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67th Annual Assembly & International Conference of the International Institute of Welding

13-18 July 2014, Seoul, Korea

A Study on Out-of-plane Welding Distortion Control Methods


for SA Butt Weld
Ha-Geun Kim1,a, Bong-Gook Kang1,b and Sang-Beom Shin1,c
1

Industrial Technology Institute, Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., Ulsan, South Korea
a

hageun@hhi.co.kr, bbeatjk@hhi.co.kr, cstr@hhi.co.kr

Abstract
The purpose of this study is to establish the control methods
for the out-of-plane distortion of SA butt welded thin plate
during manufacturing process. In this study, the control
methods are the mechanical tensioning method for the
buckling distortion and the simple restraint method for the
angular distortion. According to the experimental results,
when the weldment was stretched in the welding direction
by the mechanical tensioning method, the amount of the
buckling distortion was sharply reduced but the angular
distortion remains after welding. However, with the
tensioning and the simple restraint method simultaneously,
all out-of-plane distortions were almost perfectly controlled.
Keywords: Out-of-plane Welding Distortion, Mechanical
Tensioning, Simple Restraint, Distortion Control Method,
Buckling Distortion, SA Butt Welded Thin Plate

1. Introduction
In SA butt weld with thin plate, the excessive out-of-plane
distortion such as angular distortion and buckling distortion
during the manufacturing process was introduced the
problems on not only the production cost but also the
structural integrity. Especially, once the buckling distortion
occurred, it is very difficult to correct the buckling
distortion having the complicated distortion mode.
According to the results of recent studies, it was found that
principal process producing the excessive buckling
distortion at thin panel welded structure was mainly
attributed to the imperfection caused by butt welding of base
plate, which was the 1st welding process for constructing the
hull structure. It means that a proper control method for
buckling distortion in SA butt weld should be first settled to
control effectively the excessive welding distortion of thin
panel welded structure. However, although the amount of
angular distortion in SA butt weld is smaller than that of the
buckling distortion, it should be also controlled to reduce
correction cost.
The purpose of this study is to establish the control methods
for the out-of-plane distortion in SA butt weld of thin plate
during the manufacturing process. In this study, the

longitudinal stretch method and the simple restraint method


were adopted to control the buckling distortion and the
angular distortion in SA butt weld respectively. In order to
do it, the effect of tension load on longitudinal residual
stress was evaluated using 3 dimensional FEA. The
behavior characteristic of angular distortion during SA butt
welding was also evaluated by using STEM (Simplified The
rmo Elastic Method). With these results, the proper control
method of excessive out-of-plane welding distortion for SA
butt weld was established and verified by the application to
the actual SA butt weld.

2. The Control Method of Buckling Distortion


2.1. The Effect of Tension Load on the Residual Stress
and Strain
Analysis Model and Procedure
The uncoupled 3D thermo-mechanical FE model using
commercial FE code was employed to evaluate the effect of
tension load on the longitudinal residual stress of SA butt
weld. A moving heat source having the uniformly
distributed volume heat flux was adopted for the transient
heat transfer analysis [1]. Heat loss on all the surfaces of the
solution domain was assumed to be governed by natural
convection. The effective thermal conductivity was adopted
to prevent the maximum temperature over the vaporization
temperature in the molten zone of weld metal. The
temperature-dependent thermal properties were also
considered. Figure 1 shows the analysis model and mesh
design used for FEA. As shown in Figure 1, the half model
was simulated considering the symmetric conditions of
analysis model. To save analysis time, mesh design used for
3D FEA consisted of the 20 nodes brick element for butt
weld and 8 nodes shell element for base metal. Table 1
shows the analysis condition and variables used for FEA. As
shown in Table 1, the thickness of butt weld having heat
input of 190cal/mm is 4.5mm and its length was set to be
1,500mm considering the effect of the weld length on the
amount of longitudinal shrinkage force [2]. The applied
tension load corresponding to 0.0 ~ 8.0 times of the
longitudinal welding shrinkage force (SFw) is applied to
both end sides of the weld as shown in Figure 1 (a).

