Welded, thick-walled piping intersections are widely used in many engineering applications including the offshore and nuclear power industries. These components are often fabricated by multipass welding, which inevitably introduces undesirable residual stresses. In this paper, weld-induced residual stresses in a thick-walled piping intersection were predicted using a validated, full three dimensional, sequentially coupled thermomechanical finite element modeling technique. The moving heat source was simulated by imposing body heat flux onto the newly activated elements progressing along the circumferential weld path around the intersection during each pass. The effect of cooling rate on the final residual stress state, especially at critical areas where the peak residual stresses are located, was then investigated by applying different convective heat transfer coefficients to the exposed piping intersection surfaces. It was found that the magnitudes and overall spatial distributions of residual stresses were very sensitive to cooling rate. Residual stresses on the outer surfaces of the component can be significantly reduced by external cooling. On the other hand, cooling the inner surfaces can dramatically convert residual stresses from tensile to compressive in these regions. The results and modeling technique presented in this paper show that residual stress profiles in multipass welded complex geometries can be efficiently optimized through convenient cooling rate control.

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