A formulation is presented to calculate, in three dimensions, the important process parameters such as the voltage profiles, heat generation patterns and temperature profiles in the slag and metal phases for an electroslag welding system. It is shown that the current is significantly larger for the electroslag welding process than that of the electroslag refining process operating with equivalent slag, electrode and other geometrical variables. Calculations show that the heat generation patterns are highly sensitive to the geometrical location of the electrode in the slag and that a relatively minor error in the alignment of the electrode can cause a major asymmetry in the heat generation pattern. The temperature fields in the slag and the metal phases are calculated in three dimensions and the roles played by various factors on the heat balance are assessed. The computation accounts for the transport of heat from the slag to the metal phase by the liquid metal drops, the energy loss due to electrolysis and the energy required for the heating of the cold slag charge. Using the computed values of the weld rate the possible decrease in the heat input due to a) the decrease of the plate gap and b) the use of multiple electrodes is calculated. The values of heat input obtained from independent experiments are compared with model predictions. Possible effects of imposing an external magnetic field during the welding are examined.
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