Grain Size Measurement of Copper Spot Welding Caps Via Ultrasonic Attenuation and Scattering Experiments

During ultrasonic testing of resistance spot welds in real time, the probe sends the sound waves through the thickness of the copper electrode cap into the materials being welded. Characteristics of the reflected waves from the weld interfaces allow a reliable decision to be made on the quality of the joint. Transmission of high frequency sound waves through the relatively thick copper welding cap cause the signal to be greatly attenuated due to grain scattering. For this reason, close monitoring of the copper cap properties prior to installation is essential for adequate performance. Finding copper alloys with a small average grain size is essential in order to minimize the attenuating effects. The conducted backscatter and attenuation experiments indicate correlation between the ultrasonically measured parameters and the optically found copper grain size. This correlation suggests that the attenuation or backscatter technique could be used alone in order to validate the proper copper alloy to be used in spot weld probes. Using nondestructive testing techniques for this purpose greatly reduces the time and cost involved compared to optical techniques.

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