Investigating parametric effects during TIG welding of dissimilar metals
This paper explores the optimization of Tungsten-Inert-Gas (TIG) welding process parameters for creating a hybrid structure of Aluminium 6061 and Stainless Steel 304 using a copper filler rod (ER-Cu). The Welding of these two materials has industrial relevance owing to its weight reduction capabilities and environmental benefits. However, Aluminium and Stainless-Steel have different melting points and thermal properties. Aluminium has twice coefficient of thermal expansion and six times coefficient of thermal conductance as compared to Stainless-Steel. This difference often results in residual stresses and brittle intermetallic compounds in the weld region. We have chosen the Welding Current, Welding Speed, and Gas Flow Rate as input parameters, and Ultimate Tensile Strength (UTS) and Micro-hardness as response parameters. We have employed the Response Surface Methodology (RSM) using a Box-Behnken design to evaluate the influence of input parameters on UTS and Micro-hardness. Furthermore, an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) is conducted to determine the input parameters' significance on the response parameters. Our surface plots demonstrate that UTS improves with increased Welding Current and reduced Welding Speed. Simultaneously, Micro-hardness increases with elevated Welding Speed and decreased current, up to a specific limit. The peak value of UTS (79 MPa) was observed with a Current range of 85-90 A, Speed range of 95-100 mm/min, and Gas Flow Rate of 14.5-15 l/min. On the other hand, maximum Micro-hardness (260HV) was obtained with a Current range of 80-85 A, Speed range of 105-110 mm/min, and Gas Flow Rate of 14.5-15 l/min. This research contributes to improving the manufacturing process of hybrid structures, specifically by optimizing the advantages of both Aluminium and Stainless Steel while addressing the challenges that arise during their combination. The study's conclusions have major consequences for sectors looking to take advantage on the mutually beneficial characteristics of different metals in welding applications.