Sie sind auf Seite 1von 8

IJR International Journal of Railway Vol. 2, No. 4 / December 2009, pp.

131-138

Fatigue Strength Evaluation of the Clinch Joints of a Cold Rolled Steel Sheet

Ho-Kyung Kim Abstract


Static tensile and fatigue tests were conducted using tensile-shear specimens to evaluate the fatigue strength of a SPCC sheet clinch joint. The maximum tensile strength of the specimen produced at the optimal punching force was 1750 kN. The fatigue endurance limit (=760 N) approached 43% of the maximum tensile load (=1750 N) at a load ratio of 0.1, suggesting that the fatigue limit is approximately half of the value of the maximum tensile strength. The FEM analysis showed that at the fatigue endurance limit, the maximum von-Mises stress of 373 MPa is very close to the ultimate tensile strength of the SPCC sheet (=382 MPa).

Keywords :

Clinch joining, Fatigue strength, FEM

1. Introduction

Type Spot welding is generally used as a joining method of car parts that are mainly composed of low-carbon steel sheets. However, the ground vehicle industry is gradually pursuing the increased use of lighter materials such as aluminum and magnesium alloys. New and effective means of joining of these materials are required as spot welding is inappropriate for dissimilar materials or for materials that have poor weldability. Clinch joining is considered to be viable joining method for dissimilar materials [1-3]. In addition, it is possible to join precoated metal sheets and to make clean joints of a consistent strength using clinch joining. Other advantages of the clinch joining in production include the absence of joining components, no generation of poisonous gas, a relatively quite process, and low energy consumption [3]. As shown in Fig. 1, the clinch joining process is a joining method that folds deep drawing sheets into a cup shape via punch and die tooling. The punch pushes the sheet metals into the die with a grooved bottom perimeter until the bottom sheet flows into the groove and the upper sheet flows outward, forming a mechanical interlock. The joint is similar to a button. A schematic diagram of the crosssection of the joint is shown in Fig. 2. In spite of the fact that clinch joining is widely used,

Department of Automotive Engineering, Seoul National University of technology E-mail : kimhk@snut.ac.kr

systematical investigations of the joints are seldom found. Nearly all of the studies that do exist were conducted in conditions that include a monotonic tensile strength and FEM simulation of the clinch joining process [4-7]. Davies et al. [4] proposed a method to predict the shear strength using the mechanical properties of the metal sheet, the sheet thickness, and the joining force. de Paula et al. [5] conducted a simulation of the influence of changes in the die and punch geometry on the material flow and resulting neck thickness and undercutting of clinch joints, which directly affect the joint strength. Chung et al. [6] quantified the optimum joining condition of a clinch joint under complex loading by optimizing the strength ratio with a correlation between the diameter ratio (the button diameter to the punch diameter) and the sheet thickness ratio (the upper sheet thickness to the lower sheet thickness). The clinch joints invariably contain stress concentrations that are the major sites for the fatigue initiation. Only limited numbers of studies have been conducted on the fatigue strength of clinch joints. For example, Carboni et al. [8] investigated the fatigue strength of a tensile-shear specimen produced by clinch joining for a zinc-coated steel sheet. They found that the fatigue limit is close to 50% of the ultimate strength of the joint. However, they correlated fatigue life using the applied amplitude load. This method cannot predict the fatigue strength systematically, as the fatigue life of a clinch joint specimen is expected to be governed not only by the load magnitude but also by the loading type, button diameter, specimen

Vol. 2, No. 4 / December 2009

131

Ho-Kyung Kim
Table 1.

Typical span type on the high speed track in order of distributed numbers

Material SPCC
Table 2.

(MPa) 382.1 Mn 0.25

(MPa) 247.1 P 0.01

E (GPa) 210

(%) 31.8 Al 0.05 Fe bal.

Material C SPCC 0.04


Fig. 1

Chemical compositions of the SPCC (wt. %)

S 0.005

Clinch joining tool set.

Fig. 3

Engineering stress-strain relationship for the SPCC steel sheet.

Fig. 2

The dimensions of a cross-section of clinch joint.

thickness, specimen width, and other factors. Therefore, in this study, tensile and fatigue tests were conducted on tensile-shear specimens of a cold rolled mild steel sheet. The specimens were produced with optimal joining force, and fatigue life of the clinch joint specimens was evaluated. FEM analysis of the joint was conducted to acquire the stress distribution at the fatigue limit load.

