The heat affected zone (HAZ) of friction stir welded Al 7075 T7 shows diminished corrosion resistance properties when compared with the parent material. Corrosion attack in this region of the weld is primarily intergranular and is associated with the presence of precipitate free zones. Current TEM research conducted at Brigham Young University by Dr. Bin Cai finds a correlation between precipitate free zone (PFZ) width and grain boundary geometry. As both grain boundary geometry and the PFZ are associated with modes of failure in 7XXX aluminum, this paper makes a comparison of grain boundary character distributions (GBCD) in the HAZ and the parent metal via multi-section plane five-parameter stereology. The stereology is conducted in a convenient macroscopic coordinate frame, associated with the HAZ. This is the first investigation to determine the GBCD in the HAZ of friction-stirred weld material and requires multiple section plane sampling. It is discovered that aluminum here exhibits the property of non-sidedness, a long assumed but unproven characteristic. Further comparisons between the two microstructures are conducted relative to (2-dimensional) grain boundary network connectivity, recovered from EBSD data in each section plane. It is shown that the relative fraction of grain boundaries of misorientation character associated with smaller PFZ size is larger in the HAZ as compared to the parent material. A commensurate decrease in the connectivity (radius of gyration) of grain boundaries of character conducive to larger PFZ size is also found in the HAZ, relative to the parent material. Distribution of inclinations changes as a function of grain boundary geometry. Surface area per unit volume of CSL and low angle random (LAR) misorientations increases in the HAZ, while high angle random (HAR) boundaries decrease. In the case of LAR and some CSL boundaries, a reorientation occurs in which macroscopic normals of these interfaces rotate. It is anticipated that these significant changes in the GBCD within the HAZ could be important in terms of understanding the post-weld mechanical and physical properties in friction-stirred materials.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





grain boundary character distribution, precipitate free zone, grain boundary network nonnectivity, stereology