LM21
LM22

LM6
LM9
LM25

Mg
LM5

Other (piston)
LM28
LM13

LM24

Non-heat-treatable
Heat-treatable

Welding of aluminium castings


Objectives:
What is a casting
Why weld a casting
Casting designations
Which castings are weldable
Effect of casting processes
Effect of welding composition
Alloys used in RSA
Welding of selected casting alloys

Specific applications
Welding problems

Which castings are weldable?


Process
Composition

Which castings are weldable?


Process
Alloys

Processes

Wrought alloys All except > 0,25% copper


All - Rolling, extrusion,
addition - (some exceptions
forging, etc
<0,4%) and free machining alloys
Cast alloys

All except > 0,25% copper


additions, and free machining
alloys

Sand, gravity, permanent


mould, low pressure.
Not standard high pressure
die casting (i.e. unless
vacuum cast.)

Weldable Cast Alloys


Non heat treatable
EN 44100 (LM6, AlSi12)
EN 44000 (AlSi11)
EN 43100 (LM9, AlSi10Mg)
EN 5100 (LM5)

Heat treatable
EN 42000 (LM25, AlSi7Mg)
EN 42100 (AlSi7Mg0,3)

Which castings are weldable?


Composition
Based on aluminium silicon
Main elemental additions of Cu, Mg, Fe, Mn, Ni, Zn, Pb
Other elemental additions include a wide additional range.

Alloy elements modify casting characteristics


Also influence hardness, fluidity, machinability,

weldability, castability

Which castings are weldable?


Composition - What do we add - Summary
Grain refiners
(never melts)

1852oC 2625oC Zr, Ti, Cr, B, V, Mo


1410oC Si
1245oC Mn
1150oC Fe
1083oC Cu
768oC Sr

MgSi composition 6xxx

hardeners

Aluminium 660oC
650oC Mg
630oC Sb
420oC Zn
231oC- 327oC
Se, Sn, Bi, Cd, Pb,
97,7oC Na
44.2oC P-

Free machining

Grain modifiers
(casting) affects
micro porosity
(early freeze c.f. Si)

Composition cf wrought
alloys

20

Which castings are weldable?


Composition relationship between filler/parent metal and weld cracking
(Note: long copper sensitivity above 0,25%)

2xxx
5xxx
Dilution by 4043 thus choose 5356

6xxx
Dilution by 4043 avoid 5356

Which castings are weldable?


Compostion
Welding
Rating

Excellent

******
A **
*******
*

Very good

****
B ****
*

***

Good

***
*

(1xxx)
* ** * (3xxx, 5xxx, 51000 (LM0,LM5))

**

* (6xxx, LM25, LM6)

**

***

**

**

** (LM20)

C
*

Poor

********
********
(2xxx, LM4, 21,22,24,26)

D
0.1

0.2

0.3

0.5

3 3+

NOTE Log scale! ln Cuupper limit% (wrought and cast alloys)


(Other alloy elements, eg silicon, also have a role)

22

Silicon
Si improves fluidity, feeding and hot tear resistance.
Si increases hardness, reduces ductility &

machinability.
Si content is related to casting process
Sand casting 5 - 7% Si
Permanent mould 7 - 9% Si
Die casting 8 - 12% Si

Copper
Basis of heat treatable alloys
Improves strength, hardness, thermal conductivity
Decreases castability and hot tear resistance
Allows most hardening in 4 - 6% range
Copper base alloys above about a 0,4% limit

weldability, corrosion resistance and suitability for


decoration

Iron
Normally not added but picked up from furnace
Forms many intermetallic phases
Increases elevated temperature strength
Improves hot tear resistance
Reduces ductility
Too high reduces castability
Flowability and feeding characteristics

Magnesium
Strengthening in AlSi alloys
Premium grade alloys have 0,4 - 0,7%Mg
No benefit above 0,7%
High corrosion resistance

Lead
Added up to 0,35%Pb to improves machinability by

enhancing intergranular chip breaking


Not suited to food grade products as these limit lead

to 0,05%

Welding of aluminium castings


Objectives:
What is a casting
Why weld a casting
Casting designations
Which castings are weldable
Effect of casting processes
Effect of welding composition
Alloys used in RSA
Welding of selected casting alloys

