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Scientists' three-year dataset to improve welding simulations.

Data collected by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) over the past three years is now being used to improve laser welding simulations, which could lead to a better understanding of the process in industry.

Simulations enable manufacturers to obtain a better understanding of a process by helping them predict what kinds of results can be expected when using different materials and parameters.

To make such computer models however, data is needed from past experiments. Currently, that data is spread across hundreds of studies, representing decades of work from dozens of laboratories. Piecing this information together requires introducing a lot of what NIST physicist Brian Simonds calls 'fudge factors'.

'Modellers look through all these resources from different labs for different materials, and they kludge them together in a way that they think is most applicable to their experiment,' he said. 'And they say, "It's close enough". But they don't really know.'

Therefore the NIST team is attempting to build a much firmer foundation for a model, using data they say is more accurate and comprehensive than any previously collected. The data, collected over three years, encompasses everything a welding simulator would need--the amount of power hitting the metal, the amount of energy the metal is absorbing, and the amount of material evaporating from the metal as it is heated, all in real time.

The information is now starting to be used by computer modelers to improve simulations of laser welding processes 'Our results are now mature enough to where academic researchers are starting to use our data to thoroughly test their computer models in a way that they just haven't been able to do before, because this kind of data hasn't been available,' confirmed Simonds.

The researchers believe the ultimate goal for industry is that if a manufacturer has an idea about something they want to make, they can input that information into a computer which can then tell them exactly how to make it.

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Publication:Laser Systems Europe
Date:Jun 22, 2019
Words:329
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