The use of high-power density laser beam for welding of many important alloys often leads to appreciable changes in the composition and properties of the weld metal. The main difficulties in the estimation of laser-induced vaporization rates and the resulting composition changes are the determination of the vapor condensation rates and the incorporation of the effect of the welding plasma in suppressing vaporization rates. In this article, a model is presented to predict the weld metal composition change during laser welding. The velocity and temperature fields in the weld pool are simulated through numerical solution of the Navier-Stokes equation and the equation of conservation of energy. The computed temperature fields are coupled with ve-locity distribution functions of the vapor molecules and the equations of conservation of mass, momentum, and the translational kinetic energy in the gas phase for the calculation of the evap-oration and the condensation rates. Results of carefully controlled physical modeling experi-ments are utilized to include the effect of plasma on the metal vaporization rate. The predicted area of cross section and the rates of vaporization are then used to compute the resulting com-position change. The calculated vaporization rates and the weld metal composition change for the welding of high-manganese 201 stainless steels are found to be in fair agreement with the corresponding experimental results.
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