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Met. Mater. Int., Vol. 17, No. 6 (2011), pp.

doi: 10.1007/s12540-011-6014-8 Published 27 December 2011
Experimental and Numerical Analysis on Aluminum/Steel Pipe
Using Magnetic Pulse Welding
J. Y. Shim
, I. S. Kim
, K. J. Lee
, and B. Y. Kang
Environmental Materials & Components Center, KITECH, 561-202, Korea
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Mokpo National University, 534-729, Korea
Automotive Components R&D Group, KITECH 500-480, Korea
(received date: 31 August 2010 / accepted date: 2 May 2011)
Recently, there has been a trend in the automotive industry to focus on the improvement of lightweight materials,
such as aluminum and magnesium because the welding of dissimilar metals causes many welding defects.
Magnetic pulse welding (MPW), one of the solid state welding technologies, uses electromagnetic force from
current discharged through a working coil which develops a repulsive force between the induced currents
flowing parallel and in the opposite direction in the tube to be welded. The objective of this paper is to develop
a numerical model for analysis of the interaction between the outer pipe and the working coil using a finite
element method (FEM) in the MPW process. Four Maxwell equations are solved using a general elec-
tromagnetic mechanics computer program, ANSYS/EMAG code. Experiments were also carried out with
a W-MPW60 machine manufactured by WELMATE CO., LTD. with the Al1070 and SM45C for Al pipe
and steel bar respectively. The calculated and measured results were compared to verify the proposed model.
Keywords: welding, metals, scanning electron microscopy, magnetic properties, interface
Since the late 19th century, research to achieve superlight
gas mileage in cars and reduce carbon dioxide emissions has
been constantly pursued. Related industries require improve-
ments in gas mileage in response to high oil prices and to
enhance efforts to build a green society. Therefore, light-
weight vehicle bodies and components have become a goal
of the automobile industry in the 21st century. It is essential
to convert steel that was used in existing vehicle bodies and
components to lightweight materials such aluminum, mag-
nesium and so on. [1].
A scheme to replace steel solid drive shafts (SDS), which
are used in most vehicles, with tubular drive shafts (TDS),
which are made from aluminum, is under discussion [1].
However, making the whole TDS with lightweight materials
is uneconomical and inefficient so that a joint with the steel
yoke appears. Consequently, it is important to choose a
proper welding method because structures made from two
kinds of materials are usually weak.
Joining dissimilar metals by fusion welding generally
causes not only defects and oxidation but also transforma-
tion and corrosion. Thus, MPW can be a useful cold process
in which a solid state weld is achieved between two metals,
one with the other, by means of their kinetic impact, using
very small amounts of energy [2].
Generally MPW studies are divided into two stages, one
for experimental analysis and another for numerical analysis.
In an experimental analysis report, Hokari et al. [3] reported
about the quality of electromagnetic pulse welding of joint
parts through an Al/Cu joint experiment. Shribman et al. [2]
also conducted an experiment regarding process parameters
which affect the quality of joint parts. Numerical analysis
studies have been based on electromagnetic pulse forming,
and most studies have been about working coil. Li et al. [4]
presented a numerical simulation of the magnetic pressure in
the tubular structure of a working coil. Also, Zhang [5] ana-
lyzed the shape and material of the single and multi-turn
solenoid coil with the finite element method. Takatsu et al.
[6] formulated a mathematical model to solve the problem of
forming a circular disk interacting with a pancake coil. The
assumed axisymmetry of the problem along with other sim-
plifying assumptions, was used to obtain a set of partial
differential equations for the magnetic field, mechanical dis-
placement, and the current in the coil [7]. CALE code was
employed by Fenton and Daehn [8].
At this time, these two part of MPW studies was studying
each to each. Therefore, this study investigated the charac-
teristics of the parts to be welded at an Al/Steel welding
*Corresponding author:
KIM and Springer
958 J. Y. Shim et al.
using MPW through experiment and numerical analysis for
manufactured vehicles TDS. For this experiment, an opti-
mum welding condition and waveform were chosen. Then,
the electromagnetic appearance between the outer pipe and
working coil as well as the characteristics of the joint part
were observed after inputting the optimal condition to the
numerical analysis model.
