Arc welding is generally used to join thick metals in many engineering applications. However, poor penetration often occurs due to arc heat diffusion into the base metal. Hence, arc welding of thick metals normally requires grooving and/or preheating of the base metal and sometimes requires multiple passes for very thick metals or metals with high conductivity, such as aluminum alloys. In gas metal arc welding of thick metals with grooves and preheating, complicated melt flow and heat transfer are caused by the combined effect of droplet impingement, gravity, electromagnetic force, surface tension, and plasma arc pressure. Understanding these complicated transport phenomena involved in the welding process is critical in improving the penetration depth and weld quality. In this study, mathematical models and associated numerical techniques have been developed to study the effects of grooves and preheating on melt flow, diffusion of species, and weld penetration in gas metal arc welding of thick metals. Complex melt flow, transient weld pool shape and distributions of temperature and species in the weld pool are calculated. The continuum formation is adopted to handle liquid region, mushy zone and solid region. VOF technique is used to handle transient deformed shape of weld pool surface. The preliminary results show both grooves and preheating have important effects on the melt flow in weld pool and the weld penetration. Computer animations showing the evolutions of temperature; melt flow; and the interaction between droplets and weld pool will be presented.

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