Fig. 4

2. Experimental procedures
The material selected for use in this study was cold rolled mild steel (SPCC) with a thickness of 0.8 mm, as used in the automotive industry. The mechanical properties of the steel were measured on an universal testing

Configuration of the tensile-shear specimen (L=100mm, W=30mm).

2.1 Specimen preparation

machine (Instron 8516). The engineering stress-strain curve for the steel is illustrated in Fig. 3, and the mechanical properties of the steel are summarized in Table 1. The chemical compositions of the sheets are shown in Table 2. For the evaluation of the static and fatigue joining strength
IJR International Journal of Railway

132

Fatigue Strength Evaluation of the Clinch Joints of a Cold Rolled Steel Sheet

Fig. 5

A servo-hydraulic universal testing machine used for clinch joining, tensile and fatigue tests.

Table 3.

The dimensions of the cross-section of a clinch joint produced at a punching force of 70 kN Items Definition Size (mm) BD Button diameter 8.3 CT Cap thickness 0.4 h Height 1.9 NT Neck thickness 1.4 PD Punch diameter 5.4 Punch side metal thickness 0.8 t1 Die side metal thickness 0.8 t2

Fig. 6

Punch force against displacement for a SPCC specimen during clinch joining.

of the joint, the geometry of the tensile-shear specimen, as shown in Fig. 4, was adopted according to JIS Z3136 for the spot welding specimen. Test specimens were prepared using clinch joining 30 mm by 100 mm pieces of sheet together with a 30 mm overlap. A servo-hydraulic universal testing machine (Instron 8516) with a capacity of 100 kN was adopted for the joining, tensile and fatigue testing, as shown in Fig. 5. A punch with a diameter of 5.4 mm and a die with a diameter of 8.3 mm (TOX Corporation Hamburg, Germany) were used to join the specimens. A series of tensile tests were conducted on specimens produced with different punch forces to acquire the optimal punch force using the same universal testing machine. Tensile tests were carried out at a cross-head speed of 2 mm/min. In view of the static joining strength of the specimen geometry, the optimal punch force was found to be 70 kN according to the tensile test results for the specimens produced with different punch forces. Therefore, fatigue specimens, prepared with a punch force of 70 kN, were tested under the load ratio R=(Pmin/Pmax)=0.1. The applied cyclic loading waveform was sinusoidal and the
Vol. 2, No. 4 / December 2009

frequency of loading used varied from 5 to 20 Hz according to the load amplitude. Failure was defined as the complete separation of the specimens into two parts. The joint of the specimen was cross-sectioned and successively polished with alumina polishing powders to 0.1 m to measure the dimensions of the joint produced with the optimal punch force. Measurements were made using an optical microscope. The measured dimensions of the cross-section of the clinch joint are summarized in Table 3. FEM analyses were carried out by means of ABAQUS software (version 6.6) for the solver and HyperMesh software (version 7.0) as the pre- and post-processor. A single point lap joint was modeled using a HEXA element (C3D8) and a PENTA element (C3D6). The model was composed of 48,420 nodes and 42,956 elements. Contact between the substrate faces was introduced by means of the master-slave technique.

2.3 Structural analysis of the joint

3. Experimental results and discussion


The joint strength of a clinch jointed specimen is typically affected by the sheet thickness, punch diameter, and applied punch force. To determine the optimal punch force for a steel sheet with a thickness of 0.8 mm and a punch diameter of 5.4 mm, a series of tensile tests were performed on the clinch jointed specimens as produced by varying the punch forces. Fig. 6 shows the applied punch force against the vertical displacement of SPCC sheets during the clinch joining process. This curve can be

2.2 Tensile and fatigue tests

3.1 Optimal punch force for clinch joining

133

Ho-Kyung Kim

Fig. 7

Punch force against the maximum tensile-shear strength for a SPCC specimen.

Fig. 8

Applied load-displacement curve of a clinch joint for SPCC tensile-shear specimen.


