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Resistance spot welds joining aluminum alloy 2024-T8511 stiffeners to the aluminum alloy 6061-T62 skin of an aircraft drop tank failed during slosh and vibration testing. Visual examination of the fracture surfaces showed that the failure was by tensile or bending overload. Measurements of the fractured spot welds established that all welds were below specification size. Review of the assembly procedures revealed that there had been poor fit-up between the stiffeners and the tank skin, which resulted in weak, undersize weld nuggets. The spot welds failed because of undersize nuggets that were the result of shunting caused by poor fit-up. The forming procedures were revised to achieve a precise fit between the stiffener and the tank wall. Also, an increase in welding current was suggested.

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Failure of Resistance Spot Welds Joining Stiffeners to the Skin of an Aircraft Drop Tank Because of Poor Fit-Up, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Air and Spacecraft, ASM International, 2019,

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