Resistance Spot Welding in the Automotive Industry

Dr. Amberlee S. Haselhuhn

Presented by the Engineering Design, Manufacturing and Management Systems Department, Dr. Joe Licavoli

November 2, 2018 at 1:00 pm in D-109

In an effort to reduce vehicle mass, automakers are incorporating lightweight materials within vehicle bodies at an ever increasing rate. The primary focus has been on incorporating ultra-high strength steels such as press hardened steels, complex phase steels, and others. Even further mass reductions can be achieved by incorporating aluminum alloy materials such as sheet, extrusions, and castings into a multi-material body. These lightweight materials must be joined to form automotive body structures in such a way to reduce mass, yet the ideal joint is a compromise between robust performance and an easily implemented production solution that is low-cost and high quality. Typical body structure assembly plants are based upon resistance spot welding technology as it is flexible, low-cost, fast, and can be applied to both aluminum-aluminum and steel-steel joints. However, resistance spot welding offers several interesting metallurgical challenges that must be addressed to form robust joints as advanced material alloys and combinations such as aluminum-steel are introduced. An introduction to joining in the automotive industry will be given with special emphasis on the metallurgy of resistance spot welding and the aluminum-steel spot welding process. Case studies will be presented that describe the static and dynamic mechanical performance of the dissimilar aluminum-steel welds and their robustness to production conditions such as gaps between sheets, electrodes off normal (at an angle) to the metal sheets, and changes in current.

Dr. Amberlee S. Haselhuhn, General Motors Research and Development

Dr. Amberlee S. Haselhuhn

Dr. Haselhuhn is a researcher in the Manufacturing Systems Research group at General Motors Research & Development. She obtained her Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from Michigan Technological University in 2016 where she developed aluminum alloys for low-cost wire arc additive manufacturing applications. In 2016, Amberlee joined General Motors R&D to develop dissimilar metal joining solutions for automotive body structures. For her work she was recently awarded the Boss Kettering Award, GM’s highest honor for technical innovation. Amberlee has also been honored with a “30 Under 30” in Manufacturing Engineering Award by Manufacturing Engineering magazine.