Table 4.

divided into three regions: a first region from the start to a depth of 0.5 mm, a second region from 0.5 mm to 1.5 mm, and a third region past a depth of 1.5 mm. In the first region, the punch forces the upper and lower metal sheets to adhere to the surfaces of the die, starting the pressing process. In the second region, the punch moves downward and extrudes the sheets. This action requires more force for plastic deformation, suggesting that the slope of region two is steeper than that of region one. The punch force increases abruptly past a depth of approximately 1.5 mm, indicating that the metal sheets reach the bottom of the die and continue to fill the die impression gradually. At this point, much greater deformation force is necessary and the steepest slope is exhibited. The maximum tensile shear strengths of the specimens, produced under various punch forces, are shown in Fig. 7. The tensile-shear specimen failed in the pull-out failure mode before the punch force of 45 kN because the punch force could not sufficiently join the upper and lower sheets together. The failure mode was interface failure after a punch force of 45 kN. The maximum tensile shear strength increased continuously with the punch force up to a force of 70 kN. However, the maximum strength decreased past 70 kN. Therefore, all of the fatigue specimens were produced at the optimal punch force of 70 kN. No gap existed between the upper and lower sheets under a punching force of 70 kN.
3.2 joint Static strength evaluation of the clinch

Summarized fatigue testing results


Nf (cycle) 289 346,050 263 169,700 154,880 283,630 159,220 5,383,800 1,705,800 2,549,000 1,682,800 Failure Type pull-out interface pull-out interface interface interface interface non-failure interface interface interface

Max. Load (N) 1891 1862 1813 1783 1764 1744 1725 1705 1666 1617 1568

Fig. 8 represents the applied load against the displace-

ment curve of a tensile-shear specimen produced using a punch force of 70 kN. At a maximum applied load of approximately 1750 N, cracking occurred at the neck of the upper sheet (inner button part): consequently, the upper and lower sheets unlocked, slipped away from each other, and separated. Thus, some amount of applied load could be maintained and decreased slowly without an abrupt failure. This type of behavior is generally dependent on the upper sheet. This behavior occurs more often when the upper sheet is thicker and more ductile, as a thicker upper sheet with more ductility has a greater capability to maintain the applied load at the neck, which is most critical in the specimen [6]. In contrast, a thinner and more brittle upper sheet has a thinner neck, giving it less capability to maintain the applied load at the neck, eventually resulting
IJR International Journal of Railway

134

Fatigue Strength Evaluation of the Clinch Joints of a Cold Rolled Steel Sheet

Fig. 9

Fatigue fractured specimens in (a) interface failure and (b) pull-out failure modes.

Fig. 10

Load amplitude against the number of cycles for a SPCC tensile-shear specimen.

in an abrupt shear rupture [6].


3.3 joint Fatigue strength evaluation of a clinch

Fatigue tests were conducted on specimens produced

using the optimal punch force. The results, including the failure modes, are summarized in Table 4. Table 4 shows that two different failure modes (interface failure and pullout failure) were observed, as shown in Fig. 9 (a) and (b). In intermediate and high-cycle regions (N >1000), the interface failure mode occurred, where a fracture occurred at the neck of the upper sheet (inner button part), as shown in Fig. 9 (a). The fatigue crack appeared to have initiated at the neck. It then propagated through the sheet thickness along the neck and finally led to the failure, as shown in Fig. 9 (a). In contrast, in the low-cycle region (N <1000), a pull-out failure mode occurred in which the failure was caused by the separation between the sheets due to cracking along the neck of the upper sheet. This resulted in a loss of the capacity to support the applied load, as shown in Fig. 9 (b). The fatigue life of the clinch joints are plotted in Fig. 10 as a function of the applied load amplitude. The fatigue endurance of the specimen at N=2.5 106 was approximately 760 N, which is nearly 50% of the maximum tensile load (1750 N) of the specimen taking into consideration a load ratio of 0.1. This suggests that the fatigue behavior of a clinch joint is similar to that of steel, which has a fatigue endurance that is generally close to 50% of its ultimate tensile strength. This result is similar to that of Carboni et al. [8]. They reported that the fatigue limit of clinch joint specimens is close to 50% of the maximum tensile load when using a zinc-coated 550 MPagrade constructional steel sheet. The fatigue endurance value of 760 N can be converted into a maximum applied load of 1670 N with a load ratio of 0.1. The ratio of fatigue endurance to the static strength of the joint is 95%. Although the clinch joint has poor static strength, the ratio of fatigue endurance to the static strength of the joint is excellent, relative to the spot weld joint, where the static strength is excellent and the fatigue endurance strength is less than 40% of the static strength [8]. This is due to the fact that the spot weld joint inevitably has a high stress concentration at the edge of the weld spot due to the presence of an inherent sharp notch at the interface between the sheet metals. Moreover, the clinch joint has a much lower stress concentration at the neck of the button, where there is a critical point, resulting in a higher ratio of fatigue endurance to static strength. The relationship between the load amplitude and number of cycles parameter can be expressed as P =894.7 . Several investigators [9-10] have developed fatigue models that predict the fatigue lives of spot welds through the use of a stress intensity factor. In the present study, it is worthwhile to predict the fatigue life of clinch joints based on a fatigue crack growth approach in an effort to investif f 0.011

