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Materials and Design 54 (2014) 207–211

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Technical Report

Mechanical and microstructural properties of robotic Cold Metal

Transfer (CMT) welded 5083-H111 and 6082-T651 aluminum alloys
Beytullah Gungor a,b, Erdinc Kaluc b,c, Emel Taban b,c,⇑, Aydin SIK Sß Sß d
TR Naval Forces, Kocaeli, Turkey
Kocaeli University, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kocaeli, Turkey
Kocaeli University, Welding Techn. Research, Education and Training Center, Kocaeli, Turkey
Gazi University, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Industrial Design, Ankara, Turkey

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: 5083-H111 and 6082-T651 aluminum alloys used particularly in shipbuilding industry especially for the
Received 19 June 2013 sake of their high corrosion resistance and moderate strength, were welded using Pulsed Robotic Cold
Accepted 5 August 2013 Metal Transfer (CMT)-Metal Inert Gas (MIG) technology. Joints were fabricated as both similar and dis-
Available online 14 August 2013
similar alloy welds using plates with a thickness of 6 mm. Non-destructive tests such as visual and radio-
logical examination were conducted before further destructive tests. Tensile, bend and fatigue tests were
applied to specimens extracted from welded joints. Fracture surfaces of fatigue samples were examined
by light optical microscopy (LOM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Also macro and microstruc-
tures of weld zones were investigated and micro hardness profiles were obtained. In accordance with
results, CMT-MIG provides good joint efficiency with high welding speed, and good tensile and fatigue
Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction industrial scale manufacture was invented in 2000 in Germany,

and finally conventional Metal Inert Gas welding process equipped
5083 aluminum–magnesium alloys are strain hardenable alloys with Cold Metal Transfer (CMT) technology was invented in 2004
and have excellent corrosion resistance, toughness, weldability and and is likely to be a milestone in aluminum welding [7–9]. CMT
moderate strength. 6082 aluminum–magnesium–silicon alloys are is completely new technology with respect to both welding appli-
heat treatable types and have high corrosion resistance, excellent cation and welding equipment. CMT is not only completely new
extrudibility and moderate strength. Especially with their high cor- technology, but it also enhances MIG application areas, allowing
rosion resistance and moderate strength these aluminum alloys the arc joining of steel to aluminum in a reproducible manner for
are widely used in shipbuilding industry. Single- or multiple-hull the first time. CMT can be described as a Gas Metal Arc Welding
high speed ferries employ several aluminum alloys, 5083, 5383 (GMAW) process where heat input is low compared to the conven-
and 5454 as sheet and plate (along with 6082 extruded shapes) tional dip arc process. The CMT-process is a dip arc process with a
with all-welded construction [1–3]. completely new method of the droplet detachment from the wire.
Aluminum welding was once considered limited due to the In the conventional dip arc process the wire is moved forward until
problems associated with welding processes such as oxide removal a short circuit occurs. At that moment the welding current in-
and reduced strength in the weld and heat affected zone (HAZ). creases, causing the short circuit to re-open, allowing the arc to
New aluminum welding techniques have been developed and ignite again. There are two main features of the Metal Inert Gas/
commercialized significantly over the past 30 years that solves Metal Active Gas (MIG/MAG) process: on the one hand the high
these problems [1,3]. Although MIG and Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) short circuit current corresponds to a high heat input. On the other
welding were invented in 1940s and used in many industries, there hand the short circuit opens in a rather uncontrolled manner,
were still some joint problems that reduced joint efficiency under resulting in lots of spatters in the conventional dip arc process.
50% [1,4–6]. To improve weld performance, friction stir welding In the CMT process the wire is not only pushed towards but also
(FSW) that is solid state welding and a milestone in aluminum drawn back from the work piece – an oscillating wire feeding with
welding was invented in 1991 by TWI, laser beam-Gas Metal Arc an average oscillation frequency up to 70 Hz is used [9]. In CMT,
(GMA)-hybrid welding that is first hybrid method ever applied in the term ‘‘cold’’ has to be understood in terms of a welding process,
but when set against the conventional MIG/MAG process, CMT is
⇑ Corresponding author at: Kocaeli University, Faculty of Engineering, Dept. of still a cold process that constantly alternates between hot and cold
Mechanical Engineering, Kocaeli, Turkey. Tel./fax: +90 262 303 34 43. phases. During the arcing period, the filler metal is moved towards
E-mail addresses:, (E. Taban).

0261-3069/$ - see front matter Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
208 B. Gungor et al. / Materials and Design 54 (2014) 207–211

Fig. 1. Phases of CMT process (a–d) [10].

