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Proceedings of the ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition

IMECE2013
November 15-21, 2013, San Diego, California, USA

IMECE2013-64503

ENERGY TRANSPORT AND THERMAL STRESS FORMATION IN HYBRID


LASER-MIG WELDING
Jun Zhou and Amir Khalilollahi
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Pennsylvania State University, The Behrend
College
Erie, PA 16563, USA

ABSTRACT
This study is focusing on understanding the thermal stress
formation in hybrid laser-MIG welding which has been gaining
a lot of interests due to its many advantages over laser welding.
Thermal stress formation is tightly associated with heat and
mass transfer in hybrid laser welding, so accurate analysis of
heat transfer process in the welding process is critical to
correctly predict thermal stress information and residual stress
in hybrid laser welds. In this study, a comprehensive heat and
mass transfer model analyzing the energy, mass, and
momentum transport processes in hybrid laser-MIG welding is
successfully integrated with a mechanical model to study
thermal stress formation in hybrid laser-MIG welding and
residual stress in final welds as well. High compressive stress
is found to exist on the top surface of the weld which might
cause irregular welds topology and high tensile residual
stresses were found in some locations in the final weld. This
proposed study can be used as a foundation to further
understand the thermal stress formation mechanisms in welding
and to provide an efficient way to optimize the hybrid laser-arc
welding process.
INTRODUCTION
Laser welding has been recently used in many industries
due to its many advantages over traditional welding techniques,
such as deep penetration, precise operation, short processing
time, etc. [1-3].Welding with lasers is characterized by creating
a keyhole inside the molten metal. A high-energy-density beam
vaporizes the workpiece during the welding process to form a
deep hole, which is called the keyhole. The keyhole increases
the coupling of laser energy into the workpiece, resulting in a
weld with high depth-to-width ratio and a narrow heat-affected
zone. However, in laser keyhole welding, the highly-localized
heating and non-uniform cooling results in high temperature
gradient during heating and cooling periods, thus a high

Hai-Lung Tsai
Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Rolla, MO 65409, USA

thermal stress in the welding zone. Once the cooling period


ends, a complex residual stress occurs in the final welds, as
well as the undesirable deformation of the welded structure.
Since residual stress and distortion can significantly impair the
performance and reliability of the welded structures, they must
be properly dealt with during design, fabrication, and in-service
use of the welded structures. Residual stress is believed to be
primarily caused by the compressive yielding that occurs
around the molten zone as the materials is heated and expands
during welding and by the tensile stress during solidification
and cooling processes when the metal contracts [4-5]. Hybrid
laser-MIG welding, by combining laser welding and arc
welding, can offer many advantages over laser welding or arc
welding alone. Some advantages are elimination of undercut,
prevention of porosity formation, and modification of weld
compositions [69]. With additional heat and mass inputs from
the arc and the filler droplets in hybrid laser-MIG welding, the
melt flow in the weld pool and the solidification process are
both significantly affected, thus the residual stress formation in
Laserlight

Plasmazone

Solidliquid
interface

Metalzone
z
r

Fig. 1 The schematic sketch of a spot hybrid laser-GMA welding process

welds as well.
Despite a large number of studies on hybrid laser-arc
welding, most of these studies focus on conducting
experiments to effectively integrate laser and arc welding
together. There are limited theoretical studies investigating the

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heat transfer and diffusion process in hybrid laser-arc welding


and the thermal models used in those studies are not
sophisticated, some important phenomena, such as laser
keyhole plasma formation and radiation; energy transport in
plasma; droplet-weld pool interaction, etc., are neglected,
which significantly affect the accuracy of predicting residual
stress formation in welds. In this study, a comprehensive
thermal model of hybrid laser-MIG welding developed by
Zhou et al. [10] is integrated with a mechanical model to
predict the thermal stress evolution in hybrid laser-MIG
welding and residual stress in hybrid laser welds. It includes
calculations of the temperature field, free surface evolution,
laser-induced plasma formation, and multiple reflections in
hybrid laser-MIG welding. The transient energy transport in the
weld pool and the keyhole plasma, interactions between
droplets and the weld pool, weld pool dynamics, thermal stress
formation will also be investigated.
MATHEMATICAL MODELS
Figure 1 is a schematic sketch of a hybrid laser-MIG
welding. Nd:YAG laser with the wave length of 1064 nm is
used. The focus of the laser beam is on the top surface of the
plate and the laser beam energy is in the Gaussian distribution.
Laser-induced plasma acts as an important factor affecting
keyhole behavior once it occurs. Due to the different energy
transport mechanisms in the metal zone and plasma zone,
models are developed for each zone separately. In metal zone
including base metal, weld pool, and MIG droplets, governing
equations are listed below:
Continuity Equation

