A Lagrangian finite-element model of the plunge phase of the friction stir welding process was developed to better understand the plunge. The effects of both modeling and experimental parameters were explored. Experimental friction stir plunges were made in AA 7075-T6 at a plunge rate of 0.724 mm/s with spindle speeds ranging from 400 to 800 rpm. Comparable plunges were modeled in Forge2005. Various simulation parameters were explored to assess the effect on temperature prediction. These included the heat transfer coefficient between the tool and workpiece (from 0 to 2000 W/m-K), mesh size (node counts from 1,200 to 8,000), and material model (five different constitutive relationships). Simulated and measured workpiece temperatures were compared to evaluate model quality. As spindle speed increases, there is a statistically significant increase in measured temperature. However, over the range of spindle speeds studied, this difference is only about 10% of the measured temperature increase. Both the model and the simulation show a similar influence of spindle speed on temperature. The tool-workpiece heat transfer coefficient has a minor influence (<25% temperature change) on simulated peak temperature. Mesh size has a moderate influence (<40% temperature change) on simulated peak temperature, but a mesh size of 3000 nodes is sufficient. The material model has a high influence (>60% temperature change) on simulated peak temperature. Overall, the simulated temperature rise error was reduced from 300% to 50%. It is believed that this can be best improved in the future by developing improved material models.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





friction stir welding, friction stir process, friction stir plunge, friction stir spot weld, forge2005, transvalor, mesh size, numerical material model, spindle speed, heat transfer coeficient, aa 7075-T6