67th Annual Assembly & International Conference of the International Institute of Welding
13-18 July 2014, Seoul, Korea

Fixed

Tension Load

Max. 340MPa

Test Piece
W
Weld
L

(a) No tension load

(a) Analysis model

Max. 225MPa
Solid Element
Symmetric
Condition
Shell Element

(b) With tension load

Welding
process
SAW, SW101
electrode dia.
(1.6)

Dimensions
[WxLxt, mm]

Heat input
[cal/mm]

Tension load,
SFL [ton]

750x1,500x
4.5

190

0.0 ~
8.0xSFw

Analysis Results
Figure 2 shows the analysis results of temperature
distribution during welding and cooling. As shown in Figure
2, the maximum temperature of weld zone during welding is
1,619oC. When the plate has cooled down to room
temperature, the temperature is about 20 oC. Figure 3 shows
the distribution of longitudinal residual stress with or
without tension load of 1.5xSFw. As shown in Figure 3 the
amount of maximum residual stress with tension load
corresponding to 1.5xSFw decreased from 340MPa to
225MPa. The reduction ratio of maximum longitudinal
residual stress is about 33.8% with the tension load of
1.5xSFw.

Longitudinal Plastic Strain [x10E-3]

Table 1. Analysis condition and variables used for FEA

0.4
0.0
-0.4
-0.8
Welding Only
1.5xSFw: 18.5MPa
4.0xSFw: 48.5MPa
6.0xSFw: 73.0MPa
8.0xSFw: 97.5MPa

-1.2
-1.6
-2.0

0.0

20.0

40.0

60.0

80.0

100.0

Location from Weld Center [mm]

(a) Longitudinal plastic strain


400.0

Longitudinal Residual Stress [MPa]

(b) Mesh design used for FEA


Fig. 1 Analysis model used for the mechanical tensioning

Fig. 3 Longitudinal residual stress distribution without


tension and with tension load of 1.5xSFw

Welding Only
1.5xSFw: 18.5MPa
4.0xSFw: 48.5MPa
6.0xSFw: 73.0MPa
8.0xSFw: 97.5MPa

300.0
200.0
100.0
0.0
-100.0
-200.0

0.0

100.0

200.0

300.0

400.0

Location from Weld Center [mm]

(a) During welding

(b) After cooling


Fig. 2 Temperature distribution during welding and cooling

(b) Longitudinal residual stress


Fig. 4 Variations of the longitudinal plastic strain and
residual stress with various tension load
Figure 4 shows variations of the longitudinal plastic strain
and residual stress with tension load. As shown in Figure 4
(a), the longitudinal compressive strain inducing tensile
residual stress of the butt weld decreased with an increase in
tension load. The tensile residual stress at the butt weld also
sharply decreased with an increase in tension load as shown
in Figure 4 (b).

67th Annual Assembly & International Conference of the International Institute of Welding
13-18 July 2014, Seoul, Korea

Tension Load [MPa]


Reduction Ratio of Shrinkage Force

0.0
1.2

20.0

40.0

60.0

80.0

SW101, 1.6
100.0

120.0

1.0

0.8

Critical Buckling Load


0.6

(a) Welding process


SFL

0.4

Fixture

Weld Line

0.2

SFL
0.0
0.0

2.0

4.0

6.0

8.0

Strain Gague
Data Acquisition
System

10.0

SFL/SFw

Hydraulic
Pump

Fig. 5 Relationship between reduction ratio of longitudinal


shrinkage force and applied tension load

Experimental Method and Procedure


The welding test has been performed to verify the validity
of proper tension load and control method for the buckling
distortion of SA butt weld. Figure 6 shows the experimental
set-up. Table 2 shows the variables used for the experiment.
As shown in Figure 6 (a) and Table 2, the welding process,
heat input and dimensions of test specimen are the same as
those of FE analysis. In the tests regarding tensioning
method, one side edge of the test plate was fixed using
clamps, whereas the hydraulically controlled pulling
cylinder was attached to the opposite side of the weld. Here,
the cylinder has a maximum capacity of 10 tons.
Mechanically applied tension loading was controlled by
using the hydraulic pump as shown in Figure 6 (b). Strain
gauges were mounted at the pulling jacks and monitored by
data acquisition system to record axial strains during
welding and cooling.

