The integrity of structures in nuclear power plants has to be assessed to meet given safety criteria. For a better understanding of the in-service loads in welded areas of PWRs components, the residual stresses resulting from the welding process have to be estimated. For that purpose, numerical simulations of welding have proved efficient but still require some improvement in terms of computation time reduction to be widely used in an industrial context.

This paper focuses on the residual stress fields in a double V butt weld on a steam generator divider plate. To set a reference, a 2D simulation of multi-pass welding was performed taking into account the whole non-linear thermo-mechanical history. Two simplified method were then carried out to estimate the residual stress field. The first method consists of modeling macro-beads by merging passes together. The second considers only a reduced number of appropriately selected passes in the analysis. Both methods are confronted to the full multi-pass simulation, set as a reference simulation, and their respective efficiency and robustness are discussed.

The main feature of this work, the RNP method, based on a reduced number of appropriately selected passes, gives a good reproduction of the stress fields and strongly reduce the computation time. A significant improvement is observed: CPU time is divided by 10 times with this predictive method.

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