Analysis of residual stresses and distortions resulting from multi-pass welding of nozzles to cylindrical pressure vessels.
The purpose of the present study is to obtain insight into the formation, behaviour and magnitude of welding-induced residual stresses and distortions resulting from welding nozzles onto cylindrical pressure vessels. A hybrid methodology that comprises numerical analysis, experimental measurements and empirical calculations is used in the present study. The welding process induces a high thermal gradient on the material due to non-uniform temperature distribution; thereby causing the portion of the material that is exposed to high temperatures to expand. However, the relatively cooler material portion that is away from the weld pool resists such expansion, thereby subjecting the structure to stresses and distortions around the fusion zone (FZ) and the heat-affected zone (HAZ). Over the last two decades a number of studies have been done in an effort to predict the effect of welding-induced residual stresses on the integrity of welded structures. However, to this end, such studies have focussed on analysing residual stresses on bead-on-plate, plate-to-plate and [to a less extent] on pipe-to-pipe weld joints. Fewer studies have looked at nozzle-cylinder joints of pressure vessels as is the case in this study. The second chapter gives a detailed review of applicable literature. The constitutive model described in the third chapter includes a two-phase sequentially-coupled thermo-mechanical analysis, which incorporates metallurgical effects. The non-linear transient problem is solved using an axisymmetric 2D model with ‘element birth’ technique, developed on ABAQUS. The first phase comprises the thermal analysis based on Goldak’s moving heat source model that is used to determine temperature histories. The second phase is a sequel stress/strain analysis wherein the temperature fields are used as input loads. The results discussed in chapters three and four show that there is a high concentration of residual stresses close to the weld centre-line, and these die down as distance away from centre-line increases. It is also shown that the inside surface is under tensile stresses, while the outer surface is under compressive stress, whose magnitude approaches yield strength of the material. Axial deflections of up to 0.384mm and radial shrinkage of 0.0237mm are observed. Distortion decreases as distance away from weld centre-line increases. Minimum axial shrinkage, which is close to zero, is observed at the restrained end. The analytical results show adequate corroboration and agreement with the experimental measurements. A number of mitigation techniques are suggested in order to alleviate the impact of residual stress and distortions on fatigue performance of welded structures.