It has been recognized that the elastic finite element method based on inherent strain theory is an effective tool to estimate the total welding deformation of large and complex welded structures. When this computational approach is employed to predict welding deformation in a welded structure, one prerequisite is that the inherent deformation of each welded joint should be known beforehand. The inverse analysis method based on the combination of measuring technology and finite element method has been proposed to obtain the inherent deformations for various welded joints. However, if buckling distortion occurs in a welded joint, it will be difficult for this method to accurately obtain the inherent deformation especially in thin-plate joints. To overcome this difficulty, an improved inverse analysis method with the help of cutting technique was developed in the current study. The effectiveness of the proposed method was demonstrated through obtaining the inherent deformations in an Al-alloy thin-plate joint with buckling distortion.

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