Wide softening zones are typical for welded joints of age hardened aluminium alloys. In this study, the microstructure evolution and distribution of mechanical properties resulting from welding processes of the aluminium alloy EN AW-6082 (AlSi1MgMn) was analysed by both in-situ and ex-situ investigations. The in-situ thermal analyses (TMA) included differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), which was used to characterise the dissolution and precipitation behaviour in the heat affected zone (HAZ) of welded joints. Thermo-mechanical analysis by means of compression tests was used to determine the mechanical properties of various states of the microstructure after the welding heat input. The necessary temperature⁻time courses in the HAZ for these methods were measured using thermocouples during welding. Additionally, ex-situ tensile tests were done both on specimens from the fusion zone and on welded joints, and their in-depth analysis with digital image correlation (DIC) accompanied by finite element simulations serve for the description of flow curves in different areas of the weld. The combination of these methods and the discussion of their results make an essential contribution to understand the influence of welding heat on the material properties, particularly on the softening behaviour. Furthermore, the distributed strength characteristic of the welded connections is required for an applicable estimation of the load-bearing capacity of welded aluminium structures by numerical methods.
Keywords: AlMgSi alloy; DSC; EN AW-6082; digital image correlation; mechanical properties; microstructure; numerical simulation; tensile test; thermo-mechanical analysis; welding.