Specific applications
Welding problems

Designations of comparable casting alloys


(unalloyed and aluminium silicon)
CEN

Chemical
designation

UK
BS1450/
AEA

France
NF A50

Germany
DIN 1725

Italy
UNI

USA
AA / ASTM

A5

Al99,5H

3950

150.1

A7

Al99,7H

3950

Japan
JIS H5202
H5302

Unalloyed aluminium generally weldable


Al 99,5

LM0

Al 99,7

Aluminium Silicon generally weldable


42000

AlSi7Mg0,3

AEA 44525

(A S7G03)

(G AlSi7Mg)

42100

AlSi7Mg (Fe)

LM25

A-S7G03

G- AlSi5Mg

42200

AlSi7Mg(0,6)

AEA 44530

(A-S7G06)

(G -AlSi7Mg)

43100

AlSi10Mg

LM9

A-S10G

(G
AlSi10Mg)

43200

AlSi10Mg(Cu)

(LM9)

(A-S9G)

44000

AlSi11

(LM9)

A-S13

(G AlSi12)

44100

AlSi12(Fe)

LM6

A-S12U

G AlSi12

44200

AlSi12

AEA46330
/LM6

A-S13

44300

AlSi12(Fe)

(LM20)

A-S12

3599

A356,1

AC4C

A357
3049

A360

AC4A

A360

4514

A413

AC3A
AC3A

(G AlSi12)

Designations of comparable casting alloys


(aluminium silicon copper)
CEN

Chemical
designation

UK
BS1450/
AEA

France
NF A50

Germany
DIN 1725

Italy
UNI

USA
AA /
ASTM

Japan
JIS H5202
H5302

7369/4

A308

AC2A

Aluminium Silicon Copper generally not weldable


45000

AlSi6Cu4Mn

LM21

A-S5UZ

G-AlSi6Cu4

45100

AlSi5Cu3Mg

(LM4)
(LM22)

A-S5U3G

(G-AlSi6Cu4)

45200

AlSi5Cu3Mn

LM4

A-S5U3

(G-AlSi7Mg)

3052

A319.2

AC2A

45400

AlSi5Cu4Mn

LM22

A-S5U

G-AlSi6Cu4

3052

A319.2

AC2A

46000

AlSi9Cu3

(LM26)

A-S10G

A335

AC4B

46100

AlSi9Cu3

LM2

A-S10UG

5067

A384.1

ADC12

46200

AlSi9Cu3(Fe)

(LM24)

A-SGU3

46500

AlSi9Cu3(Fe)
(Zn)

LM24

A-S9U3

G-AlSi8Cu3

5075/3601

A380.1

AC4B/
ADC10

47000

AlSi12(Cu)

LM20

A-S12

G-AlSi12(Cu)

5079

A313.1

47100

AlSi12Cu1
(Fe)

(LM6)(LM20)

A-S12

G-AlSi12(Cu)

Designations of comparable casting alloys


(Aluminium copper/aluminium magnesium and piston alloys)
CEN

Chemical
designation

UK
BS1450/
AEA

France
NF A50

Germany
DIN 1725

Italy
UNI

USA
AA /
ASTM

Japan
JIS H5202
H5302

A204.2

AC1B

(KS 2811)

A392.1

(AC9B)

(KS 1275)

A336.0

AC8A

Aluminium Copper not weldable


21000

Al Cu4MgTi

AEA 24850

A-U5GT

Aluminium Magnesium weldable


51000

AlMg3

LM5

A-G3T

G-AlSiMg5

3059

Piston Alloys
48100

AlSi18Cu1
Mg1Ni1

LM28

48000

AlSi12Cu1
Mg1Ni1

LM13

A-S12UN

Note: Designations in brackets are considered fairly comparable


For export purposes the LM series is not recognised

Alloys selection for weldability/


corrosion
resistance

Generally corrosion resistance and weldability run in parallel

LM0, LM2, LM4, LM5, LM6, LM9, LM21, LM24, LM 25,LM31

(low Cu alloys) resistant to weathering attack


.
Other alloys require protection by anodising or organic finishes
LM0, LM5, LM6, LM9, LM20, LM25, LM31 suited to marine

applications
LM5 best if bright finish to be maintained

Welding of aluminium castings


Objectives:
What is a casting
Why weld a casting
Casting designations
Which castings are weldable
Effect of casting processes
Effect of welding composition
Alloys used in RSA
Welding of selected casting alloys

Specific applications
Welding problems

Alloys used in RSA


EN 44100 (LM6, AlSi12)
10,5 13,5%Si; 0,15%Cu
Widely used for sand and chill castings
.
Poor machinability
Good weldability
Not heat treatable

Cast Alloys cont..


