A good knowledge of the welding residual stress field and the corresponding distortion is needed when the interaction between manufacturing stresses and future (mechanical and/or thermal) design loads is studied, for example, with respect to possible crack initiation and growth in the HAZ, and also with respect to buckling. It is proposed here that a qualitatively good estimate of the welding residual stresses can be obtained by using FEM without following the temperature history during welding and cooling in detail. The procedure proposed is applied to two different problems: multi-pass butt welding of pipes, and spot welding of box beams. For the case of multi-pass butt welding of pipes, experimental results are available and a good agreement with these results is observed.

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