Published in Finite Elements in Analysis and Design Vol. 121, pp. 118–133, 2016
Electron Beam Welding (EBW) is a highly efficient and precise welding method increasingly used within the manufacturing chain and of growing importance in different industrial environments such as the aeronautical and aerospace sectors. This is because, compared to other welding processes, EBW induces lower distortions and residual stresses due to the lower and more focused heat input along the welding line.
This work describes the formulation adopted for the numerical simulation of the EBW process as well as the experimental work carried out to calibrate and validate it.
The numerical simulation of EBW involves the interaction of thermal, mechanical and metallurgical phenomena. For this reason, in this work the numerical framework couples the heat transfer process to the stress analysis to maximize accuracy. An in-house multi-physics FE software is used to deal with the numerical simulation. The definition of an ad hoc moving heat source is proposed to simulate the EB power surface distribution and the corresponding absorption within the work-piece thickness. Both heat conduction and heat radiation models are considered to dissipate the heat through the boundaries of the component. The material behavior is characterized by an apropos thermo-elasto-viscoplastic constitutive model. Titanium-alloy Ti6A14V is the target material of this work.
From the experimental side, the EB welding machine, the vacuum chamber characteristics and the corresponding operative setting are detailed. Finally, the available facilities to record the temperature evolution at different thermo-couple locations as well as to measure both distortions and residual stresses are described. Numerical results are compared with the experimental evidence.