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Computationally efficient welding distortion simulation techniques

Camilleri, D. and Gray, T.G.F. (2005) Computationally efficient welding distortion simulation techniques. Modelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering, 13 (8). pp. 1365-1382. ISSN 0965-0393

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The study's aim is to improve the applicability of finite element analysis to the prediction of welding distortions, with particular emphasis on out-of-plane deformations. Robust simulation strategies are established which take account of material properties and joint configurations, but are at the same time computationally efficient. This is achieved by reducing the full transient thermo-elastoplastic analysis to variants of an uncoupled thermal, elasto-plastic and structural treatment. A two-dimensional cross-section thermal model was used to establish thermal transients. The maximum temperatures, experienced at each node during the welding cycle, were then used to link the thermal welding strains to the elasto-plastic and structural response of the welded structures. Three efficient models have been identified that reduce the transient analysis to a simple multi-load-step analysis and these were applied to sample butt-welded plates. The simulation techniques are supported by full-scale welding tests on steel plates. The evolution of angular distortion can be treated simply through non-linear, stepwise, static analyses. This captures important effects of restraint and material properties. The longitudinal bending distortion can then be established via simple elastic-perfectly plastic algorithms, through a fictitious elastic thermal load analysis.