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Technical Paper

Self-Piercing Rivets for Aluminum Components

Recent trends in the automotive industry toward improving fuel economy have led to the conversion of many steel applications to aluminum. The use of aluminum reduces vehicle weight while allowing the automaker to continue to use traditional fabricating methods. The primary joining technique used for steel sheet components has been resistance spot welding. While this technique is currently used to join many aluminum components, automakers are reluctant to specify this joining technique due to capital equipment cost, electrode tip life, or reliability concerns. Several alternate joining techniques have been investigated and used. These include adhesive bonding, weld bonding, resistance welding with arc cleaning (1, 2)*, GMA spot welding, clinching, and riveting. Recently, a method of riveting components without prepunching or pre-drilling holes has generated a large amount of interest. This paper is a review of this riveting technique.
Technical Paper

The Corrosion Performance of Steel Self-Piercing Rivets When Used with Aluminum Components

One joining technique that is receiving increased attention is mechanical fastening with a steel self-piercing rivet. The use of steel rivets in direct contact with aluminum components raises questions concerning galvanic corrosion. To determine if a corrosion problem exists, aluminum samples were joined by two processes--resistance spot welding and steel self-piercing rivets. Replicate samples using two aluminum alloys were tested for 90 days by alternate immersion in 3.5% NaCl water solution. After alternate immersion exposure, the integrity of the joint was evaluated by shear testing. Joint shear strengths and the metallographic corrosion evaluations are presented in this paper.
Technical Paper

Formability and Fatigue of Aluminum Tailor Welded Blanks

Tailor welded blanks are finding increasing application in automotive structures as a powerful method to reduce weight through material minimization. As consumer demand and regulatory pressure direct the automotive industry toward improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, aluminum alloys are also becoming an attractive automotive structural material with their potential ability to reduce vehicle weight. The combination of aluminum and tailor welded blanks thus appears attractive as a method to further minimize vehicle weight. Two major concerns regarding the application of aluminum tailor welded blanks are the formability and durability of the weld materials. The current work experimentally and numerically investigates aluminum tailor welded blanks ductility, and experimentally investigates their fatigue resistance.
Technical Paper

Dynamic Denting of Autobody Panels

Dynamic denting properties of aluminum and steel autobody panels have been experimentally measured under controlled conditions. Material, geometric and dynamic factors have been graphically and statistically evaluated to determine design equations. For impact velocities of 20-60 mph and sheet gauges of 0.027-0.040″, dent depths are shown as linear functions of impact velocity. This linear velocity model incorporates sheet thickness, yield strength, density and modulus of elasticity of the alloy used, as well as the geometric shape of the fabricated panel. As an example, for equal dent resistance, a panel of 2036-T4 aluminum would need to be 10-13% thicker than the same panel fabricated from 0.035″ gauge 1010-CQ steel.
Technical Paper

Nickel Plated Electrodes for Spot Welding Aluminum

A new type plated electrode has been developed which shows considerable promise for spot welding mill finish and mechanically cleaned aluminum sheet. This electrode consists of preconditioning the tips of regular Class I and Class II electrodes followed by an inexpensive electroplating of dull nickel. Laboratory data has shown that 2000 spots can be made on mill finished 2036 aluminum using this plated electrode. On wirebrushed 5182-0, 3750 welds were made before failure occurred. This represents a significant increase in tip life compared to tests run using regular copper electrodes. The paper gives details as to how the nickel plated electrodes were developed. This includes results from evaluating other electrode plating and capping materials. The results of tests run using the plated electrodes are included as part of the paper, as well as a discussion as to why the nickel plating works when spot welding aluminum.
Technical Paper

Aluminum Bumper Systems for U.S. Passenger Cars

A discussion of aluminum bumper systems, alloy data fabrication performance, and costs are presented. Weights and costs of similar steel, aluminum, and urethane face systems are compared and the effect of weight savings on costs and fuel economy is determined. Areas for product improvements are explored.
Technical Paper

In-Plant and After-Market Repair of Aluminum Auto Body Sheet

This paper discusses the technique and problems associated with in-plant and body shop repair of aluminum auto body sheet. Metallic and nonmetallic repair procedures are discussed for in-plant repair of aluminum auto body sheet. An after-market procedure for repair of aluminum sheet is also presented, as well as a new procedure for arc welding of thin gauge aluminum sheet for in-plant and after-market repair.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Crystallographic Texture on the Formability of AA 2036 Autobody Sheet