Table 2. Variables used for experiment


Welding
process
SAW, SW101
electrode dia.
(1.6)

Heat input
[cal/mm]

750x1,500x
4.5, 6.0

380 ~ 500

Tension load,
SFL [ton]
0.0
1.0xSFw
1.5xSFw

1.0 x SFw
Strain Gage No.1
Strain Gage No.2
1.80

During Welding
After Welding

1.60

1.40

Gage No.1

1.20
0.0

400.0

800.0

1200.0

Gage No.2

1600.0

2000.0

Time [sec]

(a) 1.0xSFw
2.60

1.5 x SFw
Strain Gage No.1
Strain Gage No.2
2.40

During Welding

After Welding

2.20

2.00

Gage No.1
1.80
0.0

Experimental Results
Figure 7 shows the verification of the longitudinal strain
under the tension load of 1.0xSFw and 1.5xSFw during the

Dimensions
[WxLxt, mm]

2.00

Longitudinal Strain [x10E-4]

2.2. Validity of the Proper Tension Load

(b) Experimental set-up


Fig. 6 Welding process and experimental set-up

Longitudinal Strain [x10E-4]

Figure 5 shows the relationship between reduction ratio of


longitudinal shrinkage force and applied tension load. As
shown in Figure 5, according to the increase in the tension
load (SFL/SFw), the reduction ratio of longitudinal shrinkage
force inducing buckling distortion decreases. That is, if the
amount of tension load applied to the weld exceeds 1.5
times of longitudinal shrinkage force, the amount of
longitudinal residual stress decreased below the critical
value inducing the buckling distortion at the SA butt weld.
Based on the results, the proper tension load for controlling
the buckling distortion can be defined as 1.5 times of
longitudinal shrinkage force caused by welding [3]-[5]. It
corresponds to the tensile stress of 18.5MPa.

Tensioner
(Hydraulically Controlled Pulling Jack)

400.0

800.0

1200.0

Gage No.2

1600.0

2000.0

Time [sec]

(b) 1.5xSFw
Fig. 7 Verification of the longitudinal strain under the
tension load during the welding and cooling

67th Annual Assembly & International Conference of the International Institute of Welding
13-18 July 2014, Seoul, Korea

welding and cooling. Here, since the strain behavior of gage


No.1 is coincident with that of gage No. 2, it is confirmed
that the hydraulically controlled pulling load using 2
cylinders is uniformly applied to the test plate. According to
the measured result of strains under the tension load of
1.0xSFw, the longitudinal initial strain decreases by thermal
expansion of the weld zone during the welding. However
the strain continuously increases up to tensile strain during
the cool-down. Meanwhile, under the tension load of
1.5xSFw, the longitudinal strain after welding was almost
equal to the initial strain induced by the tension load. It
means that the longitudinal strain induced by SA butt
welding was almost perfectly controlled by 1.5xSFw.
Figure 8 shows the deformed shapes of the test plates with
or without tension and with tension load. Here, the
deformed shapes are obtained by 3 dimensional measuring
instrument. The deformed profiles were magnified with
10xvertical distortion. As shown in Figure 8, when the
weldment was stretched under the tension load of 1.0xSFw
in the longitudinal direction of welding line, the amount of
out-of-plane distortion decreased from 17.6mm to 11.0mm.
The reduction ratio of distortion is about 37.5%. However,
in the case of tension load with 1.5xSFw, the amount of outof-plane distortion decreased from 24.1mm to 2.0mm. The
reduction ratio is about 91.7%. From the results, a
tensioning method with 1.5xSFw can be used for controlling
the buckling welding distortion of SA butt weld.
No
tension
load
Max. 17.6mm

