# INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ADVANCES IN MATERIALS AND MATERIALS PROCESSING

**NUMERICAL SIMULATION OF MELTING AND SOLIDIFICATION IN LASER WELDING OF MILD STEEL
**

M. Sundar*, D.K. Bandyopadyay, S.P. Chaudhuri, P.K. Dey, D. Misra and S. Roy

School of Laser Science & Engineering, Jadavpur University, Kolkata-700032 * E-mail: marimuthusundar@yahoo.com Abstract: Melting and solidification in a laser welding process is analyzed following two different

transient models: (I) with fluid flow and (II) without fluid flow i.e. pure conduction and with various beam powers and scanning speeds. Based on these models, numerical simulations for laser welding of mild steel have been carried out using commercial software, Fluent. The present study investigates the effects of fluid flow, beam power and scanning speed on heat transfer and the weld pool geometry. Analysis shows that consideration of fluid motion has pronounced effects on temperature and weld pool geometry. It is observed that the effect of fluid flow becomes prominent at higher beam power. The weld pool length, width and depth decreases and approaches to a near constant value with increase in scanning speed. Advection becomes prominent in the weld pool and, thereby, plays an important role in determining the size and shape of the final weld pool geometry. Key Words: CFD, Laser welding, Melting, Solidification, Weld pool.

INTRODUCTION In laser welding process the parts to be joined are locally melted by an intense laser beam, followed by a solidification process as the beam moves away. The mechanical strength and microstructure of such joints are strongly dependent on the thermal history in the weld zone and the nearby heat affected zone (HAZ). One of the main advantages of laser welding is its low HAZ. To keep track of the HAZ and other properties, it is necessary to have a thorough understanding of the fluid flow and heat transfer mechanism in the weld pool. Since molten metals are opaque, flow visualization of the weld pool is difficult. Hence, it is necessary to have an appropriate mathematical model for clear understanding of the transport mechanism in the weld pool.

Figure 1: Schematic Diagram of Laser Welding Process. Figure 1 is a schematic representation of the laser welding process considered. A continuous laser beam of sufficient intensity is incident upon the work piece, which is moving at a constant velocity (scanning speed). A significant fraction of the incident energy is absorbed by the work piece leading to the formation of weld pool. As the work piece passes the intense laser beam, the weld pool travels along the scanning direction. The weld pool starts solidifying as it crosses the laser beam.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ADVANCES IN MATERIALS AND MATERIALS PROCESSING

NOMENCLATURE Am = Mushy Zone Constant B = Thickness (m) Cp = Specific heat (J/kg-K) g= Acceleration due to gravity (m/s2) h = Sensible enthalpy (J/kg) hc = Combined transfer coefficient for radiative and convective boundary condition. (W/m2K) h ref = Reference enthalpy (J/kg) H = specific enthalpy (J/kg) HL = Latent heat of fusion (J/kg) ΔH = Latent Heat = βHL (J/kg) K = Conductivity (W/m K) L = Length (m) P = Static pressure (Pa) q flux = Heat flux (W/m2)

T = Temperature (K) T∞= Ambient temperature (K) u = Fluid Velocity (m/s) U = Scanning Velocity of Laser Beam (m/s) W = Width (m) x, y, z = coordinates (m) t = time (s) Greek symbols β = Liquid fraction. εr = Emissivity μ= Molecular viscosity(Pa-s) ρ = Density (kg/m3) ε = a constant to prevent division by zero