Table 1
Chemical composition and mechanical properties of base metals.

Aluminum alloy Chemical composition (in wt.%)

Si Fe Cu Mn Mg Cr Ni Zn Ti Al
5083 0.076 0.13 0.032 0.63 4.34 0.064 0.003 0.035 0.055 94.6
6082 1.02 0.23 0.052 0.63 0.69 0.066 0.002 0.033 0.048 97.2
Mechanical properties
Rp0.2 (MPa) Rm (MPa) Elongation (%)
5083 239 331 16.4
6082 321 329 11.1

the weld pool (Fig. 1a, hot phase). When the filler metal dips into Since CMT is relatively a recent technology, there are few stud-
the weld-pool, the arc is extinguished and the welding current is ies about CMT welding of aluminum alloys. All studies are inter-
lowered (Fig. 1b, cold phase). The backward movement of the wire ested in welding success of thin plates of aluminum and
assists droplet detachment during the short circuit and the short magnesium alloys. In some studies, 1–3 mm thin plates of Al–Mg
circuit current is kept small (Fig. 1c, cold phase). Finally, the wire dissimilar joints were successfully made by CMT-MIG [11–13].
motion is reversed and the process begins all over again (Fig. 1d, Feng et al. [14] successfully welded pure aluminum with no-spat-
hot phase) [10]. ter and low heat input that promotes the gap bridging ability.

Fig. 2. LOM images of weld zone cross sections.

B. Gungor et al. / Materials and Design 54 (2014) 207–211 209

Fig. 5. Comparison of average tensile properties of the base metal with welded

Packin and Young [15] has successfully welded 3 mm thick AA

6111 aluminum alloys and founded CMT welding process highly
competitive for automated welding of aluminum parts. Hence, this
study aims investigating microstructure and mechanical behavior
of 6 mm thick 5083-H111 and 6082-T651 aluminum alloys as sim-
ilar (joints called as M55, M66 referring to welded joints of 5083 to
5083 and 6082 to 6082 respectively) and dissimilar (M56 referring
to welding of 5083 to 6082 alloys) joints.

2. Materials and experimental procedure

In this study, 5083-H111 and 6082-T651 aluminum alloys were

used as base metals. Chemical composition data obtained by glow
discharge optical emission spectroscopy (GDOES) and mechanical
properties obtained by tensile test are given in Table 1.
Aluminum alloy plates were cut into coupons with
150  330  6 mm3 dimensions with 30° level of each plate to pro-
vide 60° groove angle for V-groove butt joint geometry. ER5183
with 1.2 mm diameter was used as filler metal. Welding parame-
ters for Robotic CMT-MIG were implied as 194 ± 5 A welding cur-
rent, 19.5 ± 1 V welding voltage, 0.4 m min 1 welding speed and
11 ± 0.2 m min 1 wire feed rate.
Visual and radiographical examination was performed in order
to detect possible surface and inner errors after welding. Test sam-
ples were obtained in accordance with TS EN ISO 17637 for visual
examination before further destructive tests. According to test
plan, test samples suitable for TS EN ISO 15614-2 were extracted
from weld plates which had past visual and radiological examina-
Fig. 3. Macrograph and SEM photos of fracture surfaces of (a) M55, (b) M56 and (c) tion. Tensile test specimens were prepared according to TS EN ISO
M66 fatigue specimens.
4136:2012, bending test specimens were prepared according to TS
EN ISO 5173, fatigue test specimens were prepared according to

Fig. 4. Microhardness profiles of CMT Pulse welded joints (a) M55, (b) M56 and (c)
M66. Fig. 6. Fatigue test results of base metals and welded joints.
210 B. Gungor et al. / Materials and Design 54 (2014) 207–211

