Practical Numerical Simulation of Laser Welding for Industrial Use

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Laser welding provides manufacturers unique processing options not available with other metal joining techniques. Extremely high energy densities available with modern solid state lasers allow for precisely controlled welds to be formed in thin sections where traditional methods, such as TiG, are simply too crude. Laser welding is a complex process governed by the system design and its parameters. Parameters are typically developed experimentally, where significant time and cost are incurred, especially if using exotic materials or expensive sub-assemblies.

Simulation, with limited experimental validation, can substantially reduce the time and cost required to define a new welding process. STAR-CCM+® has the unique ability to simulate the welding process and provide insight into the thermal transient experienced during welding in a manner that is both practical and fast enough for industrial use. An implicit unsteady simulation with a moving overset mesh permits the prediction of the extent of the molten zone as it progresses along the joint, temperatures in the work piece, and heat transfer to the fixture. Parameters such as laser power, travel speed, acceleration, and pulse frequency can be tuned to provide the desired optimal weld.

Author Company: 
Owens Corning
Author Name: 
Byron Bemis