2017 Volume 58 Issue 8 Pages 1223-1226
A post-weld heat treatment process, that is, solution treatment and aging, was found to be effective in improving the fatigue strength of friction stir welded Ti-6Al-4V butt joints. The stir-zone microstructure was changed by friction stir welding, from an equiaxed-α structure to a lamellar structure, but equiaxed-α structure remained in the base metal. Subsequently, solution treatment and aging modified these microstructures to bimodal structures in both the stir zone and base metal. The hardness in the stir zone differed from the base metal after friction stir welding, but the difference was eliminated by solution treatment and aging. The fatigue strength of friction stir welded Ti-6Al-4V butt joints was successfully increased by solution treatment and aging, which was higher than that of the parent Ti-6Al-4V plate. This indicates that solution treatment and aging increases the fatigue strength of friction stir welded Ti-6Al-4V butt joints by the formation of similar bimodal structures in the stir zone and base metal, resulting in reduced stress concentration at these boundaries and retarded fatigue failure.