A study investigating the effect of sheet surface condition on resistance spot welding (RSW) of aluminium has been carried out. This concentrates on two automotive aluminium alloys; AA5754 and AA6111, used for structural and closure applications respectively. The results show the marked effect that surface condition can have on the RSW process. For AA5754 sheet incomplete removal of a ‘disrupted surface layer’ prior to surface pretreatment is shown to have a detrimental effect on the RSW process. The solid wax lubricant used to assist metal forming leads to unpredictable changes in contact resistance, and consequently affects the process stability. For AA6111 closures the final surface topography can influence the RSW process. Standard ‘mill’ and electro-discharge textured (EDT) finish sheet surfaces were examined and preliminary results suggest that both are suitable for welding. The successful application of RSW of aluminium sheet requires careful consideration of the sheet surface condition. This requires close collaboration between material suppliers and automotive manufacturers
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