The microstructures of Al alloy 6061 subjected to very-high-power ultrasonic additive manufacturing were systematically examined to understand the underlying ultrasonic welding mechanism. The microstructure of the weld interface between the metal tapes consisted of fine, equiaxed grains resulting from recrystallization, which is driven by simple shear deformation along the ultrasonically vibrating direction of the tape surface. Void formation at the weld interface is attributed to surface asperities resulting from pressure induced by the sonotrode at the initial tape deposition. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that Al-Al metallic bonding without surface oxide layers was mainly achieved, although some oxide clusters were locally observed at the original interface. The results suggest that the oxide layers were broken up and then locally clustered on the interface by ultrasonic vibration.
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