Residual stress estimation in structural integrity procedures plays an important role during the fitness-for-service (FFS) assessment of girth welds. Various FFS codes and standards, such as API 579 and BS 7910, recommend predetermined residual stress profiles based on finite element modeling (FEM) coupled with experimental results. Nonlinearity associated with non-uniform temperature gradients’ distribution during welding can develop residual stress up to the yield strength of the material, in weld shrinkage and plastic zones. Plastic zone size, shape, and locations are critically important in reducing or controlling final distortions, decreasing the residual stress according to length scale, and defining the optimum sequence of the welding process. However, in practice, estimation of finally developed residual stresses is used in structural integrity procedures for determining the FFS of welded joints. Various FEM models employed in its assessment require large computational time in solving the complex thermo-mechanical phenomenon involved in the welding process. Shrinkage strain models have been found to be fast and effective in determining final residual stresses, once the size, location and shape of the plastic zone can be predetermined. This manuscript demonstrates a comparison between the shrinkage strain method and the moving heat source method, based on transient temperature development as a function of time. The results (or findings) reveal a high compromise between FEM thermo mechanical model and shrinkage strain method in determining final residual stresses with later consuming less computational time. The findings provide significantly important feedback to welded joints’ structural integrity assurance practitioners.

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