Table 3. Variables used for FEA


Model types
Heat
Symmetric

Non-symmetric

Test Piece

W
Weld
L

Weld
Test Piece

input

Dimensions
[WxLxt]

3,080x
8,800x
5.0mm

425
cal/mm

Analysis Results
Figure 9 shows comparison result of the angular distortion
between symmetric and non-symmetric model. In case of
non-symmetric model, excessive angular distortion of
45mm occurred at the free edge of 650mm away from the
weld line. But, the maximum angular distortion of
symmetric model was controlled below 4.5mm due to the
self-weight of the plate. However, the amount of angular
distortion in non-symmetric SA butt weld found in the free
edge exceeds about 25.4mm. The results indicate that the
angular distortion of SA butt weld having low self-restraint
should be controlled for the accuracy management. Figure
10 shows the deformed profile in non-symmetric SA butt
welds with or without restraint method. As shown in Figure
10, excessive angular distortion of 25.4mm in as-welded
state decreased to 5.4mm by applying simple restraint to the
free edge of non-symmetric model. It means that simple
restraint method is an effective method for the control of
excessive angular distortion at SA butt weld plate with nonsymmetric shape.

Max. 24.1mm

x
With
tension
load
Max. 11.0mm

(a) 1.0xSFw
Plate thickness: 6.0mm

Max. 2.0mm

(b) 1.5xSFw
Plate thickness: 4.5mm

Fig. 8 Deformed shape of the test plate after welding


without tension and with tension load.

Max. 4.5mm

(a) Symmetric
Z

3. The Control Method of Angular Distortion


Analysis Model and Procedure
In order to evaluate the behavior characteristic of angular
distortion in SA butt weld, 2 types of FE model were
selected as shown in Table 3. One is symmetric model and
the other is non-symmetric model with respect to butt weld
line. The distortion of analysis model was evaluated by
STEM (Simplified Thermo Elastic Method) [6][7], which is
one of the simplified FE approaches based on inherent strain
of weldment.

Max. 25.4mm

(b) Non-symmetric
Fig. 9 Comparison result of angular distortion between
symmetric and non-symmetric model.

67th Annual Assembly & International Conference of the International Institute of Welding
13-18 July 2014, Seoul, Korea

W/O Simple Restraint


With Simple Restraint
30.0

Angular Distortion [mm]

Dimensions and
schematic shape
[WxLxt, mm]

Max. 25.4mm

x
20.0

Location

2,600x
5,000x
4.5

Test Piece
W
Weld
L

Fig. 11 Experimental conditions and dimensions for


symmetric model

10.0

Max. 5.2mm

0.0
.

0.0

500.0

1000.0

1500.0

2000.0

2500.0

3000.0

Location [mm]

Fig. 10 Comparison result of deformed shapes of nonsymmetric with or without simple restraint

Figure 12 shows the changes of longitudinal strain ratio of


SA butt weld with tension load of 1.5xSFw. Here, the
longitudinal strain ratio is the ratio of the measured strain
compared to the strain caused by the tension load. As shown
in Figure 12, the longitudinal strain ratio decreases due to
thermal strain of the weld zone during the welding. While
the weld contracts after welding, the longitudinal strain ratio
was lower than the strain induced by the initial tension load..

4. Application of the Control Methods for the


Actual Panels

With Tension Load


Backing Pass
Finishing Pass

1.04

Longitudinal Strain Ratio

In order to verify the control methods for the out-of-plane


distortion in the actual SA butt weld, the actual thin panels
with 4.5mm and 5.0mm thickness were used for the
experiment. The control methods are the mechanical
tensioning method for the buckling distortion and the simple
restraint method for the angular distortion, respectively. In
the tests, 2 types of test model were selected. One is
symmetric model and the other is non-symmetric model
with respect to butt weld line. As reference in the test,
mechanical tensioning load is fixed as 1.5 times of
longitudinal shrinkage force caused by SA butt welding.

