Comparison of a fluid and a solid approach for the numerical simulation of friction stir welding with a non-cylindrical Pin
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Friction stir welding (FSW) process is a solid-state joining process during which materials to be joined are not melted. As a consequence, the heat-affected zone is smaller and the quality of the weld is better with respect to more classical welding processes. Because of extremely high strains in the neighborhood of the tool, classical numerical simulation techniques have to be extended in order to track the correct material deformations. The Arbitrary Lagrangian–Eulerian (ALE) formulation is used to preserve a good mesh quality throughout the computation. With this formulation, the mesh displacement is independent from the material displacement. Moreover, some advanced numerical techniques such as remeshing or a special computation of transition interface is needed to take into account non-cylindrical tools. During the FSW process, the behavior of the material in the neighborhood of the tool is at the interface between solid mechanics and fluid mechanics. Consequently, a numerical model of the FSW process based on a solid formulation is compared to another one based on a fluid formulation. It is shown that these two formulations essentially deliver the same results in terms of pressures and temperatures.
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