Effects of temper condition and corrosion on the fatigue performance of a laser-welded Al-Cu-Mg-Ag (2139) alloy
The effects of temper condition and corrosion on the fatigue behavior of a laser beam welded Al-Cu-Mg-Ag alloy (2139) have been investigated. Natural aging (T3 temper) and artificial aging (T8 temper) have been applied prior to welding. Corrosion testing has been performed by exposing the welded specimens to a salt spray medium for 720 h. Aging influences the corrosion behavior of laser welds. In the T3 temper, corrosion attack is in the form of pitting in the weld area, while in the T8 temper corrosion is in the form of pitting and intergranular corrosion in the base metal. In the latter case corrosion is attributed to the presence of grain boundary precipitates. Corrosion degrades the fatigue behavior of 2139 welds. The degradation is equal for both the T3 and T8 tempers and for the corrosion exposure selected in this study corresponds to a 52% reduction in fatigue limit. In both cases fatigue crack initiation is associated with corrosion pits, which act as stress raisers. In the T3 temper, the fatigue crack initiation site is at the weld metal/heat affected zone interface, while for the T8 temper the initiation site is at the base metal. Fatigue crack initiation in uncorroded 2139 welds occurs at the weld toe at the root side, the weld reinforcement playing a principal role as stress concentration site. The fatigue crack propagates through the partially melted zone and the weld metal in all cases. The findings in this paper present useful information for the selection of appropriate heat treatment conditions, to facilitate control of the corrosion behavior in aluminium welds, which is of great significance for their fatigue performance. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.