Liquid metal embrittlement in resistance spot welding and hot tensile tests of surface-refined TWIP steels
Automotive industry strives to reduce vehicle weight and therefore fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Especially in the auto body, material light weight construction is practiced, but the occupant safety must be ensured. These requirements demand high-strength steels with good forming and crash characteristics. Such an approach is the use of high- manganese-content TWIP steels, which achieve strengths of around 1,000 MPa and fracture strains of more than 60%. Welding surface-refined TWIP steels reduces their elongation at break and produces cracks due to the contact with liquid metal and the subsequent liquid metal embrittlement (LME). The results of resistance spot welds of mixed joints of high-manganese- content steel in combination with micro-alloyed ferritic steel and hot tensile tests are presented. The influence of different welding parameters on the sensitivity to liquid metal embrittlement is investigated by means of spot welding. In a high temperature tensile testing machine, the influence of different parameters is determined regardless of the welding process. Defined strains just below or above the yield point, and at 25% of elongation at break, show the correlation between the applied strain and liquid metal crack initiation. Due to the possibility to carry out tensile tests on a wide range of temperatures, dependencies of different temperatures of the zinc coating to the steel can be identified. Furthermore, the attack time of the zinc on the base material is investigated by defined heating periods.