Study on the Effect of Laser Welding Parameters on the Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Ultrafine Grained 304L Stainless Steel

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

Department of Materials Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, 84156-83111, Iran.

Abstract

In the present study, an ultrafine grained (UFG) 304L stainless steel with the average grain size of 300 nm was produced by a combination of cold rolling and annealing. Weldability of the UFG sample was studied by Nd: YAG laser welding under different welding conditions. Taguchi experimental design was used to optimize the effect of frequency, welding time, laser current and laser pulse duration on the resultant microstructure and mechanical properties. X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Optical Microscope (OM), Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), microhardness measurements and tension tests were conducted to characterize the sample after thermomechanical processing and laser welding. The results showed that the ultrafine grained steel had the yield strength of 1000 Mpa and the total elongation of 48%, which were almost three times higher than those of the as-received sample. The microstructure of the weld zone was shown to be a mixture of austenite and delta ferrite. The microhardness of the optimized welded sample (315 HV0.5) was found to be close to the UFG base metal (350 HV). It was also observed that the hardness of the heat affected zone (HAZ) was  lower than that of the weld zone, which was related to the HAZ grain growth during laser welding. The results of optimization also showed that the welding time was the most important parameter affecting the weld strength. Overall, the study showed that laser welding could be an appropriate and alternative welding technique for the joining of UFG steels.

Keywords


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