DIN EN 50142. In order to determine microstructural properties of in the literature [16–24,29–35]. Welded joint performances were
these joints, the specimens were cross-sectioned perpendicular to 83% for M55, 67% for M66 and 70% for M56 according to average
the weld interface. The cross-section of these joints were grinded, maximum strength of base metals 5083 and 6082. Failures of
polished and etched with Keller etchant. After microstructural M55 tensile test specimens occurred at the weld metal. This was
examinations, these specimens were used for detailed microhard- due to the recrystalization process accounted for majority strength
ness (HV0,2) assessment under 200 g load. For further examination loss in weldments in cold worked aluminum alloys [1]. In contra-
of microstructure, fracture surfaces of fatigue test specimens were distinction to M55 joint, M56 and M66 tensile test specimens were
analyzed with scanning electron microscopy (SEM). fractured at the HAZ of 6082 base metal side. While welding of
6082 alloy, HAZ microhardness drops occured at the over-aged
zone where precipitate coarsening took place. These over-aged
3. Results and discussion zones were the weakest parts of welded 6082 HAZ [1,3]. Yield
stress results of all welded joints were surprisingly higher from
The microstructural behavior of aluminum alloys joined by CMT previous studies for all welding type [19–21,25–28].
Pulse welding was studied by LOM. Images of weld zone cross sec- Fatigue test results of joints were given in Fig. 6. According to
tion are outlined in Fig. 2. In robotic CMT welded joint M55, the the fatigue tests results, CMT Pulse welded 5083 (M55) joint exhib-
base metal will have a fine-grained structure composed of a matrix ited better fatigue data from other welded joint types, parallel with
of a solid solution of magnesium in aluminum. Although it was ex- tensile stress data and gas porosity level. Besides having close fati-
pected that Mg2Al3 would be formed which could begin to coalesce gue limits, M66 showed better fatigue limit than M56. Fatigue test
and coarsen in the HAZ where the temperature raised to around was conducted under yield stresses. It was concluded that gas
250 °C further, there were no coalescence or coarsening in the far porosity levels of the joints had significant effect on fatigue limit,
HAZ. Nevertheless, fine grain microstructures were produced by because of being an important crack initiation points.
processes which involved static recrystallization in HAZ close to fu-
sion line [1,3]. In robotic CMT welded joint M66, partial melting of 4. Conclusions
the grain boundaries has resulted in coalescence and coarsening
with weld metal in the fusion line because of solution treatment In this study, 6 mm thick 5083 and 6082 aluminum alloys were
resulted in aging after welding [3]. In robotic CMT welded joint welded successfully with CMT Pulse welding technique as similar
M56, grain structure showed same results as M55 and M66 and different joints. CMT’s low heat input with high wire melting
depending on their base metal side. coefficient when compared with the pulsed MIG process provided
For further microstructure analysis, fractured surface of fatigue high welding speed (400 mm min 1) and negligible distortion on
test specimens were examined by SEM (Fig. 3a–c). Porosities in frac- welded plates.
tured surfaces were little [19,20]. Evaluated with tensile test results, Although microhardness results for all welded joints were sim-
these porosities had no significant negative effect on joint strength. ilar to characteristic hardness traverse across weldments, hardness
Porosity levels were 2% and ‘‘B’’ quality for M55, 3% and ‘‘C’’ quality drops were slightly close to the base metal.
for M56 and M66 according to ISO 10042:2005(E) standard. Tensile testing of the weld joints and base metal produced ade-
Microhardness measurements were completed under 200 g quate tensile strength values. Although conventional GMA welding
load (Fig. 4). Although results were similar to characteristic hard- method showed lower mechanical test results compared with Gas
ness traverse across weldments [1], hardness drops were slightly Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) or FSW, CMT Pulse showed results
close to the base metal. While hardness drops were around 22– close to FSW due to the robotic application of the process which
35% in previous studies [21,26,28], hardness drops were maximum means higher welding speed and very low heat input and surpris-
18% level in this study. 5083 similar alloy weld joint (M55) microh- ingly higher yield strength values than any other welding methods
ardness values were measured between 77 and 92 HV0,2 and hard- previously reported in the literature.
ness drops with minimum hardness value were just in the weld 5083 similar weld joint (M55) showed best fatigue perfor-
zone as expected. 6082 similar alloy weld joint (M66) microhard- mance, then respectively 6082 similar weld joint (M66), and
ness data were measured between 79 and 96 HV0,2, hardness in- 5083&6082 dissimilar weld joint (M56). These results were paral-
crease in weld zone were measured around 96 HV0,2, while lel with porosity and yield stress values of the related joints.
hardness decrease at the HAZ were measured 79 HV0,2. 6082 base
metal hardness were measured around 82 HV0,2. 5083 and 6082
dissimilar alloy weld joint (M56) microhardness data were mea-
sured between 76 and 96 HV0,2. HAZ’s of M56 joint are similar to
Authors would like to thank to the technical support of the fol-
that of M66 and M55 for same material as seen on Fig. 6. Differ-
lowing industrial companies: Fronius TR, Assan Aluminum, End
ently, weld zone of M56 showed somewhat higher hardness val-
ues. Microhardness rise in close HAZ of 6082 were because of the
partially solution-treated zone where some of the precipitates
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