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Numerical assessment and experimental verification of the influence of the Hartmann effect in laser beam welding processes by steady magnetic fields

Bachmann, Marcel; Avilov, Vjaceslav; Gumenyuk, Andrey; Rethmeier, Michael

Controlling the dynamics in the weld pool is a highly demanding challenge in deep-penetration laser beam welding with modern high power laser systems in the multi kilowatt range. An approach to insert braking forces in the melt which is successfully used in large-scaled industrial applications like casting is the so-called Hartmann effect due to externally applied magnetic fields. Therefore, this study deals with its adaptation to a laser beam welding process of much smaller geometric and time scale. In this paper, the contactless mitigation of fluid dynamic processes in the melt by steady magnetic fields was investigated by numerical simulation for partial penetration welding of aluminium. Three-dimensional heat transfer, fluid dynamics including phase transition and electromagnetic field partial differential equations were solved based on temperature-dependent material properties up to evaporation temperature for two different penetration depths of the laser beam. The Marangoni convection in the surface region of the weld pool and the natural convection due to the gravitational forces were identified as main driving forces in the weld pool. Furthermore, the latent heat of solid–liquid phase transition was taken into account and the solidification was modelled by the Carman–Kozeny equation for porous medium morphology. The results show that a characteristic change of the flow pattern in the melt can be achieved by the applied steady magnetic fields depending on the ratio of magnetic induced and viscous drag. Consequently, the weld bead geometry was significantly influenced by the developing Lorentz forces. Welding experiments with a 16 kW disc laser with an applied magnetic flux density of around 500 mT support the numerical results by showing a dissipating effect on the weld pool dynamics.
Published in: International Journal of Thermal Sciences, 10.1016/j.ijthermalsci.2015.10.030, Elsevier