2.1. Experimental setup and procedure
The equipment and specimens employed in this study
were MPW equipment W-MPW and Al 1070 for Al pipe,
and SM45C for steel rod, respectively. Table 1 shows the
specifications for the MPW equipment that has the maxi-
mum charging energy of 36 kJ. Additionally, to observe the
discharge waveform, a Rogowski coil was installed in work-
ing coil. Fig. 1 shows the outer pipe and inner rod within
which the working coil was inserted. An outer pipe was
machined to be 0.7 mm thick, 110 mm long, and 8 mm in
diameter. An inner rod with a 5 mm diameter was employed.
For the pipe joint, the gap between the Al and steel was 0.8
mm. Before the experiment, the specimens were ground
using emery paper (#400~#1500) prior to welding to remove
machine marks sustained during machining. In addition,
ultrasonic cleansing was carried out for approximately 10
minutes in acetone to remove grease.
The experiment may be summarized as follows. First, the
voltage had to be charged according to the welding condi-
tions. Then welding was carried out by electromagnetic
force from current discharged through a working coil which
develops a repulsive force between the induced currents
flowing parallel and in the opposite direction in the tube
After the experiment, a leakage test was carried out to verify
the joint parts. The welding cross section was finally observed
to confirm whether or not the specimen was successfully
2.2. Results and discussion for experimental
The welding condition and results are shown in the Table
2. Welding was carried out undr the condition of the
charged voltage over 7 kV. Fig. 2 shows the measured
waveform while the energy charged in working coil was
discharged. The sin-waveform of decreasing vibration was
measured with a period of 25 us. When the applied water
pressure was increased on the specimens, bursting occurred
at the Al as show in Fig. 3(a). The weld interfaces of the
specimens showed a uniformly wavy pattern as shown in
Fig. 3(b).
Table 1. Specifications of MPW equipment
Dimension(mm) 1445(W)1838(D)1220(H)
Weight(kg) 1800
Power requirement 200V AC, 13.5kVA
Condenser Capacitance 720 F
Rated voltage 10 kV
Fig. 1. A schematic diagram for experiment.
Fig. 2. Discharge current waveform (15 v/div,100 us/div).
Fig. 3. The Al/Steel weld part.
Table 2. The welding condition and results
Charged voltage (kV) Peck current (kA) leakage
8 500 No leakage
7 300 leakage
Experimental and Numerical Analysis on Aluminum/Steel Pipe Using Magnetic Pulse Welding 959
The electromagnetic force needed for welding should be
confirmed. However, there is a limitation for electromag-
netic force used for welding to be studied. Because this elec-
tromagnetic force is decided by the interactions of the
electromagnetic working coil and the workpiece, the devel-
opment of numerical model can be considered a useful tool.
3.1. Governing equation and boundary condition
The electromagnetic force P is expressed in formula (1)
[4]. Here, B is the magnetic flux density, H is the magnetic
field intensity, and is permeability:
Development of an empirical model for an MPW process
is described by the fundamental Maxwell equations [9]. The
magnetic field of the workpiece is expressed by Eqs. (2) to
, (2)
, (3)
, (4)
, (5)
where E is the electric field intensity, and J is the electric
current density. To these differential relations, the constitu-
tive relations are included:
, (6)
, (7)
where is the conductivity.
The skin depth effect is an important factor in high-fre-
quency conductors. When a high-frequency current flows
through a conductor, the current tends to flow on the conduc-
tor surface. The magnitude of the current was exponentially
decreased with the depth of penetration into the conductor.
The depth at which the value of the current decreases to 1/e
(37%) of the surface current is defined as skin depth and
expressed as [9]:
where = 2 f is the angular frequency of the current.
As the workpiece is treated as a single turn working coil,
the boundary conditions can be assumed as follows [4]:
(a) (magnetic induction intensity) in the Cartesian coor-
dinate system is perpendicular to axis at y = 0.
