Residual stresses are invariably associated with welded joints because of local dilation/contraction of material against itself as well as clamp-imposed restraints. Plate thickness provides considerable self-restraint in the case of heavy section welded joints produced by laser and electron beam welding processes and therefore, is expected to affect the relative magnitudes of the three orthogonal direct components of residual stress — longitudinal, normal and transverse to the welding direction. Computation of residual stress in high energy beam welded 9Cr-1Mo(V, Nb) steel plates, of varying thickness in the 5 mm to 80 mm range, has been carried out using finite element based software, SYSWELD, for a systematic study of the effect of the joint thickness on the relative magnitude of the three orthogonal components of stress. The results show that the distributions of residual stress components can be ranked in order of significance in the order: longitudinal, normal and then transverse. The longitudinal and the normal components of stress show similar cross-weld profiles. The magnitude of the normal component peak shows a direct correlation with the joint thickness and eventually exceeds that of the longitudinal component for an 80 mm thick joint. The results are discussed in the context of our previous residual stress measurements made by neutron diffraction on a thin section laser welded 9Cr-1Mo(V, Nb) steel plate.

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