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International Journal of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Abstract

Electric resistance spot welding has been extensively used for many years in the automotive and aerospace industry for joining body sheet components. Compared to other welding processes such as arc welding process, resistance spot welding is fast, easily automated and easily maintained. Accurate thermal analysis of spot welding electrode could permit critical design parameters to be identified for improved electrode life. It is a complex process where coupled interactions exist between electrical, thermal and mechanical phenomena. On the other hand, finite element method (FEM), which can deal with nonlinear behaviors and complex boundary conditions, provides a powerful tool for studying these interactions and has become the most important method for the analysis of resistance spot welding. In this study, a 2-D finite element model has been developed to predict the transient thermal behavior of spot welding electrodes. The model included heat transfer analysis, electrical field analysis and phase change during melting or solidification and temperature dependant material properties, and also their inter-dependence. The contacts at faying surface and at electrode – work interface, with temperature dependant contact resistances were modeled. Three types of electrode shapes – flat, pointed and dome nose were analyzed. Temperature distribution on each electrode shape was obtained from the finite element analysis. Maximum temperature of 2876 ºC was observed in dome nose electrode in 0.2 seconds of welding time. Dome nose electrode requires a minimum weld time of all the other electrode shapes to get the required nugget size, resulting in the least power consumption. Nugget size was predicted for each electrode shape. Experimental results obtained were in good agreement with the finite element analysis results.

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