The control of welding processes has received much attention in the past decade, with most attention placed on real-time tracking of weld seams. The actual process control has been investigated primarily in the context of weld bead geometry regulation, ignoring for the most part the metallurgical properties of the weld. This paper addresses the latter problem through development of a model for in-process control of thermally activated material properties of weld. In particular, a causal model relating accessible inputs to the outputs of weld bead area, heat affected zone width, and centerline cooling rate at a critical temperature is developed. Since the thermal system is a distributed parameter, nonlinear one, it is modelled numerically to provide a baseline of simulation information. Experiments are performed that measure the thermal response of actual weldments and are used to calibrate the simulation and then to verify the basic dynamics predicted. Simulation results are then used to derive a locally linear transfer function matrix relating inputs and outputs. These are shown to be nonstationary, depending strongly upon the operating point and the boundary conditions.

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