In order to model the dynamic development of the weld pool, the transient analysis of the temperature and the fluid flow must be considered [1]. As the workpiece melts, the absorbed energy induces a predominantly surface tension driven flow from the top, which redistributes the fluid momentum as well as the thermal energy in the weld pool. The induced flow, as a result of the beam power and the scanning speed, determines the final shape and size of the weld pool and the HAZ. Current research in the area of laser welding is mainly focused on the solidification behaviors and the microstructural evolution through interaction between the laser beam and materials [2, 3]. A three dimensional quasi-steady state heat transfer model for the laser material processing without latent heat and a moving heat source of Gaussian type distribution has been studied by Damborenea [4]. The Marangoni effect has been studied by Mazumder [5] and Schmidt [6] in a cylindrical geometry. The present work considers two models: (I) involving latent heat of fusion and fluid flow, (II) involving latent heat of fusion and pure conduction and compares results in terms of transient temperature distribution and the weld pool geometry. The present study addresses the simulation of the laser welding process and discusses the effects of laser power and scanning speed on the weld pool geometry. FORMULATION Numerical simulation is carried by the finite volume based code FLUENT. The mathematical model used in this work is based on the Navier-Stokes equations [7]. ∂ρ ∂ ∂ ∂ (1) + ( ρ u ) + ( ρ v) + ( ρ w) = 0 ∂t ∂x ∂y ∂z

∂ ( ρ v ) + Δ ( ρ vv ) = −Δp + ρ g + Δ.( μ (Δv )) − s ∂t

(2)

The enthalpy-porosity technique [8] treats the mushy region (partially solidified region) as a porous medium. The porosity in each cell is set equal to the liquid fraction in that cell. In fully solidified regions, the porosity is equal to zero, which extinguishes the velocities in these regions. The momentum sink, s in Eq. (2) due to the reduced porosity in the mushy zone takes the following form:

s= (1 − β ) 2 Am (v )φ (β 3 + ε )

(3)

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ADVANCES IN MATERIALS AND MATERIALS PROCESSING

The energy equation based on enthalpy is as follows: ∂ ∂T ∂ ∂T ∂ ∂T ∂( ρ H ) ∂ ∂ ∂ + ( ρ uH ) + ( ρ vH ) + ( ρ wH ) = (K ) + (K ) + (K ) ∂x ∂x ∂y ∂y ∂z ∂z ∂t ∂x ∂y ∂z

(4) (5)

H=h+ ΔH,

h = href+

T

Tref

∫C

p

dT

Boundary conditions:

At the top surface: Heat flux input with heat loss due to convection [9] and radiation can be expressed as,

∂T = q flux - h c (T-T∞ ) ∂n h c = 24.1× 10-4ε T1.61 K

(6) (7)

**The shear stresses caused by the variation of surface tension [10] due to temperature is given by
**

∂σ ∇ sT ∂T where, ∂σ = Surface tension gradient and

τ=

(8)

∂T

∇ sT = Surface gradient

At all other surfaces (except at the top surface): Heat loss due to convection and radiation is given by

K ∂T = h c (T-T∞ ) ∂n

(9)

The governing equations and boundary conditions setup in the present analysis are discretized and solved using simplex algorithm. The equations in this model are solved sequentially. As the governing equations are non-linear and coupled, several iterations of the solution loop is performed before a converged solution is obtained.

RESULT AND DISCUSSION The processing of a mild steel plate with dimensions of length (L) 15 mm, width (W) 7.5 mm and thickness (B) 5 mm has been considered for the purpose of computation. The transient simulation is carried out with initial temperature of 300 K and beam diameter 2 mm throughout the study. For simplicity, we have taken constant thermophysical properties for the present analysis, except for the variation of surface tension. Because of the presence of surface-active elements such as sulfur and manganese, the temperature coefficient of surface tension is usually positive for the case of mild steel. For the present case, we have taken a positive surface tension coefficient (0.0005 N/m K [11]). Results are presented for various beam powers and scanning speeds considering two different models as shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Process parameters used for study Case No 1 2 3 Power (kW) 1 2 4 Speed (mm/sec) 5,10,20,30 5,10,20,30 5,10,20,30

To highlight the transport phenomena vis-à-vis the models considered, typical results are presented in the form of temperature contours (Figures 2 and 3) for a beam power of 2 kW and scanning speed of 20 mm/s. Analysis shows that the isotherms expand as time progresses and it moves with the beam

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ADVANCES IN MATERIALS AND MATERIALS PROCESSING

along the x-direction. It is observed that, due to motion of the workpiece relative to the laser beam, as heat flow occurs in the scanning direction, the peak temperatures at the workpiece surface appears near the trailing edge of the laser beam rather than at the beam centre.

