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Stress characterization for friction-stir-welded electric vehicle battery trays with application of neutron diffraction

Publication Type
Journal Name
Journal of Manufacturing Processes
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1109 to 1123

The battery tray is an essential component that protects and controls battery-cell temperatures in electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The functional stress limit of the battery tray heavily depends on the residual stress acquired from the manufacturing process. Consequently, exceeding the stress limit of the battery tray during operation could compromise the battery-cell banks and may risk the vehicle's safety. Hence, understanding residual stress formation is vital for design and safety concerns. In the current study, AA 6061-plates were friction stir welded to an A365 high-pressure die-cast battery tray to create sealed coolant channels in the battery tray. However, this multi-material lap friction stir weld introduces residual stress into the battery tray, resulting in distortion. This distortion was mitigated using burnishing or coining operations, though straightening the battery tray had initially unknown effects on the residual stress. Therefore, neutron diffraction was utilized to characterize residual stresses after straightening. The results indicate that the friction stir welding (FSW) operation generated residual stresses exceeding the yield strength of the material, consequently deforming the battery tray by ±3 mm from the pre-weld geometry. The burnishing operation reduced the residual stresses below the material's yield strength while restoring the tray to within ±0.75 mm of the pre-weld geometry. Similarly, the coining operation restored the battery tray to within ±0.75 mm of the pre-weld geometry, however, increasing the number of locations where the residual stress exceeds the yield strength of the material.