Research Papers: Materials and Fabrication

Experimental Investigation of Friction Stir Seal Welding of Tube–Tubesheet Joints

[+] Author and Article Information
Fadi A. Al-Badour

Mechanical Engineering Department,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: fbadour@kfupm.edu.sa

Nesar Merah, Abdelrahman Shuaib, Abdelaziz Bazoune

Mechanical Engineering Department,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia

Contributed by the Pressure Vessel and Piping Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF PRESSURE VESSEL TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received August 27, 2013; final manuscript received June 1, 2014; published online September 15, 2014. Assoc. Editor: David L. Rudland.

J. Pressure Vessel Technol 137(1), 011402 (Sep 15, 2014) (7 pages) Paper No: PVT-13-1147; doi: 10.1115/1.4027807 History: Received August 27, 2013; Revised June 01, 2014

To ensure heat exchanger tube–tubesheet joints tightness, industrial standards may recommend performing a combination of roller expansion and seal welding, using conventional fusion welding processes. Solid state friction stir welding (FSW) has several advantages over the conventional fusion welding but has not yet proven its usefulness in seal and strength welding of heat exchanger tube–tubesheet joints where the available space is very limited and weld pass is of a relatively complex contour. In this work, a newly designed tool and procedure have been developed to friction stir seal weld tube–tubesheet joints. The effects of process conditions such as welding speed and tool offset on dependent process parameters including welding loads and joint quality have been investigated on a 6xxx-series aluminum three-tube test cell. The results of the investigation revealed that the quality of the seal weld of tube–tubesheet joints is affected by the above parameters. Lower weld speeds increase the size of the heat-affected zone while higher speeds lead to larger weld defects. Better weld quality is obtained when the center of the pin tool is offset from the tube–tubesheet interface by an amount lower than 40% of the pin diameter.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
Topics: Welding , Friction , Stress
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Fig. 1

Tube–tubesheet cell geometry and dimensions (dimensions are in mm)

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Fig. 2

Photograph of FSW tool by MTI

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Fig. 3

Tube–tubesheet friction stir seal and strength welding setup

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Fig. 5

Effect of tube plug (a) without tube plug and (b) with tube plug, using same welding conditions

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Fig. 6

Weld macrostructure at tool offset (a) designed 25%, (b) 35%, (c) 40%, and (d) 45% of pin diameter

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Fig. 7

Measured temperature during FSSW using N = 1500 rpm and V = 175 mm/min

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Fig. 8

Tube–tubesheet seal welds performed at (a) 125 mm/min, (b) 150 mm/min, (c) 175 mm/min, (d) 200 mm/min, (e) after flash removal by machining, and (f) unwelded joint

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Fig. 9

Microstructure of produced joints, section A, presenting the defect formed at different welding speeds (a) V = 125, (b) V = 150, (c) V = 175, and (d) V = 200 mm/min

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Fig. 10

Vickers microhardness across section A–A




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