Modelling of Electric Arc Welding : arc-electrode coupling

Abstract: Arc welding still requires deeper process understanding and more accurateprediction of the heat transferred to the base metal. This can be provided by CFD modelling.Most works done to model arc discharge using CFD consider the arc corealone. Arc core simulation requires applying extrapolated experimental data asboundary conditions on the electrodes. This limits the applicability. To become independent of experimental input the electrodes need to be included in the arcmodel. The most critical part is then the interface layer between the electrodesand the arc core. This interface is complex and non-uniform, with specific physicalphenomena.The present work reviews the concepts of plasma and arc discharges that areuseful for this problem. The main sub-regions of the model are described, andtheir dominant physical roles are discussed.The coupled arc-electrode model is developed in different steps. First couplingsolid and fluid regions for a simpler problem without complex couplinginterface. This is applied to a laser welding problem using the CFD softwareOpenFOAM. The second step is the modelling of the interface layer betweencathode and arc, or cathode layer. Different modelling approaches available inthe literature are studied to determine their advantages and drawbacks. One ofthem developed by Cayla is used and further improved so as to satisfy the basicprinciples of charge and energy conservation in the different regions of thecathode layer. A numerical procedure is presented. The model, implementedin MATLAB, is tested for different arc core and cathode conditions. The maincharacteristics calculated with the interface layer model are in good agreementwith the reference literature. The future step will be the implementation of theinterface layer model in OpenFOAM.

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