The implementation of a semi-empirical solid-state phase transformation subroutine in the ABAQUS finite element package is presented to predict the influence of transformation strain on the post-weld residual stress field in ferritic steels. The phase transformation subroutine has been outlined in a previous study (PVP2011-57426), where it was proven accurate in predicting the phase compositions in the fusion and heat affected zone (HAZ) of an autogenous TIG beam weld in SA508 Gr.3 Cl.1 steel.

While previous work focused on predictions of the steady-state material response using a 2D thermal model, the present analyses are 3D and capture the varying phase composition at weld start- and stop-ends. Predicted cooling rates at either end of the specimen are significantly higher, leading to a variation in the predicted microstructure along the weld line.

To better understand the structural changes that occur in ferritic steels during a conventional welding process, a representative model of SA508 Gr.3 Cl.1 steel is discussed. The contribution of thermal, metallurgical, and transformation-induced plastic strain is highlighted in this example, providing insight to the key simulation variables necessary for accurate weld models of ferritic steels. Preliminary coupled thermo-mechanical analyses are presented that compare predicted residual stress distributions with those measured in SA508 Gr.3 Cl.1 beam welds via neutron diffraction; good agreement is observed.

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