Failure of Resistance Spot Welds in an Aircraft Drop Tank Because of Poor Fit-Up
A series of resistance spot welds joining Z-shape and C-shape members of an aircraft drop-tank structure failed during ejection testing. The members were fabricated of alclad aluminum alloy 2024-T62. The back surface of the C-shape members showed severe electrode-indentation marks off to one side of the spot weld, suggesting improper electrode contact. Visual examination of the weld fractures showed that the weld nuggets varied considerably in size, some being very small and three exhibiting an HAZ but no weld. Of 28 welds, only nine had acceptable nugget diameters and fusion-zone widths. The weld deficiencies were traced to problems in forming and fit-up of the C-shape members and to difficulties in alignment and positioning of the weld tooling. The failure of the resistance spot welds was attributed to poor weld quality caused by unfavorable fit-up and lack of proper weld-tool positioning. The problem could be solved by better forming procedures to provide an accurate fit-up that would not interfere with electrode alignment.