Research Papers

Thermomechanical Modeling of Laser Spot Welded Solar Absorbers

[+] Author and Article Information
L. A. Spyrou

Centre for Research and Technology
Hellas (CERTH),
Institute for Research and Technology—Thessaly,
Volos 38333, Greece
e-mail: lspyrou@ireteth.certh.gr

N. Aravas

Fellow ASME
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Thessaly,
Volos 38334, Greece
International Institute for Carbon Neutral
Energy Research (WPI-I2CNER),
Kyushu University,
744 Moto-oka, Nishi-ku,
Fukuoka 819-0395, Japan
e-mail: aravas@mie.uth.gr

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MANUFACTURING SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING. Manuscript received March 14, 2014; final manuscript received July 30, 2014; published online November 26, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Wayne Cai.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 137(1), 011016 (Feb 01, 2015) (15 pages) Paper No: MANU-14-1117; doi: 10.1115/1.4028197 History: Received March 14, 2014; Revised July 30, 2014; Online November 26, 2014

A finite element (FE) approach is developed to investigate the laser spot welding (LSW) of flat-plate solar absorbers and the stress and distortion fields that develop after fabrication and during operation. Numerical calculations at two different levels are carried out. At a microscopic scale, the details of a spot weld are analyzed. At a macroscopic level, a global approach is used to simulate the joining of the pipeline to the absorber plate and the “restoration” (flattening) process of the absorber. The simulated welding-induced distortion is compared with experimental measurements. The thermomechanical behavior of a solar absorber under working conditions is also studied and operational stresses and the critical locations for structural failure are reported.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Kalogirou, S. A., 2004, “Solar Thermal Collectors and Applications,” Prog. Energy Combust., 30(3), pp. 231–295. [CrossRef]
Agnihotri, O. P., and Gupta, B. K., 1981, Solar Selective Surfaces, Wiley, New York.
Duffie, J. A., and Beckmann, W. A., 2006, Solar Engineering of Thermal Processes, Wiley, New York.
Dürr, U., Holtz, R., Jokiel, M., Liebers, R., and Lavoie, D., 2004, “Advanced Micro-Welding Strategies With Pulsed Nd:YAG Lasers,” Proceedings of 23rd International Congress on Applications of Laser and Electro-Optics (ICALEO’04), San Francisco, CA, Paper No: P109.
Schubert, E., Klassen, M., Zerner, I., Walz, C., and Sepold, G., 2001, “Light-Weight Structures Produced by Laser Beam Joining for Future Applications in Automobile and Aerospace Industry,” J. Mater. Process. Technol., 115(1), pp. 2–8. [CrossRef]
Mai, T. A., and Spowage, A. C., 2004, “Characterisation of Dissimilar Joints in Laser Welding of Steel-Kovar, Copper-Steel and Copper-Aluminium,” Mater. Sci. Eng. A, 374(1–2), pp. 224–233. [CrossRef]
Brandal, G., Satoh, G., Yao, Y. L., and Naveed, S., 2013, “Beneficial Interface Geometry for Laser Joining of NiTi to Stainless Steel Wires,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 135(6), p. 061006. [CrossRef]
Frewin, M. R., and Scott, D. A., 1999, “Finite Element Model of Pulsed Laser Welding,” Weld. J., 78(1), pp. 15s–22s.
Chang, W. S., and Na, S. J., 2001, “Prediction of Laser Spot Weld Shape by Numerical Analysis and Neural Network,” Metall. Mater. Trans. B, 32(4), pp. 723–731. [CrossRef]
De, A., Maiti, S. K., Walsh, C. A., and Bhadeshia, H. K. D. H., 2003, “Finite Element Simulation of Laser Spot Welding,” J. Sci. Technol. Weld. Joining, 8(5), pp. 377–384. [CrossRef]
