Numerical prediction and experimental analysis of the residual stress fields and generated distortion in hybrid laser/arc welded thick plates of high-strength steels
Heating and cooling cycles that occur during the fusion joining process generate a significant amount of thermally caused residual stress that negatively influence the integrity and dimensional accuracy of the welded structures. The level of residual stress around the welding region was as large as the yield stress of the weld and was believed to have created an unwanted permanent deformation. In this paper, a three-dimensional thermo-metallurgical-mechanical finite element method (FEM), using the computational modeling software SYSWELD, was introduced to numerically study the residual stress fields and the distortion of thick welded plates of high-strength quenched and tempered steel (HSQTS) that were caused by hybrid laser/arc welding process in butt-joint configuration. The precision of thermal analysis results was verified prior to conducting mechanical analysis. The verified cooling curves obtained from the thermal simulation were acquired to predict the microstructure of the welding region. Employing the X-ray diffraction method (XRD), the field of residual stress was measured in order to validate the accuracy of the mechanical analysis. The results showed the numerically predicted temperature contours to be in a good agreement with the weld cross section as well as the temperature histories recorded by thermocouples. The microstructural evolution of the welding region revealed a relatively good consistency with the predicted phases based on the continuous cooling transformation (CCT) diagram and the numerically simulated cooling curves. It was shown that experimental and numerical results of the residual stress field and distortion matched well with a large distortion theory.
KeywordsHybrid laser/arc welding Thermo-metallurgical-mechanical analysis Residual stress SYSWELD
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The authors would like to express their gratitude to Andrew Socha for his help to prepare and run the setup for welding at the Research Center for Advanced Manufacturing at SMU. This work was partially funded by NSF Grant IIP-1539853.
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