Corrosion Phenomena and Fatigue Behavior of Clinched Joints: Numerical and Experimental Investigations
Lightweight construction has increasingly become the focus of scientific research in recent years, not least due to the constantly increasing fuel price, which is a key factor in the economic viability of many companies. In this respect, the use of hybrid structures, made of dissimilar materials offers many advantages. However, such hybrid structures often have undesirable side effects. For example, brittle intermetallic phases are formed when aluminum and steel are welded. Clinching as a mechanical joining process does not produce such intermetallic phases since the connection is realized through form and force closure. In this process, a punch passes through two or more sheets and forms them into a permanent joint in a die. In the present work, the corrosion phenomena of an aluminum-steel clinched joint have been investigated by both experiments and numerical simulations in order to explain the superior fatigue behavior of pre-corroded joints. Therefore, the clinched joints have been corroded by a three-week salt-spray test. In addition, the electric potential and the von Mises stress are calculated under the assumption of a static loading. The results of both experiments and numerical simulations can explain the improvement in the fatigue behavior of the corroded specimens. This phenomenon can be attributed to the accumulation of corrosion products in small gaps between the joined metal sheets.