(1)

V 0

Momentum Equations

p ul
C 2

( u ) ( Vu ) l
(u us ) 0.5 u u s (u u s )
u

K l
t
l
r K l

(2)

( f s flVr ur ) s u

Keyhole plasma in this study will be modeled as an


incompressible inviscid ideal gas. The energy transport in
keyhole plasma can be studied by using the following equation:
k

( h ) pl hpl qr K pl I c ( r ) exp K pl dz K pl I r , m (r , z ) exp K pl dz


c

m 1

t pl pl
0

pl

zo

zm

(6)

where hpl and pl represent, respectively, the enthalpy and


density of the plasma, kpl and cpl represent, respectively, the
thermal conductivity and specific heat of the plasma, s is the
penetration depth of laser light in plasma, Kpl denotes the
Inverse Bremsstrahlung absorption coefficient and qr stands for
the radiation heat flux vector.
As shown in Fig. 1, metal zone and plasma zone are
separated by a free surface (liquid-plasma interface) and are
coupled with each other in the calculation. In the metal zone
calculation, the plasma in the keyhole acts as the boundary
condition for the keyhole surface. When the plasma zone
calculation is considered, the keyhole surface will act as the
boundary condition. The evolution of the free surface can be
tracked by using the following VOF method:
dF F

(V ) F 0
t
dt

(7)

Since the simulation of plasma needs more accurate time


resolution, finer time steps were adopted in the plasma zone
calculation. The finite volume method with SIMPLEC
algorithm was used in the model. Different grid systems have
been employed and consistent results were obtained. The
results presented below can be considered as a compromise
between numerical accuracy and computational time. All the
simulations are performed by using in-house developed code.
Details of the assumptions, mathematical formulations,
boundary conditions and numerical techniques can be found in
reference [10].
To study the thermal stress formation, transient
temperature profiles from the thermal model along with
temperature dependent material properties which can be found
in Fig. 2 were incorporated to generate an ANSYS finite


p ul

C 2

( v ) ( Vv ) g l v
(v vs ) 0.5 v vs (v vs ) (3)
t
K l
l
z K l


g T (T T0 )
l

( f s flVr vr ) s v

Energy Equation
k

( h) ( Vh) h ( hs h) (V Vs )( hl h)
c

t
p

(4)

Specie Equation

( f ) ( Vf ) Df D ( f l f ) (V Vs )( f l f )
t

(5)
Fig. 2 Temperature-dependent thermal properties of SS304

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element model. Mechanical properties, including modulus of


elasticity, yield stress, and Poisson were evaluated using
material models in reference [11]. The basic nonlinear model
encompassing a wide range of temperature change was the
bilinear isotropic hardening plasticity (Hills model) where both
E and y were dependent on temperature for a range of 250 to
1170 K. For temperatures higher than 1170 K, the stress-strain
curve for 1170 K was implemented. The FE model included
5782 elements and 2370 nodes, and used a rectangular mesh
made with ANSYS element 182 (2D-4-node solid structural).
It allowed activation and effects of large deformations. The
spatial temperature values from the math model were mapped
into the FE model using a script in APDL (ANSYS
programming language). The boundary conditions for the work

t = 15.0 ms

t = 25.0 ms

2.5

2.5
z (mm)

3.5

z (mm)

3.5

1.5

1.5

t = 19.0 ms

t = 33.0 ms

3.5

3.5

z (mm)

2.5

z (mm)

2.5

1.5

1.5

t = 22.0 ms

t = 48.0 ms

3.5

3.5

z (mm)

2.5

z (mm)

2.5

1.5

1.5

-1

0
r (mm)

-1

0
r (mm)

Fig. 4 Liquid metal evolution in weld pool showing droplet-weld pool


interaction in hybrid laser welding

Fig. 3 Temperature-dependent E and and y in FE bilinear model.

piece consist of having all free surfaces with the exception of


bottom surface being motionless. The numerical stability in the
solution was achieved by assigning a minimum number of 25
substeps in ANSYS solution control and for each transient
profile. Fig. 3 demonstrates the material behavior used in the
FE model.

