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Nondestructive evaluation of resistance spot-welded Al-steel joints

  • Blair E. Carlson (a1), Amberlee S. Haselhuhn (a2), Jian Chen (a3) and Zhili Feng (a4)

Abstract

With growing demand for better fuel economy for automobiles, multimaterial solutions are increasingly being utilized in the automotive industry for reducing weight in the vehicle body structure. This poses challenges in terms of joining dissimilar metals, especially those with vastly different properties such as aluminum to steel joining. General Motors has developed a new resistance spot-welding technique for dissimilar materials using a multi-ring domed (MRD) electrode and multiple solidification weld schedules to address this challenge. Originally developed for aluminum to aluminum resistance spot welding, this technology is being deployed as the mainstream aluminum joining solution to leverage existing infrastructure and workforce competency in resistance spot welding. With the recent expansion of MRD technology to aluminum to steel resistance spot welding, there is an ever-greater need to experimentally verify the quality of each aluminum to steel resistance spot-weld application with limited time and resources. Nondestructive evaluation (NDE) would enable the transfer of resistance spot-welding technology to dissimilar aluminum to steel joints. This article describes the current state of the art of aluminum to steel resistance spot welding and the challenges in developing a robust NDE process for this technology.

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