We have an aluminum welded structure consisting of .38 6061 plate with 3x3x.38 angles on one side for stiffness. This assembly will typically be used as part of a mold in an oven operating at 415°F for 3 hours, then cooling for an hour to about 300°F. At this point it is taken out an air cooled with fans. With the residual stresses in the weld as well as the stressed due to the thermal cycling welds will often crack. I found the stress relief temperature for aluminum to be 650°F, but our ovens will only do 550F. My thought is to reduce the residual stress by heat soaking the part at 550°F. My question is will this method work and how long do I need to soak the part at 550°F to get an effective stress relief.
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