In this study the effect of the weld current on the microstructure and mechanical properties of a resistance spot-welded twinning-induced plasticity (TWIP) steel sheet was investigated using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy–electron back-scattered diffraction (SEM–EBSD), microhardness measurements, a tensile shear test and fractography. Higher weld currents promoted the formation of a macro expulsion cavity in the fusion zone. Additionally, higher weld currents led to a higher indentation depth, a wider heat-affected zone (HAZ), coarser grain structure and thicker annealing twins in the HAZ, and a relatively equiaxed dendritic structure in the centre of the fusion zone. The hardness values in the weld zone were lower than that of the base metal. The lowest hardness values were observed in the HAZ. No strong relationship was observed between the hardness values in the weld zone and the weld current. A higher joint strength, tensile deformation and failure energy absorption capacity were obtained with a weld current of 12 kA, a welding time of 300 ms and an electrode force of 3 kN. A complex fracture surface with both brittle and limited ductile manner was observed in the joints, while the base metal exhibited a ductile fracture. Joints with a higher tensile shear load (TSL) commonly exhibited more brittle fracture characteristics.
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