The continued safe and reliable operation of plant invariably has to consider the assessment of defects in welded structural components. This often requires some estimate of the residual stresses that have developed during the welding fabrication process. Increases in the computational power available to finite element analysts have made the prediction of welding residual stresses using finite element methods an increasingly viable option. Consequently recent years have seen many advances in the field of residual stress modelling. However, relatively little work has been conducted on the accurate modelling of welded ferritic components. This is largely due to the added complications associated with the solid-state phase transformations that occur during the heating and cooling of such steels. Against this background, a programme of work has been undertaken in order to investigate the effects that phase transformations have on the development of residual stresses in ferritic components and develop methods for their simulation. To facilitate this, generic components of increasing complexity are being studied. Reported in this paper is the first phase of this programme which considers SA508 beam specimens. These specimens have been subjected to autogenous TIG welds using two different torch travel speeds. In order to predict the resultant residual stresses, simulations have been conducted using the commercial finite element package SYSWELD. These predicted stresses are then compared with residual stress measurements conducted using the neutron diffraction technique.

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