Effect of Pin Tool Shape on Metal Flow During Friction-Stir Welding
It has been shown that metal moves behind the rotating Friction Stir Pin Tool in two separate currents or streams. One current, mostly on the advancing side, enters a zone of material that rotates with the pin tool for one or more revolutions and eventually is abandoned behind the pin tool in crescent-shaped pieces. The other current, largely on the retreating side of the pin tool is moved by a wiping process to the back of the pin tool and fills in between the pieces of the rotational zone that have been shed by the rotational zone. This process was studied by using a faying surface copper trace to clarify the metal flow. Welds were made with pin tools having various thread pitches. Decreasing the thread pitch causes the large scale top-to-bottorn flow to break up into multiple vortices along the pin and an unthreaded pin tool provides insufficient vertical motion for there to be a stable rotational zone and flow of material via the rotational zone is not possible leading to porosity on the advancing side of the weld.