Weld pool shape observation in high power laser beam welding
The geometry of the melt pool in laser beam welding plays a major role to understand the dynamics of the melt and its solidification behavior. In this study, a butt configuration of 15 mm thick structural steel and transparent quartz glass was used to observe the weld pool geometry by means of high-speed camera and an infrared camera recording. The observations show that the dimensions of the weld pool vary depending on the depth. The areas close to the weld pool surface take a teardrop-shape. A bulge-region and its temporal evolution were observed approximately in the middle of the depth of the weld pool. Additionally, a 3D transient thermal-fluid numerical simulation was performed to obtain the weld pool shape and to understand the formation mechanism of the observed bulging effect. The model takes into account the local temperature field, the effects of phase transition, thermo-capillary convection, natural convection and temperature-dependent material properties up to evaporation temperature. The numerical results showed good accordance and were furthermore used to improve the understanding of the experimentally observed bulging effect.