The aluminum alloy 2036 is presently being used in the production of automotive body panels. In the study presented, specimens of 2036-T4 with varying crystallographic textures were subjected to tensile testing and limiting dome height (LDH) evaluations in an effort to gauge the effect of texture on formability and stamping performance. To describe the texture, relative magnitudes of ideal texture components were derived from the orientation distribution function. Finite element analysis was used to study the effect of anisotropic properties due to texture on thinning in the LDH test. The impact of textural character on formability is discussed.
Technical Paper

Optimizing Resistance Spot Welding on Aluminum-Alloy 6111 Autobody Sheet

Aluminum use for automotive body sheet applications is growing. This growth requires improvement of related joining processes and technology. Resistance spot welding will be one of the major joining technologies used in assembling automobiles. When spot welding aluminum, electrode tip life is limited by tip erosion and pickup of aluminum on the tip. Increasing weld current improves weld strength (to a limit), however this reduces tip life. This study examines the control variables in the resistance spot welding process and offers an improved weld schedule to achieve desired weld properties while maximizing tip life. First, the limits of weld parameters where satisfactory welds can be obtained are determined. A window of tip force and weld current is established for a given material and tip geometry. These limits are used to optimize the weld schedule in terms of tip life. Spot welds fail on the basis of shear strength, button diameter or peel rate.
Technical Paper

Experiences in the Use of an Evolutionary Damage Model with LS-DYNA3D

An evolutionary state variable model is used to predict failure in sheet forming. The development of damage in aluminum sheet is characterized using Bammann's plasticity model. Simulations are carried out with the commercial code LS-Dyna3D. Using the limiting dome height test as an example, the prediction of failure in straining states of draw, plane strain, and stretch is made for AA 6111-T4 sheet. The location of failure and associated major/minor strains are contrasted with experimental forming limit curves. As a further example, the drawing of a square cup from a 5000 series alloy blank is simulated and compared with experimental data. The simulations accurately predict the location of failure and show limit strains which compare favorably with experiment. The damage variable provides a method for predicting the location and time of failure in a framework that accommodates general straining paths.
Technical Paper

Production and Performance of High Speed GTA Welded Aluminum Tailored Blanks

Tailored blanks have been produced by a variety of welding processes. Currently, laser welding and mash seam welding are commonly used to produce steel blanks for automotive stampings. Because of the high electrical and thermal conductivity of aluminum, mash seam welding is generally not suitable for this application. Laser welding is currently in the developmental stage for welding aluminum. Reynolds Metals Company is investigating another existing welding technology -- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)--for welding of aluminum tailored blanks. Using the GTAW process, production weld speeds approximating those of laser systems can be obtained. Additionally, good control of weld geometry and quality can be easily attained. This study focuses on GTA welding process parameters for joining various alloys, tempers, and thickness of aluminum. Additionally, performance of welded joints in terms of strength, ductility, and formability are discussed.
Technical Paper

Twisting Electrodes Improve Tip Life and Weld Quality on Resistance Spot Welded Aluminum Sheet

A new electrode holder designed for resistance spot welding of aluminum twists the electrode while it contacts the workpiece. The limited rotation grinds the electrode tip into the surface of the workpiece, abrading it and obtaining good electrical contact. The improved electrical contact results in less heat generation at the tip/workpiece interface, which leads to longer tip life and more consistent welds. Test results show that tip life increases nearly 500 percent when using a twisting electrode holder. In addition, weld quality is improved and more consistent welds are produced than with standard spot welding practice. By using these new electrode holders, automobile manufacturers will decrease the downtime associated with replacing electrode tips and reduce the number of assemblies that have to be torn apart for quality control inspection.
Technical Paper

Aluminum Bumpers - The Effect of a 2.5 MPH Standard

A discussion of the impact of a 2.5 mph bumper standard on aluminum sheet and extruded bumpers is presented. Information is presented on energy management systems, bumper shape, and dentability. This information can be used to determine whether a sheet or extruded bumper is the most efficient for a particular application.