Vol. 2, No. 4 / December 2009

135

Ho-Kyung Kim

Fig. 11

Fatigue crack growth behavior of the SPCC steel sheet.

Fig. 12

Predicted fatigue lifetimes and experimental results for a SPCC clinch joint in tensile-shear specimens.

gate the applicability of this model to clinch joints. The interface failure appears to be dominated by the throughthickness cracking on the upper sheet (inner button part) according to an examination of the cross-sections of the failed specimens under cyclic loading conditions. The Paris law can describe the fatigue crack propagation as
da ------ = C( Keq)m dN

(1)
eq

where a is the crack length, N is the number of cycles, C and m are material constants, and K is the range of the equivalent stress intensity factor. The stress intensity factor is assumed to remain nearly constant during the fatigue crack growth process. The fatigue life of clinch joints can then be obtained by integrating Eq. (1) as follows:
t N = ---------------------C( Keq )m

(2)

Here, the total crack growth distance is assumed to be equal to the sheet thickness (=0.8 mm) because once a crack passes through the thickness of upper sheet, the sheets separate and the specimen fails, as shown in Fig. 9 (a). The stress intensity factor for a clinch joint in tensileshear geometry is not available. Therefore, the stress intensity factor for a spot weld was adopted. Although the nugget of a spot weld joint has a more severe stress condition due to the presence of an inherent sharp notch in the interface between the sheet metals relative to the button of the clinch joint, its button is assumed to be identical to a nugget. Recently, Radaj and Zhang [9] derived a formula of the equivalent stress intensity factor for the case of a tensile-shear type specimen. The formula shown below was applied to predict the fatigue lifetime for a fatigue specimen.

F -------------------(3) Keq = 0.694 D t The effect of a load ratio R of 0.1 was neglected in this investigation. To acquire the material constants C and m, a fatigue crack growth test was conducted on a SPCC sheet of identical thickness using compact tension specimen geometry. The material constants C and m were determined as 2.3 10 MPa(m) MPa m and 3.38, respectively, as shown in Fig. 11~12 shows the predicted fatigue lifetimes based on the fatigue model in Eq. (2) and on the experimental results for the SPCC clinch joint in tensileshear geometry. As shown in this figure, the predicted fatigue lifetimes based on the stress intensity factor solution of Radaj and Zhang [9] is in good agreement with the experimental results only in the high-cycle regime. However, in the low-cycle regime, the predicted lifetimes do not agree with the experimental results. This error could be inferred from the inaccurate value of K , as K applied only to the spot weld joint, not to the clinch joint. Another error may be due to the change in the fatigue crack growth properties (C and m) of the neck after being subject to cold working conditions. Furthermore the value of K in the clinch joint and the material constant values of C and m after cold working are necessary for more accurate fatigue life predictions of clinch joints.
12 0.5 eq eq eq

Stress levels exceed the yield strength of the material (equal to nearly 250 MPa) after linear elastic analysis of the specimen geometry, suggesting that the use of non-linear elasto-plastic analyses is necessary. For the structural analysis, therefore, the work hardening slope for plasticity was
IJR International Journal of Railway

3.4 Structural analysis of the clinch joint

136

Fatigue Strength Evaluation of the Clinch Joints of a Cold Rolled Steel Sheet

Fig. 13

(a) Analysis result and (b) detail of the tensile-shear specimen under an applied load of 1670 N.

