Modeling the effects of coolant application in friction stir processing on material microstructure using 3D CFD analysis

Sharif Aljoaba, Oscar Dillon, Marwan Khraisheh, I. S. Jawahir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The ability to generate nano-sized grains is one of the advantages of friction stir processing (FSP). However, the high temperatures generated during the stirring process within the processing zone stimulate the grains to grow after recrystallization. Therefore, maintaining the small grains becomes a critical issue when using FSP. In the present reports, coolants are applied to the fixture and/or processed material in order to reduce the temperature and hence, grain growth. Most of the reported data in the literature concerning cooling techniques are experimental. We have seen no reports that attempt to predict these quantities when using coolants while the material is undergoing FSP. Therefore, there is need to develop a model that predicts the resulting grain size when using coolants, which is an important step toward designing the material microstructure. In this study, two three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models are reported which simulate FSP with and without coolant application while using the STAR CCM+ CFD commercial software. In the model with the coolant application, the fixture (backing plate) is modeled while is not in the other model. User-defined subroutines were incorporated in the software and implemented to investigate the effects of changing process parameters on temperature, strain rate and material velocity fields in, and around, the processed nugget. In addition, a correlation between these parameters and the Zener-Holloman parameter used in material science was developed to predict the grain size distribution. Different stirring conditions were incorporated in this study to investigate their effects on material flow and microstructural modification. A comparison of the results obtained by using each of the models on the processed microstructure is also presented for the case of Mg AZ31B-O alloy. The predicted results are also compared with the available experimental data and generally show good agreement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1141-1150
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Engineering and Performance
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Advanced characterization
  • Heat treating
  • Modeling processes
  • Modification
  • Non-ferrous metals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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