FEM prediction of welding residual stresses in fibre laser-welded AA 2024-T3 and comparison with experimental measurement

  • J. Ahn
  • E. He
  • L. Chen
  • R. C. Wimpory
  • S. Kabra
  • J. P. Dear
  • C. M. Davies


Welding generates a considerable amount of residual stresses which affect the structural integrity of welded components. It is often assumed that the magnitude of residual stresses around the welded joint is as high as the yield stress of the material. In this investigation, such assumption was found to be overly conservative and failed to accurately represent the distribution of residual stresses in fibre laser-welded aluminium alloy 2024-T3 sheets. Welding simulation based on the finite element method was used to reliably determine the distribution and magnitude of transient residual stress fields and distortions in thin sheets welded using three different sets of welding parameters. The accuracy of the finite element models was checked by calibrating with experimentally measured weld pool geometries and temperature field prior to conducting parametric studies. X-ray and neutron diffraction measurements were performed on the surface and in the bulk of the welded components, respectively, and compared with numerical results. The influence of weld metal softening, welding parameters and restraints on residual stresses and distortion were investigated systematically by numerically simulating ideal conditions which eliminate the practical limitations of conducting experimental studies, for process optimization as well as evaluation of in-service structure integrity and failure modes of the welded sheets.


Residual stress Aluminium alloys Lasers Welding Neutron diffraction Numerical simulation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



The strong support from the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and Beijing Aeronautical Manufacturing Technology Research Institute (BAMTRI) for this funded research is much appreciated. The research was performed at the AVIC Centre for Structural Design and Manufacture at Imperial College London. Finite element analysis results were obtained from work conducted on the Imperial College High-Performance Computing Service (doi: Dr. C. M. Davies acknowledges the support of EPSRC under grant number EP/I004351/1. This research project has been supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme through the ‘Research Infrastructures’ action of the ‘Capacities’ Programme, CP-CSA_INFRA-2011-1.1.17 Number 233883 NMI3 II. We thank HZB and ISIS for the allocation of neutron radiation beam time.


  1. 1.
    Ding RG, Ojo OA, Chaturvedi MC (2006) Fusion zone microstructure of laser beam welded directionally solidified Ni3Al-base alloy IC6. Scr Mater 54(5):859–864. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Katayama S, Kawahito Y, Mizutani M (2012) Latest progress in performance and understanding of laser welding. Phys Procedia 39:8–16. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dittrich D, Standfuss J, Liebscher J, Brenner B, Beyer E (2011) Laser beam welding of hard to weld Al alloys for a regional aircraft fuselage design—first results. Phys Procedia 12:113–122. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Chen L, He E, Ahn J, Dear J (2014) Parametric optimization and joint heterogeneity characterization of fiber laser welding of AA2024-T3. In: Proceedings of the 67th Annual Assembly of the International Institute of Welding. International Institute of Welding, Seoul, KR, pp 1–9Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ahn J, Chen L, Davies CM, Dear JP (2014) Digital image correlation for determination of local constitutive properties of fibre laser welding joints in AA2024-T3. In: Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Experimental Mechanics. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, GB, pp 1–2Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ahn J, He E, Chen L, Dear J, Davies C (2017) The effect of Ar and He shielding gas on fibre laser weld shape and microstructure in AA 2024-T3. J Manuf Process 29:62–73. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ahn J, Chen L, He E, Davies CM, Dear JP (2017) Effect of filler metal feed rate and composition on microstructure and mechanical properties of fibre laser welded AA 2024-T3. J Manuf Process 25:26–36. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    ISO Standard 13919–1, 2011, Welding—electron and laser-beam welded joints—guidance on quality levels for imperfections—part 1: steel, ISO, 2011,
  9. 9.
    ISO Standard 13919-2, 2011, Welding—electron and laser-beam welded joints—guidance on quality levels for imperfections—part 2: aluminium and its weldable alloys, ISO, 2011,
  10. 10.
    AWS D17.1 Specification for fusion welding for aerospace applicationsGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Zink W (2000) Integral solutions for fuselage shells. In: Peters M, Kaysser WA (eds) Proceedings of the 19th European Conference on Advanced Aerospace Materials—Materials for Aerospace Applications. DGLR-Bericht, Munich, pp 25–35Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Liu J, Watanabe I, Yoshida K, Atsuta M (2002) Joint strength of laser-welded titanium. Dent Mater 18(2):143–148. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Park MK, Sindhu RA, Lee SJ, Zai BA, Mehboob H (2009) A residual stress evaluation in laser welded lap joint with hole drilling method. Int J Precis Eng Manuf 10(5):89–95. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    DebRoy T, David SA (1995) Physical processes in fusion welding.pdf. Rev Mod Phys 67(1):85–112. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Flores-Johnson EA, Muránsky O, Hamelin CJ, Bendeich PJ, Edwards L (2012) Numerical analysis of the effect of weld-induced residual stress and plastic damage on the ballistic performance of welded steel plate. Comput Mater Sci 58:131–139. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Masubuchi K (1980) Distortion in weldments. In: Analysis of welded structures: residual stresses, distortion, and their consequences. Pergamon Press Ltd, Oxford, pp 235–327. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Masubuchi K (1980) Fundamental information on residual stresses. In: Analysis of welded structures: residual stresses, distortion, and their consequences, Pergamon Press Ltd Oxford, pp 94–111Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Saad G, Fayek SA, Fawzy A, Soliman HN, Mohammed G (2010) Deformation characteristics of Al-4043 alloy. Mater Sci Eng A 527(4-5):904–910. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ahn J, He E, Chen L, Wimpory RC, Dear JP, Davies CM (2017) Prediction and measurement of residual stresses and distortions in fibre laser welded Ti-6Al-4V considering phase transformation. Mater Des 115:441–457. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Davison R, Bland JA (1986) Generalized regression for CMMs. Int J Math Educ Sci Technol 17(3):305–309. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Bayraktar FS, Staron P, Koçak M, Schreyer A (2008) Analysis of residual stress in laser welded aerospace aluminium T-joints by neutron diffraction and finite element modelling. Mater Sci Forum 571–572:355–360. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Radaj D (2003) Modelling of welding residual stresses and distortion. In: Welding residual stresses and distortion: calculation and measurement, 2nd ed. DVS-Verlag GmbH, Düsseldorf pp 100–272Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Davies CM, Ahn J, Tsunori M, Dye D, Nikbin KM (2015) The influence of pre-existing deformation on GMA welding distortion in thin steel plates. J Mater Eng Perform 24(1):261–273. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Dean SW, Croucher T (2009) Minimizing machining distortion in aluminum alloys through successful application of uphill quenching—a process overview. J ASTM Int 6(7):101770. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringImperial College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Science and Technology on Power Beam LaboratoryBeijing Aeronautical Manufacturing Technology Research InstituteBeijingChina
  3. 3.Helmholtz-Zentrum BerlinBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Rutherford Appleton LaboratoryISIS, Science and Technology Facilities CouncilDidcotUK

Personalised recommendations