Spot welding is a very important joining process for many industries. Structural integrity of a spot welded joint is however compromised by the formation of residual stress fields, which arise due to the thermal loadings imposed on the material during this welding process. Experimental investigation of these effects is possible but often costly, especially in complex and large-scale applications. Computational models, through the application of advanced Finite Element Analysis (FEA) techniques, are hence of interest for the prediction, analysis and assessment of these effects. The computational modelling required to assess these effects is however relatively complex due to the interaction of thermal and structural solution fields. It follows that many decisions must be taken with regards to the modelling technique to adopt in these scenarios.
This work presents a modelling technique for the prediction of spot welding induced residual stresses, validated with experimental measurements for the temperature and residual stress fields. The simulations, carried out in ANSYS, are aimed at using a general-purpose solver to predict residual stresses whilst the validation is carried out through transient thermocouple measurements and residual stress measurements done using the hole drilling method. Comparison of experimental and FEA model results highlight which parts and assumptions of the computational model are to be considered valid and hence its boundary for use in industry.