Balasubramanian, K. R., Siva Shanmugam, N., Buvanashekaran, G., and Sankaranarayanasamy, K., 2008, “Numerical and Experimental Investigation of Laser Beam Welding of AISI 304 Stainless Steel Sheet,” Adv. Produc. Engineer. Manag., 3(2), pp. 93–105.
Sabbaghzadeh, J., Azizi, M., and Javad Torkamany, M., 2008, “Numerical and Experimental Investigation of Seam Welding With a Pulsed Laser,” Opt. Laser Technol., 40(2), pp. 289–296. [CrossRef]
Lee, D., and Kannatey-Asibu, E., 2008, “Numerical Analysis on the Feasibility of Laser Microwelding of Metals by Femtosecond Laser Pulses Using Abaqus,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 130(6), p. 061014. [CrossRef]
Lee, D., and Kannatey-Asibu, E., 2009, “Numerical Analysis of Ultrashort Pulse Laser-Material Interaction Using Abaqus,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 131(2), p. 021005. [CrossRef]
Shanmugam, N. S., Buvanashekaran, G., Sankaranarayanasamy, K., and Ramesh Kumar, S., 2010, “A Transient Finite Element Simulation of the Temperature and Bead Profiles of T-Joint Laser Welds,” J. Mater. Des., 31(9), pp. 4528–4542. [CrossRef]
Tan, W., Bailey, N. S., and Shin, Y. C., 2012, “Numerical Modeling of Transport Phenomena and Dendritic Growth in Laser Spot Conduction Welding of 304 Stainless Steel,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 134(4), p. 041010. [CrossRef]
Ma, C., Vadali, M., Duffie, N. A., Pfefferkorn, F. E., and Li, X., 2013, “Melt Pool Flow and Surface Evolution During Pulsed Laser Micro Polishing of Ti6Al4V,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 135(6), p. 061023. [CrossRef]
Sammons, P. M., Bristow, D. A., and Landers, R. G., 2013, “Height Dependent Laser Metal Deposition Process Modeling,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 135(5), p. 054501. [CrossRef]
Shi, B., and Attia, H., 2013, “Integrated Process of Laser-Assisted Machining and Laser Surface Heat Treatment,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 135(6), p. 061021. [CrossRef]
Xue, Z., Hu, S., Zuo, D., Cai, W., Lee, D., and Kannatey-Asibu, E., 2013, “Molten Pool Characterization of Laser Lap Welded Copper and Aluminum,” J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys., 46(49), p. 495501. [CrossRef]
Zhang, Y., Li, S., Chen, G., and Mazumder, J., 2013, “Experimental Observation and Simulation of Keyhole Dynamics During Laser Drilling,” Opt. Laser Technol., 48, pp. 405–414. [CrossRef]
Mazar Atabaki, M., Nikodinovski, M., Chenier, P., Ma, J., Liu, W., and Kovacevic, R., 2014, “Experimental and Numerical Investigations of Hybrid Laser Arc Welding of Aluminum Alloys in the Thick T-Joint Configuration,” Opt. Laser Technol., 59, pp. 68–92. [CrossRef]
Kang, D.-H., Son, K.-J., and Yang, Y.-S., 2001, “Analysis of Laser Weldment Distortion in the EDFA LD Pump Packaging,” Finite Elem. Anal. Des., 37(9), pp. 749–760. [CrossRef]
Tsirkas, S. A., Papanikos, P., and Kermanidis, Th., 2003, “Numerical Simulation of the Laser Welding Process in Butt-Joint Specimens,” J. Mater. Process. Technol., 134(1), pp. 59–69. [CrossRef]
Darcourt, C., Roelandt, J. M., Rachik, M., Deloison, D., and Journet, B., 2004, “Thermomechanical Analysis Applied to the Laser Beam Welding Simulation of Aeronautical Structures,” J. Phys. IV, 120, pp. 785–792. [CrossRef]
Spina, R., Tricarico, L., Basile, G., and Sibillano, T., 2007, “Thermo-Mechanical Modeling of Laser Welding of AA5083 Sheets,” J. Mater. Process. Technol., 191(1–3), pp. 215–219. [CrossRef]
