Welding and joining technology is fundamental to offshore engineering. The construction of engineering facilities and pipelines requires the extensive use of welding and associated structural integrity assessments of safety critical or heavily loaded sections. Proof of integrity is based upon the externally applied loads and in service stresses as well as the welding residual stresses. The level and distribution of residual stresses arises from the complex thermo-mechanical history of heat flow and thermal expansion at very high temperatures during welding, so it has not been possible to make very accurate assessments of these in the same way that service stresses can be defined. Conservative assumptions are therefore made and this often means that the as-welded stresses are assumed to be of yield magnitude. The peak values of stress may well be very high, but the shrinkage of the latter passes of multi-pass welds may compress earlier passes giving rise to much lower levels of stress. There is considerable engineering interest in the utilisation of lower levels of residual stress where they exist or of the design of welds with lower residual stresses in sensitive areas such as the weld root. Currently there is no single technique that can claim to provide cost effective, accurate distributions of residual stresses in welds. The current paper provides an important contribution to the understanding of measurement and prediction techniques. It describes an extensive set of measurements taken on a girth butt weld. The weld was made using submerged arc and was made in 18 passes. The pipe was X52 with a 32mm wall thickness and 910mm outside diameter. Temperature, strain and displacement values were measured throughout the production of the weld. The intermediate values between each pass were recorded as well as the time varying history during the production of individual passes. The final through thickness residual stress distribution was measured. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) modelling was undertaken to determine whether modelling could provide a satisfactory prediction of the final residual stresses. Intermediate results were also used to understand the behaviour of the weld and the model more clearly. The modelling used material properties measured on material from a separate specimen. The weld cross section was identified for each pass so that the heat input method could be developed to represent the actual melt pool conditions of the weld. The measured values of hoop residual stress were up to the yield stress magnitude just below the cap, but were 20% of yield in the root of the weld. The axial residual stresses were less than 50% of yield. Linear kinematic hardening provided the most accurate prediction of residual stress. The hoop stresses were predicted to an accuracy of 10% with this material model. Other hardening models were less accurate, but all models were conservative. The results provide a basis for the adoption of more accurate distributions of residual stresses in Engineering Critical Assessments (ECAs) and assessments of weld performance under fatigue and corrosive conditions.

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