Most previous three-dimensional modeling work in gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) and gas metal arc welding (GMAW) focuses on the weld pool. Almost all three-dimensional weld pool models are based on the two-dimensional axisymmetric Gaussian assumption of plasma arc pressure and heat flux. In this paper the three-dimensional plasma arc is modeled and results are presented. The velocity, pressure, temperature, current density, and magnetic field of the plasma arc are computed by solving the conservation equations of mass, momentum, and energy, as well as part of Maxwell's equations. This three-dimensional model allows one to study the non-axisymmetric plasma arc caused by external perturbations such as the external magnetic field. It also provides more accurate boundary conditions when modeling the welding pool. The future work is to unify it with the weld pool model and accomplish a complete three-dimensional model of GTAW and GMAW.

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