The inherent complexity of modelling welding processes and the lack of computational power available to analysts has resulted in simplified methods being commonly utilised when predicting residual stresses. Despite considerable advances in computational power, it is still often not possible to run detailed 3D analyses of complex welded geometries within practical timescales. Against this background, a programme of work has been undertaken to develop a weld modelling procedure which can be followed by analysts. This procedure will account for how various modelling simplifications affect the predicted values of residual stress. One common geometry, which it is often necessary to analyse using modelling simplifications is that of a thin-walled pipe butt weld. Typically this geometry is simulated using a 2D axisymmetric analysis. Despite the popularity of this modelling simplification the effects of its use are not fully understood. In order to feed into this procedure, work has therefore been conducted to better understand the effects modelling simplifications will have on the residual stress levels that are predicted when simulating multi-pass pipe butt welds. The geometry considered in this study is the thin walled austenitic pipe butt weld specimen originally studied in VORSAC 5th Framework European Union project. This paper presents the results of a number of finite element analyses conducted of this geometry. These analyses have been conducted using a combination of the finite element codes SYSWELD and ABAQUS. The aim of this study was to understand the effect that the use of 2D axisymmetric analyses, and other modelling simplifications, namely block dumping and bead lumping will have on the predicted values of residual stress.

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