Improvements of hybrid laser arc welding for shipbuilding T-joints with 2F position of 8 mm thick steel
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DepartmentCiencia de los Materiales e Ingeniería Metalúrgica y Química Inorgánica
SourceOptics & Laser Technology 143 (2021) 107284
One of the main concerns in the early stages of manufacturing flat units of shipbuilding is to ensure the quality of the joints throughout the structure. The flat units are constituted by butt welded flat plates, on which longitudinal T-welded reinforcements are placed to rigidize the structure. Among the different welding technologies, Hybrid Laser Arc Welding (HLAW) is becoming a mature process, profitable and highly productive. In addition, more innovative welding equipment are being developed nowadays, offering greater work flexibility, and raising expectations of achieving better quality, and economic viability. Another key point of HLAW to keep in mind is that structural distortions are reduced, resulting in decreasing the cost and time of straightening work. In the present contribution, the influence of HLAW parameters on the quality of fillet joints of naval steel has been analysed. Experimental HLAW tests were performed with a high power disk laser to join EH36 naval steel plates, with a T configuration. The influence of different processing parameters has been analysed, as the laser power, welding speed, wire feed rate and the configuration of the HLAW processes (including head angle and laser/arc leading process). In addition, FEM simulations were carried out in order to estimate residual stresses and distortion of welded part. The distortion values provided by FEM presented excellent agreement with the measured experimental results. To evaluate the welds, non destructive tests including X-ray tests, metallographic analysis of cross sections, and microhardness mapping tests were performed. Full penetration 8 mm T welds were obtained for the first time at an industrially applicable 2F position with a reasonable HLAW head angle, in one single step without sealing root, and using zero gap square groove edge preparation. The present contribution presents welding rates up to 2.2 m/min for 2F T-joints of this steel thickness, a much higher processing velocity than previously reported for industrial applications.