1.06

1.02
1.00
0.98
0.96
0.94

Strain Gage
During Welding

After Welding

0.92
0.0

1000.0

2000.0

3000.0

Time [sec]

Fig. 12 Changes of the longitudinal strain ratio of SA butt


weld with tension load of 1.5xSFw

4.1. Case 1: Symmetric Model


Figure 11 shows experimental conditions and dimensions of
actual panel with symmetric shape. Here, the tension load
used for the mechanical tensioning method is about 20.6tons.

Mechanical
tensioning method:
buckling distortion
control

(a)Without tension load

SFL

Welding process
and heat input
Loading
conditions

SAW, SW101 electrode dia. (1.6),

380cal/mm
No tension,
With tension of 20.6tons (1.5xSFw)

(b) With tension load


Fig. 13 Deformed shapes of actual plates with or without
tension load.
Figure 13 shows deformed shapes of actual plates with or
without tension load. While the deformed shape of actual

67th Annual Assembly & International Conference of the International Institute of Welding
13-18 July 2014, Seoul, Korea

plate without tension load is the buckling distortion having


2.5 waves, the deformed shapes under tension load of
1.5xSFw were not found as shown in figure 13 (b). These
results indicate that the mechanical tensioning method of
1.5xSFw is effective to control the buckling welding
distortion in SA butt weld of thin plate.
(a) Without tension load

4.2. Case 2: Non-symmetric Model


Figure 14 shows experimental conditions for actual panel
with non-symmetric shape. Here, distortion control methods
applied to this test model are the mechanical tensioning
method for buckling distortion and the simple restraint
method for angular distortion. The tension load used for the
mechanical tensioning method is about 31.7tons and the
vertical displacement at a free edge of 800mm width from
weld line was restrained using temporary piece as shown in
Figure 14.
Mechanical tension method:
buckling distortion control

Max. 50mm

Max. 45mm

(b) With only tension load

Simple restraint method:


angular distortion control
Max. 5mm

SFL

(c) With tension load and simple restraint


Fig. 15 Deformed shapes of actual SA butt weld with
distortion control methods.
Welding process
and heat input
Loading
conditions
Dimensions and
schematic shape
[WxLxt, mm]

SAW, SW101 electrode dia. (1.6),

426cal/mm
No tension,
With tension of 31.7tons (1.5xSFw),
With tension load and simple restraint
3,300x
5,650x
5.0

Weld
Test Piece
L

Fig. 14 Experimental conditions of non-symmetric model


Figure 15 shows deformed shapes of actual SA butt weld
with distortion control methods. As shown in Figure 15 (a)
and (b), when the weldment was only stretched in the
welding direction by the mechanical tensioning method, the
amount of the buckling distortion was sharply reduced but
the angular distortion remains after welding. That is, the
angular distortion of actual model with only tension load is
about maximum 45mm at a free edge of 800mm width from
weld line. However, with the tensioning method and the
simple restraint method applied simultaneously, excessive
out-of-plane distortion was almost perfectly controlled
below 5.0mm as shown in Figure 15 (c). From the results, it
can be concluded that out-of-plane welding distortion in SA

butt weld of thin plate can be effectively controlled by


applying both the tensioning method and the simple restraint
method together.

5. Conclusions
In order to establish the control methods for the excessive
out-of-plane distortion in SA butt weld of thin plate, the
extensive FEA and experiments have been performed. The
main results are summarized as follows.
1. According to the FEA results, the tensile residual stress at
the butt weld sharply decreased with an increase in tension
load. Therefore, when the amount of tension load exceeding
1.5 times of longitudinal welding shrinkage force is applied
to the weld, the amount of longitudinal residual stress
decreased below the critical value inducing the buckling
distortion at the SA butt weld.
2. According to the experimental results, when the
weldment was stretched in the welding direction by the
mechanical tensioning method, the amount of the buckling
distortion was sharply reduced but the angular distortion
remains after welding. However, with the tensioning method
and the simple restraint method applied simultaneously, the
excessive out-of-plane welding distortion was almost

67th Annual Assembly & International Conference of the International Institute of Welding
13-18 July 2014, Seoul, Korea

perfectly controlled.

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