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Procedural influences on non-linear distortions in welded thin-plate fabrication

Mollicone, P. and Camilleri, D. and Gray, T.G.F. (2008) Procedural influences on non-linear distortions in welded thin-plate fabrication. Thin-Walled Structures, 46 (7-9). pp. 1021-1034. ISSN 0263-8231

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Abstract

Fusion welding is the most common and convenient method used for the fabrication of large, thin-plate welded structures. However, the resulting tendency to out-of-plane distortion exacts severe design and fabrication penalties in terms of poorer buckling performance, lack of fairness in external appearance, poor fit-up and frequent requirements for expensive rework. This study forms part of a long-term project that has the aim of modelling welding and related fabrication processes computationally with particular emphasis on the out-of-plane distortion outcomes. Throughout the present work the computational models have been cross-referenced to realistic experimental test cases. A repeated finding of the trials was that minor variations in fabrication procedures, were found to have significant effects on distortion. In particular, the pre-fabrication procedures, including spot and tack welding, have a significant effect on the initial out-of-plane distortion leading to differences in distortion of the post-welded structures. The support and clamping conditions during welding and cooling of welded thin-plate structures were also found to have a considerable influence on the final predicted out-of-plane distortion. The outcomes often result in different buckling instability behaviour. This paper concentrates on these aspects and draws on studies of buttwelding between plates of thicknesses 3-8 mm.