Laser Movement

1- 300 2- 674 3- 1050 4- 1790 5- 2170

5

Laser Movement

2 1 3 4 5

1- 300 2- 674 3- 1050 4- 1790 5- 2170

1

2

3 4

(a) Top surface (b) Mid-cross section Figure 2: Temperature contour for scanning speed 20 mm/s and laser power 2 kW considering fluid flow (Model I).

Laser Movement

1- 300 2- 1070 3- 1580 4- 2350 5- 2860

2 345

1- 300 2- 1070 3- 1580 4- 2350 5- 2860

Laser Movement

3 4 5

1

1

2

(a) Top surface (b) Mid-cross section Figure 3: Temperature contour for scanning speed 20 mm/s and laser power 2 kW without fluid flow (Model II). The temperature distributions for Models (I) and (II) with a beam power of 2 kW and scanning speed of 20 mm/s are presented, in Figures 2 and 3, respectively. The Maximum temperature as obtained from simulation for Model (I) is found to be 2170 K where as that for Model (II) is 2860 K. The lower predicted value of maximum temperature in Model (I) in contrast to Model (II) is attributed to the advection effect. Variation of weld pool length, width and depth for different laser power and scanning speeds are shown, respectively, in Figure 4, 5 and 6. The variation of weld pool length, width and depth with scanning speeds almost follow the similar trend in both the models. For the range of scanning speeds and laser powers chosen, Model (I) shows lower value of weld pool length and width i.e. lower HAZ than that predicted by Model (II). In contrast, Model (I), as a result of scouring effect due to fluid motion, predicts higher value of weld pool depth than predicted by Model (II). As seen from Figures 4-6, the weld pool length, depth and width decreases gradually with increase in scanning speed. Higher scanning speed leads to lower value of HAZ. For low laser powers, both

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ADVANCES IN MATERIALS AND MATERIALS PROCESSING

models predict almost the same value of weld pool geometry i.e. length, width and depth. This happens due to smaller size of the weld pool arising out of low laser power where convection is practically suppressed and has little effect in determining the shape and size of the weld pool.

6 5 Length (mm) 4 3 2 1 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Speed (mm/sec)

**Figure 4: Variation of weld pool length with respect to speed.
**

5 4 Width (mm) 3 2 1 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Speed (mm/sec)

**Figure 5: Variation of weld pool width with respect to speed.
**

6 5 Depth (mm) 4 3 2 1 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Speed (mm/sec)

Figure 6: Variation of depth with respect to speed

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ADVANCES IN MATERIALS AND MATERIALS PROCESSING

For moderate and higher laser powers, molten pool becomes larger in size because of absorption of higher incident energy. Advection becomes prominent in the weld pool and, thereby, plays an important role in determining the size and shape of the final weld pool geometry. The scanning speed has high impact on the weld pool depth than weld pool length and width. As expected, low scanning speed leads to a higher weld pool depth.

CONCLUSIONS Three-dimensional Models are considered for simulation of melting and solidification for a typical laser welding process of mild steel. These Models can be used as a tool for a parametric examination of the laser welding process, which will lead to optimized values of the welding parameters. These Models can be used to simulate the welding process for real-life engineering problems. From the simulation, it is observed that the fluid flow in the weld pool plays a significant role in influencing the temperature distribution and the final shape and size of the weld pool. Models including the fluid flow yield lower maximum temperature, narrower HAZ and higher depth than those without fluid flow. Further, it is observed that with increase in scanning speed, the weld pool length, width and depth decreases. Increase in laser power results in wider HAZ and higher penetration. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support (Sanction No. 2004/34/3-BRNS/275) given by the Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences, DAE, India, for carrying out the present research work. REFERENCE

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