(b) (vector magnetic potential) in the Cartesian coordi-
nate system is equal to zero at x = 0.
(c) An infinite flag in the Cartesian coordinate system is
set on the outer line of the far-field air region.
3.2. Analysis Method and procedure
A schematic flowchart of the implemented algorithm is
shown in Fig. 4. An electromagnetic model and a mechani-
cal model are established. During simulation, the magnetic
forces acting on the Al pipe were calculated from the electro-
magnetic model, which were then used as an input load to
simulate high-velocity deformation of Al pipe from the
mechanical model. The numerical analysis was done through
EMAG that a general electromagnetic mechanics computer
program and Newton-Raphson method used for calculating
of nonlinear equation in ANSYS.
Fig. 5 shows an axisymmetric setup for this research. Based
on the measured values, the coil current value was assumed
to be 500 kA, and the frequency value was assumed to be 25
kHz during the simulation. To avoid complexity in the calcu-
lation of energy transformation, current was used as the exci-
tation in the present analysis. Eight-node quadrilateral elements
of a mapped mesh with 183,221 nodes and 90,706 quadrilat-
eral elements in total were employed.
3.3. Result and Discussions
A high current is discharged through a working coil, creat-
ing an eddy current in a conductive workpiece, and finally
placed at close proximity to the working coil. Repulsion
between the two electromagnetic forces creates pressure and
accelerates the workpiece into a new configuration [4].
Fig. 6 expresses the current input to coil in the +Z direc-
tion and the generated eddy current in the -Z direction which

----------- = =
------ =
E 0 =
H 0 =
H J =
B H =
J E =

----------- =
Fig. 4. Flowchart of the implemented algorithm.
960 J. Y. Shim et al.
is the direction opposite to that of the pipe. The distributions
of the magnetic flux line between the coil and Al pipe are
shown in Fig. 7. Fig. 7 confirms that the flux line distribu-
tions from the passing air gap are centralized in the direc-
tion of the tube adjacent to the coil, generating strong
electromagnetic force between the coil and the Al pipe.
Fig. 8 shows the distributions of the magnetic flux density
with an input current of 500 kA in which the maximum of
value is 38.933 wb/m
. The maximum measured electro-
magnetic force generated in a coil was about 6905N. When
interaction between the working coil and the Al pipe was
being processed, collision of the Al pipe was caused.
Therefore, it may be concluded from Fig. 9 that the electro-
magnetic force compressed from the surface to the inside
of the pipe.
When electromagnetic force was applied to the Al pipe,
Fig. 6. The current density.
Fig. 7. The magnetic flux line.
Fig. 8. The Magnetic flux density.
Fig. 9. The electromagnetic force.
Fig. 5. A schematic diagram for simulation.
Experimental and Numerical Analysis on Aluminum/Steel Pipe Using Magnetic Pulse Welding 961
deformation occurred as seen in Figs. 10 to 11. The extent of
the deformation was a maximum of 0.809 mm to the inside
and 22 mm toward the length. These results are similar to the
output data from experiment, demonstrating the validity of
this system.
Al/Steel dissimilar metal welding using an MPW process
was experimentally carried out and numerical analyzed as a
basic research for manufacturing vehicles, and the following
conclusions were reached:
(1) The optimized charging voltage to achieve successful
welding of Al/steel dissimilar metal joining using an MPW
process is 8 kV, and the optimum discharging time is about
25 us. In the case of successful welding, a clear wave pattern
could be observed on the interface of the welded specimen.
(2) The length of deformation was 0.809 mm from a part
adjacent to the coil to the center and about 22 mm in the lon-
gitudinal direction was measured. The experimental results
showed good agreement with the simulation results; thus,
the developed model was verified by comparison of the cal-
culated and measured results.
(3) The developed model can be employed as a tool to
maintain the quality of joint parts and inspect the reliability
of products.
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Fig. 10. The comparison between results.
Fig. 11. Deformation of Al pipe.