In-Line Inspection of Friction Stir Welds Using Laser Ultrasonics

Friction Stir Welding is widely used for joining of aluminum components. Current post-process quality control techniques often cannot keep up with the production flow. Thus, there is a need for an in-line inspection technique that can qualify parts as they are produced. If flaws are detected immediately, corrective actions can be taken, thereby avoiding scrap and saving otherwise wasted production time. We have applied laser ultrasonic testing for in-line weld inspection. In this method, a pulsed laser beam generates ultrasonic waves inside the weld region. The waves interact with internal defects and then return to the surface, where signal perturbations that characterize the defects are detected by a separate laser receiver. The output signals are processed using advanced algorithms that can be programmed for automated real-time measurement. We have performed extensive laboratory and production testing to evaluate our technique. Test samples were aluminum sheets containing linear friction stir butt welds. Sheet thickness ranged from 3 mm to 10 mm. The defects of interest for this study were elongated voids, lack of penetration, and porosity defects. We were able to detect voids below 0.3 mm in cross-section at process speeds.

  • "Welding process and its parameters - Friction Stir Welding",
  • W. M. Thomas, E. D. Nicholas, J. C. Needham, M. G. Murch, P. Temple-Smith, C. J. Dawes, 1991, “Friction welding”, US Patent No. US5460317A,
  • D. Lammlein, N. Trepal, M. Posada, A. Floyd, 2011, "Defect significance and detection in aluminum friction stir welds: a literature search," Technical Report NSWCCD-61-TR-2011/20, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, Nov 2011
  • V.D. Ragupathy, M.R. Bhat, M.V.N. Prasad, 2017, "An experimental study of discontinuities in friction stir welded joints through nondestructive testing," Materials Evaluation, 75(3):406-412.
  • C. Mandache, D. Levesque, L. Dubourg, P. Gougeon, 2012, "Non-destructive detection of lack of penetration defects in friction stir welds," Sci. Tech. Welding and Joining, 17(4):295-303.
  • D.J. Huggett, M.W. Dewan, M.A. Wahab, A. Okeil, T.W. Liao, 2017, "Phased array ultrasonic testing for postweld and online detection of friction stir welding defects," Res. Nondest. Eval., 28(4):187-210.
  • Y. Hovanski, P. Upadhyay, J. Carsley, T. Luzanski, B. Carlson, M. Eisenmenger, A. Soulami, D. Marshall, B. Landino, S. Hartfield-Wunsch, 2015, "High-speed friction-stir welding to enable aluminum tailor-welded blanks," JOM, The Journal of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, 67(5):1045-1053.
  • C. Bird, 2004 "Ultrasonic phased array inspection technology for the evaluation of friction stir welds," Insight - Non-Destructive Testing and Condition Monitoring, 46(1):31-36(6).
  • Intelligent Optical Systems, “Laser Ultrasonic Receiver”,
  • C.B. Scruby and L.E. Drain, 1990, Laser Ultrasonics, Adam Hilger, Bristol.
  • D. Lévesque, L. Dubourg, M. Lord, M. Jahazi, A. Blouin, 2008, "Defect detection and residual stress measurement in friction stir welds using laser ultrasonics," 1st International Symposium on Laser Ultrasonics: Science, Technology and Applications, July 16-18, Montreal, Canada.
  • D. Lévesque, L. Dubourg, C. Mandache, S. Kruger, M. Lord, A. Merati, M. Jahazi, J.-P. Monchalin, 2008, "Synthetic aperture focusing technique for the ultrasonic evaluation of friction stir welds," AIP Conference Proceedings, 975:263-270.
  • D. Lévesque, L. Dubourg, A. Blouin, 2010, "Nondestructive evaluation of friction stir welds using laser ultrasonics," Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation.
Usage Shares
Total Views
11 Page Views
Total Shares
0 Tweets
0 PDF Downloads
0 Facebook Shares
Total Usage