defined using the true stress and strain relationships. For materials that behave in a ductile manner, the plastic strains are large in comparison with the elastic strains. Thus, it is feasible to convert the engineering stress-strain curve in this study. The true strain was obtained from the engineering strain according to the following relationship: = ln ( 1 + e ) (4) The true stress was also converted by the engineering stress S by the following equation: = S(1 + e) (5) The flow stress for this material can be expressed as = 632.5 . The stress analysis results of the tensile-shear specimen at an applied load of 1670 N (equal to a fatigue endurance limit value of 760 N with a load ratio of 0.1) are shown Fig. 13. The maximum von-Mises stress occurs on the upper sheet neck where the upper and lower sheets connect together. This location coincides with the region where cracks were observed on the neck, which is also the region of the thinnest part of the sheet. The maximum von-Mises stress of 373 MPa at the fatigue endurance limit is close to the ultimate tensile strength of the SPCC sheet (=382 MPa). This implies that the true tensile strength of the neck is significantly improved through cold working during clinch joining. This idea is supported by the maximum true tensile strength of 435 MPa. Finally, FEM analysis could support the experimental observations by showing a high stress concentration in the critical region where failures occurred and predicting the stress distribution of the clinch joint correctly.
0.195

sile-shear specimens for an evaluation of the fatigue strength of clinch joint specimens created from a cold rolled mild steel sheet. The following conclusions can be drawn from the experimental work and FEM analysis. 1) The optimal applied punch force was found to be 70 kN to achieve maximum tensile load resistance during the joining process for SPCC steel sheets considering the sheet thickness and the punch diameter. 2) For the tensile-shear test, cracking occurred at the neck of the upper sheet (inner button part). As a result, the upper and lower sheets unlocked, slipped away from each other, and separated at a maximum applied load of approximately 1750 N. 3) The fatigue endurance limit (760 N) approached 43% of the maximum tensile load (1750 N) at a load ratio of 0.1, suggesting that the fatigue limit is nearly half of the value of the maximum tensile strength. A relationship was found between the applied load amplitude P and the lifetime of the cycle N. The relationship can be expressed as P = 894.7N-0.011. 4) The FEM analysis shows that the maximum vonMises stress of 373 MPa at the fatigue endurance limit is close to the ultimate tensile strength of the SPCC sheet (382 MPa). This implies that the true tensile strength of the neck is significantly improved through cold working during clinch joining.

4. Conclusion

Static tensile and fatigue tests were conducted using tenVol. 2, No. 4 / December 2009
137

1. Sawhill J.M. and Sawdon S.E.(1983), A new mechanical joining technique for steel compared with spot welding, SAE paper; 830128, pp. 1-12. 2. Larsson J.K.(1994), Clinch joining-A cost effective joining technique for body-in-white assembly, Advanced Technologies & Processes. IBEC'94, pp. 140-145. 3. Pedreschi R.F. and Sinha B.P.(1996), The potential of press-

Ho-Kyung Kim

joining in cold-formed steel structures, Construction and building materials, Vol. 10, pp. 243-250. 4. Davies R., Pedreschi R. and Shiha B.P.(1996), The shear behavior of press-joining in cold-formed steel structures, Thin-Walled Structures, Vol. 25, pp. 153-170. 5. de Paula A.A., Aguilar M.T.P., Pertence A.E.M. and Cetlin P.R.(2007), Finite element simulations of the clinch joining of metallic sheets, Journal of Materials Processing Technology, Vol. 182, pp. 352-357. 6. Chung C.S., Cha B.S. and Kim H.K.(2001), Optimum joining conditions in a mechanical press joint, Materials and Manufacturing Processes, Vol. 16, pp. 387-403.

7. Varis J.P.(2003), The suitability of clinching as a joining method for high-strength structural steel, Journal of Materials Processing Technology, Vol. 132, pp. 242-249. 8. Carboni M., Beretta S. and Monno M.(2006), Fatigue behavior of tensile-shear loaded clinched joints, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, Vol. 73, pp. 178-190. 9. Radaj D. and Zhang S.(1997), Stress intensities at spot welds, International Journal of Fatigue, Vol. 88, pp. 167-185. 10. Lin S.H., Pan J., Wung P. and Chiang J.(2006), A fatigue growth model for spot welds under cyclic loading conditions, International Journal of Fatigue, Vol. 28, pp. 792-803.

138

IJR International Journal of Railway