This paper reports on numerical and experimental investigations involving examination of the effects of an interfacial gap in the range of 0–0.3 mm on keyhole and molten pool dynamics. A numerical model was developed to investigate the three-dimensional transient dynamics of the keyhole in lap welding processes with an interface gap. The model was able to reliably predict the weld profile. In addition, the modeling results provided detailed information regarding the interaction between the molten pool and the solid/liquid boundary that led to the extended weld width. Experimentally, AISI 304 stainless steel was joined in a lap welding configuration using an IPG YLR-1000 fiber laser. The tensile shear and T-peel testing of the lap joints showed that adding an adequate amount of interface gap improves weld strength.

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