Friction stir welding (FSW) is a novel welding method that is garnering attention, in part, due to its ability to join dissimilar materials. One of the challenges in producing dissimilar friction welded joints is ensuring the welds are defect-free. Nondestructive testing (NDT) methods such as ultrasonic waves, gamma rays, X-rays, and X-ray CT, are gaining popularity as a method to detect internal defects in FSW joints.

In this study, dissimilar AA1050-AA6061-T6 FSW lap welds are Manufactured and then examined using an NDT X-ray CT technique. The effects of two critical X-ray CT scanning parameters (voxel size and Hounsfield unit (HU)) on the detection of internal defects are investigated. The samples are scanned via X-ray CT at two different voxel sizes (2.457 E−02 and 1.420 E−03 mm3) and two HU ranges (12-bit and 16-bit depth). The generated Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) images are segmented based on a proper HU threshold found via the Otsu thresholding method. The findings show that Small voxel size (higher resolution) improves the ability of detecting internal defects and improves the effectiveness of the thresholding process. Higher HU range results in a wider separation between detected material peaks, thus enhancing the effectiveness of the thresholding process as well.

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