A single weld bead deposited on a flat plate is a deceptively simple problem that is, in practice, a significant challenge for both measurement and prediction of weld residual stresses. Task Group 1 of the NeT collaborative network has examined this problem in an extensive programme of measurement and simulation extending from 2002 to 2008. Thus, the NeT bead on plate forms an ideal benchmark problem for the development of weld residual stress simulation techniques. It is often difficult to separate the influence of different analysis variables in a large collaborative study such as NeT Task Group 1. This paper examines sensitivity to mesh design, element type, and heat source characteristics in a closely controlled study using several different mesh designs, element types (both tetrahedral and hexahedral), and heat sources, but the same material constitutive model and finite element analysis code. It complements a companion paper that varies material constitutive models. A dedicated heat source modelling tool with a semi-automatic interface to the ABAQUS finite element code has been used to vary the heat source characteristics, thus facilitating rapid and controlled sensitivity studies without the need for bespoke heat source coding within ABAQUS.

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