Fig. 6 respectively. The detailed discussions of keyhole


formation and collapse, and heating and melting can be found
in Reference [10]. As shown, when the first droplet impinges
into the keyhole, the downward momentum carried by the
droplet forces the melt to flow downward and inward along the
keyhole wall. When the droplet reaches the bottom of the
keyhole, the downward momentum squeezes some liquid metal
against the keyhole bottom and forces it to flow upward and
outward. Meanwhile, the collapse of the keyhole from the top
due to hydrostatic force and surface tension cause the liquid
metal on the top to flow downward along the keyhole wall.
When the upward melt flow meets the downward flow, they
exchange momentum, which makes it difficult for the droplet
on the top to further flow downward. When the subsequent
t = 15.0 ms

t = 25.0 ms

3.5

3.5

RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS


To compare with previous laser welding studies [12], the
same welding parameters used in previous laser welding are
used in current study: laser power and radius of the laser beam
at the focus are 1.7 kW and 0.25 mm, respectively. The welding
coupon with a thickness of 3.0 mm and width of 10 cm are
made of stainless steel 304 (SS304). The divergence of the
laser beam is assumed to be negligible for a 3.0 mm metal
thickness. The laser power is assumed to increase from 0 to 1.7
kW within 1.0 ms and will be turned off at t = 15.0 ms. In
hybrid laser-MIG welding, filler droplets are also made of
SS304 and impinge into the weld pool at a given speed,
frequency, size, and temperature for additional 5.0 ms once the
laser is turned off. Since the keyhole formation process is very
similar to that in the laser welding process, discussions in this
study will focus on droplet impingement, heat&mass transfer,
and thermal stress formation in keyhole collapse, solidification
and cooling process.

Fig. 5 Velocity distributions of melt flow in weld pool showing momentum


transport process in hybrid laser welding

Weld pool dynamics, energy transport and solidification


Figure 4 shows a typical process of droplet-weld pool
interaction in hybrid laser welding. The corresponding
momentum and heat transfer process are shown in Fig. 5 and

filler droplets impinge into the keyhole, it is hard for them to


reach the bottom of the keyhole. So, the downward momentum
of the flow will transit in lateral and upward directions. With
more droplets impinging into the weld pool, a counter-

10 cm/s

25 cm/s

2.5

2.5
z (mm)

z (mm)

1.5

1.5

t = 19.0 ms

3.5

25 cm/s

10 cm/s

z (mm)

2.5

z (mm)

2.5

1.5

1.5

t = 22.0 ms

t = 48.0 ms

3.5

3.5

25 cm/s

5 cm/s

z (mm)

2.5

z (mm)

2.5

1.5

1.5

t = 33.0 ms

3.5

-1

0
r (mm)

-1

0
r (mm)

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clockwise vortex is created in the middle of the weld pool due


to this interaction between the droplets and weld pool, as
shown in Fig. 5. The formation of the vortex facilitates the
transfer of heat from high temperature regions like top and
center of the weld pool to low temperature regions such as
bottom of weld pool and keyhole wall. Furthermore, since MIG
droplets can bring additional heat and mass into the weld pool,
it can help to slow down the solidification process and further
enhance the convection in the weld pool. As droplets continue
to drip into the keyhole, more and more momentum are added
into keyhole, the vortex turns bigger and stronger, which helps
the temperature distribute more and more uniform in latitudinal
t = 15.0 ms

t = 25.0 ms

2.5

2.5
z (mm)

3.5

z (mm)

3.5

1.5

1.5

t = 19.0 ms
t = 19.0 ms
3.5

the FE model in a multistep analysis similar to the keyhole


formation and heating cycle mentioned above. Eventually the
workpiece was cooled to the room temperature (300 K). As
shown by the residual stress distributions in Figs. 7a and 7b,
the x-component of stress in some locations are above the
yielding stress (241 MPa), which indicates that this component
is almost solely responsible for the maximum values found for
von Mises stresses in the workpiece during the welding
process. Also, as shown in Figs. 7b and 7c, the high levels of
compressive stress on the top surface will create rough surface
(bumps) when the welding cupon completely solidifies. Since
the level of tensile stress (x Fig. 7b) at the location below the
surface marked by X has reached above the yielding stress of
the material, which implies that potential crack failure of the
weld can occur there. Hence, it can serve as an indicator of
potential crack failure in that region.