EN 46500 (LM24, AlSi9Cu3(Fe)(Zn))
8,0 11,0%Si; 2,0 4,0%Cu; 1,3%Fe;

0,35%Pb
High strength because of Cu and Fe
Good castability because of high Si
Not weldable because of Cu
Non heat treatable

Cast Alloys cont..


EN 42000 (LM25, AlSi7Mg)
6,5 7,5%Si; 0,2%Cu
Larger castings ~ cylinder blocks etc.
High strength
Good castability
Heat treatable
Weldable

Cast Alloys cont..


EN 46100 (LM2, ADC12, AlSi11Cu2(Fe))
10,0 12,0%Si; 1,5 2,5%Cu
Pressure die casting alloy specifically
Good castability
Not weldable
Non heat treatable

Cast Alloys cont..


EN 44000 (ALSi11)
Very fluid permanent mould alloy
Traditionally used for alloy wheels
Good ductility, moderate strength
High impact strength
Non heat treatable
Weldable

Cast Alloys cont..


EN 42100 (AlSi7Mg0.3)
Used for alloy rims, premium aerospace castings,

nuclear plant, marine parts


High strength, good ductility
Good corrosion resistance
Heat treatable
Weldable

Cast Alloys cont..


EN 43100 (LM9, AlSi10Mg)
10,0 11,8%Si; 0,25 0,45%Mg
Most fluid permanent mould alloy available
Used for intricate castings ~ feedability
Non heat treatable
Good weldability ~ high ductility

Cast Alloys filler alloy choice


Parent metal
combination

LM25

LM20

LM9

LM6

LM5

LM4

4043
4043
4043
4043
Selection of4043
filler rods
and wires
for MIG
and 5356
TIG welding

1070, 1200, 1350,


5251, 5454,
6082, 6061, 6063,
5083

4043

NR

4043

NR

5356

4043

7020

NR

NR

NR

NR

5356/5556

NR

LM4

4043

4043

4043

4043

NR

4043

LM5

NR

NR

NR

NR

5356/5056

NR

LM6

4043/4047

4043/4047

4043/4047

4043/4047

LM9

4043/4047

4043/4047

4043/4047

LM20

4043/4047

4043/4047

LM25

4043/4047

Welding of aluminium castings


Objectives:
What is a casting
Why weld a casting
Casting designations
Which castings are weldable
Effect of casting processes
Effect of welding composition
Alloys used in RSA
Welding of selected casting alloys

Specific applications
Welding problems

Repair Welding
Casting is heat treatable and has been hardened
Welding will over age HAZ
Can do simple repairs in T6 or T7 temper
Better to weld in F or T2 condition
Large extensive repairs only in F or T2
Anneal before welding

Non Heat Treatable


Preheat 100C up to 8 mm thick
Casting
340 - 400C for heavy or intricate

castings
Use 4043 (6%Si) or 4047 (12% Si) filler
Heat input 0,8 - 1,6 kJ/mm
Slow cool
Weld strength very close to base metal

Heat Treatable Alloy cont..


Preheat 100 - 400C (short period to avoid anneal)
Use 4043 filler metal
Solution anneal ~ also stress relieves weld
Heat treat as required but 4043 NHT

Cosmetic Repair
Non heat treatable
Preheat as appropriate
Clean thoroughly
Weld with 4043 or 4047 filler
Slow cool <15C per minute

Cosmetic Repair
Heat treatable alloy
Casting is in as cast F temper
Preheat and clean thoroughly
Use 4043 filler
Low heat input minimises precipitation aging
Post weld aging enhances weld strength but 4043 not

heat treatable

Welding Multiple Castings


Preferably F or T2 condition
Lowest strength in base metal

Preheat and clean


Weld with 4043 or 4047 filler
Non heat treatable ~ slow cool
Heat treatable ~ Solution anneal and harden

Welding Cast to Wrought


Same principles as casting to casting
Wrought material will lose strength
Hot weld cracking is main problem
Caused by shrinkage & other stresses
Several techniques can be used

Build-up of Castings
Very similar to cosmetic repair procedure
Depends on alloy and temper
Preheat depends on casting size and complexity

Aluminium to Steel
Very difficult ~ intermetallic compounds, melting

temperatures, expansion
Can tin steel, then with tin/aluminium then use
aluminium with TIG welding (used for welding
anode stems to steel anode inserts)
Usually use friction welding (not friction stir)

