A convective heat-transfer model for partial and full penetration keyhole mode laser welding of a structural steel

R. Rai, S. M. Kelly, R. P. Martukanitz, T. DebRoy

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104 Scopus citations


In the keyhole mode laser welding of many important engineering alloys such as structural steels, convective heat transport in the weld pool significantly affects temperature fields, cooling rates, and solidification characteristics of welds. Here we present a comprehensive model for understanding these important weld parameters by combining an efficient keyhole model with convective three-dimensional (3-D) heat-transfer calculations in the weld pool for both partial and full penetration laser welds. A modified turbulence model based on Prandtl's mixing length hypotheses is included to account for the enhanced heat and mass transfer due to turbulence in the weld pool by calculating spatially variable effective values of viscosity and thermal conductivity. The model has been applied to understand experimental results of both partial and full penetration welds of A131 structural steel for a wide range of welding speeds and input laser powers. The experimentally determined shapes of the partial and full penetration keyhole mode laser welds, the temperature profiles, and the solidification profiles are examined using computed results from the model. Convective heat transfer was the main mechanism of heat transfer in the weld pool and affected the weld pool geometry for A131 steel. Calculation of solidification parameters at the trailing edge of the weld pool showed nonplanar solidification with a tendency to become more dendritic with increase in laser power. Free surface calculation showed formation of a hump at the bottom surface of the full penetration weld. The weld microstructure becomes coarser as the heat input per unit length is increased, by either increasing laser power or decreasing welding velocity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-112
Number of pages15
JournalMetallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Metals and Alloys


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