(a)

t = 33.0 ms

3.5

3.5

T (K)
3290

2.5

2.5

3091

2892
2692
2493

1496

1.5

1.5

z (mm)

1895
1695

2.5

2094

z (mm)

z (mm)

2294

1297
1097

898
699
499

1.5

t = 22.0 ms

t = 48.0 ms

3.5

3.5

z (mm)

2.5

z (mm)

2.5

1.5

1.5

(b)
1

-1

0
r (mm)

-1

0
r (mm)

Fig. 6 Temperature distributions in weld pool showing energy transport


process in hybrid laser welding

direction, which can potentially help reduce the residual


thermal stress in the final weld. Also as shown, when droplet
impinging process is stopped, the liquid metal in the weld pool
is pushed to flow inward and downward by hydrostatic and
surface tension forces. The keyhole becomes smaller and
smaller and the vortex becomes smaller and weaker. Finally,
the keyhole is completely filled back and the velocity of the
melt flow drops quickly. As shown in Fig. 5, at t = 33.0 ms,
there is almost no convection in the weld pool and after that
conduction will be the major mode of heat transfer in the weld.

(c)

Thermal stress analysis


Thermal stress distributions in the welding coupon have
been calculated in a FE model using the transient temperature
profiles at different times corresponding to the cooling process
shown in Fig. 6. Of significant importance in this study is the
prediction of residual stresses that might lead to the initiation
and progression of cracks within the workpiece.
Figures 7(a), (7b) and (7c) show the calculated thermal
residual stress components in the workpiece in the
solidification and cooling cycle. The transient temperature
profiles corresponding to different times in the solidification
and cooling cycle (as shown in Fig. 6) in welding were input to

Fig. 7 Residual stress components: (a) Von Mises, (b) Normal stress
(x), and (c) Von Mises with inflated deformation geometry

Figure 8 shows the evolution of maximum stress


components during the entire welding process and their
comparisons with those in laser welding. As shown, the
maximum magnitude of stress, and more importantly the tensile
and von Mises stress occur at the completely cooled state after
the welding. This observation can confirm the propensity for
damage in that area. Also as shown, comparing with previous
laser welding studies, thermal stress formation processes in

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hybrid laser welding appears very similar. The magnitudes of


these stresses and the residual stresses are found to be slightly
higher in hybrid laser-MIG welding than those in laser welding,

Fig. 8 Maximum thermal stress evolutions in hybrid laser welding


and its comparison with that in laser welding

which is not preferable in welding. The formation of these


higher stresses is mainly due to the addition of extra heat and
momentum into the weld pool along with these MIG droplets
which changes the cooling process in solidification process.
More simulations will be conducted and more corresponding
results will be presented and discussed in the conference.

CONCLUSIONS
A comprehensive thermal model has been used to study the
transport phenomena, such as heat transfer, melt flow,
solidification, and cooling in hybrid laser-MIG welding. This
model is then integrated with a mechanical model to study the
thermal stress evolution and thermal residual stress in hybrid
welding. As indicated, high compressive stress exists on the top
surface of the weld which might cause irregular welds topology
(bumps). High residual tensile stress value (over the critical
value of the materials) was found in some locations in final
welds. It indicates that thermal cracking is most likely to appear
in this region, which agrees with some experimental
observations. The magnitude of thermal stress and residual
stress are found a bit higher in hybrid laser-MIG laser welding
than those in laser welding, which may be due to the additional
energy and momentum input from the droplets into the weld
pool in hybrid laser-MIG welding simulation which affects the
cooling process in solidification. More studies will be carried
and discussed later. In summary, the proposed study can
provide an efficient way to further investigate the hybrid laserarc welding process, such as reducing residual stress in welds;
controlling welds surface topology; preventing thermal
cracking in welds; and optimizing hybrid laser-arc welding
process.

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