Aluminium to Copper
Used for electrical terminations
Can coat copper with silver or silver alloy
Then join with Al or Al/Si filler without penetrating

the silver layer


Can use MIG spot welding
Usually use friction welding

Welding of aluminium castings


Objectives:
What is a casting
Why weld a casting
Casting designations
Which castings are weldable
Effect of casting processes
Effect of welding composition
Alloys used in RSA
Welding of selected casting alloys

Specific applications
Welding problems

General Considerations
Avoid unnecessary stresses
No sudden thickness changes ~ use tapers
Ensure good fit up ~ 1 - 1,5 mm
Good alignment is essential
Use correct weld preparation ~ check drawing

General Considerations
Clean the joint properly
Aluminium very susceptible to contamination

(hydro carbons or oxides)


Solvent wipe to degrease 50 mm either side
Clean stainless steel wire brush
Do not use grinding disks
Tungsten carbide burrs are suitable
Weld within three hours of cleaning

General Considerations
Create the right conditions for welding - physical
Dry (RH<65%), warm, draught free conditions are best
(Be careful at coast or early on winter mornings on highveld)

Al very susceptible to hydrogen from moisture or oils

leads to porosity
Draughts can disrupt inert gas flow and cause oxide
inclusions
(Note - too high an inert gas flow disrupts
the molten pool and causes porosity)

General Considerations
Ensure consumables are suitable
Gas must be 99,995% pure minimum - normally Argon
Keep wire and filler rods clean and dry (remove or

cover at night)
Clean using stainless steel wire wool never use
Scotchbrite as it leads to porosity.
No greasy gloves
Old MIG wire will become contaminated and cause
oxide contamination

Cutting and Preparing Al


Cannot use oxy fuel
Aluminium is not fit up tolerant cannot fill significant gaps
Plasma cutting widely used
Cut surface is rough, oxidised, must be dressed
HT alloys crack 2 - 3 mm into plate ~ finish cut
Non HT alloys just need mechanical dressing

Woodworking band saw works well


Circular saws and portable jig saws are useful
Mineral oil lubrication is needed

Cutting and Preparing Al cont..


Planers, routers and edge mills for edge

preparation
Tungsten carbide burrs are suitable for final
cleaning
Do not use (corundum) grinding disks for final
cleaning

Welding problems
Gas porosity in aluminium welds always caused by hydrogen
Low solubility in solid and high solubility in liquid aluminium
Alloying elements Si, Cu, Mn and Zn lower hydrogen solubility
Alloying elements Mg, Ni and Ti increase hydrogen solubility
Some hydrogen in molten metal comes from disassociation of
water vapour in the air, burner fuels or damp fluxes.
To avoid hydrogen pick-up the oxide layer on the liquid
aluminium should not be disturbed as if protects the metal.

Welding problems
Gas porosity in aluminium welds always caused by hydrogen
(Low solubility in solid and high solubility in liquid aluminium)

Welding problems
- Gas Porosity in welds

Welding problems
Cracking in aluminium is always hot cracking
Strength of solidifying metal is too low to resist

stresses during cooling


Reduce heat input
High travel speed, lowest weld parameters

Preheat base metal ~ reduce cooling rate


Change joint design to minimize dilution
Change restraining jigs or fixtures
Use correct depth to width ratio

Welding problems
Hot Cracking cont..
Weld bead chemistry - Select suitable filler metal
Higher alloy content allows for dilution
Hot crack sensitivity depends on alloy content.

Welding problems
Composition relationship between filler/parent metal and weld cracking
(Note: long copper sensitivity above 0,25%)

2xxx
5xxx
Dilution by 4043 thus choose 5356

6xxx
Dilution by 4043 avoid 5356

Figure 1. Resistance to hot cracking

Good

Fair
Poor

Magnesium in the Weld Bead (%)

Filler Alloy 5356

5
4
a
3
2

Parent Alloy 6061

b
1

Filler Alloy 4043

d
c

4
3
2
Silicon in the Weld Bead (%)

Welding of aluminium castings


Topics covered:
What is a casting
Why weld a casting
Casting designations
Which castings are weldable
Effect of casting processes
Effect of welding composition
Alloys used in RSA
Welding of selected casting alloys

Specific applications
Welding problems

The welding of aluminium castings


Tony Paterson (082 602 4517)
Questions??