Moraitis, G. A., and Labeas, G. N., 2008, “Residual Stress and Distortion Calculation of Laser Beam Welding for Aluminum Lap Joints,” J. Mater. Process. Technol., 198(1–3), pp. 260–269. [CrossRef]
Martinson, P., Daneshpour, S., Koçak, M., Riekehr, S., and Staron, P., 2009, “Residual Stress Analysis of Laser Spot Welding of Steel Sheets,” J. Mater. Des., 30(9), pp. 3351–3359. [CrossRef]
Zain-Ul-Abdein, M., Nelias, D., Jullien, J. F., and Deloison, D., 2009, “Prediction of Laser Beam Welding-Induced Distortions and Residual Stresses by Numerical Simulation for Aeronautic Application,” J. Mater. Process. Technol., 209(6), pp. 2907–2917. [CrossRef]
Han, Q., Kim, D., Kim, D., Lee, H., and Kim, N., 2012, “Laser Pulsed Welding in Thin Sheets of Zircaloy-4,” J. Mater. Process. Technol., 212(5), pp. 1116–1122. [CrossRef]
Stevens, V., Celentano, D., Ramos-Grez, J., and Walczak, M., 2012, “Experimental and Numerical Analysis of Low Output Power Laser Bending of Thin Steel Sheets,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 134(3), p. 031010. [CrossRef]
Marimuthu, S., Eghlio, R. M., Pinkerton, A. J., and Li, L., 2013, “Coupled Computational Fluid Dynamic and Finite Element Multiphase Modeling of Laser Weld Bead Geometry Formation and Joint Strengths,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 135(1), p. 011004. [CrossRef]
Tan, H., and Yao, Y. L., 2013, “Laser Joining of Continuous Glass Fiber Composite Preforms,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 135(1), p. 011010. [CrossRef]
Voothaluru, R., Liu, C. R., and Cheng, G. J., 2013, “Finite Element Analysis of the Variation in Residual Stress Distribution in Laser Shock Peening of Steels,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 134(6), p. 061010. [CrossRef]
Wang, H., Hsu, S.-T., Tan, H., Yao, Y. L., Chen, H., and Azer, M. N., 2013, “Predictive Modeling for Glass-Side Laser Scribing of Thin Film Photovoltaic Cells,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 135(5), p. 051004. [CrossRef]
Xu, W., Zhang, L. C., and Wang, X., 2013, “Laser Bending of Silicon Sheet: Absorption Factor and Mechanisms,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 135(6), p. 061005. [CrossRef]
Yilbas, B. S., and Akhtar, S., 2013, “Laser Welding of AISI 316 Steel: Microstructural and Stress Analysis,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 135(3), p. 031018. [CrossRef]
Farahmand, P., and Kovacevic, R., 2014, “An Experimental-Numerical Investigation of Heat Distribution and Stress Field in Single- and Multi-Track Laser Cladding by a High-Power Direct Diode Laser,” Opt. Laser Technol., 63, pp. 154–168. [CrossRef]
Abaqus/Standard, 2012, Version 6.12, Abaqus, Inc.
Material Properties Database (MPDB), 2012, Version 7.57, JAHM Software, Inc.
Pells, G. P., and Shiga, M., 1969, “The Optical Properties of Copper and Gold as a Function of Temperature,” J. Phys. C: Solid State Phys., 2(10), pp. 1835–1846. [CrossRef]
Mathewson, A. G., and Myers, H. P., 1972, “Optical Absorption in Aluminium and the Effect of Temperature,” J. Phys. F: Met. Phys., 2(2), pp. 403–415. [CrossRef]
Chalmers, B., 1964, Principles of Solidification, Willey, New York.
Andersson, J. O., Helander, T., Höglund, L., Shi, P. F., and Sundman, B., 2002, “Thermo-Calc and DICTRA, Computational Tools for Materials Science,” Calphad, 26(2), pp. 273–312. [CrossRef]
Deng, D., 2009, “FEM Prediction of Welding Residual Stress and Distortion in Carbon Steel Considering Phase Transformation Effects,” J. Mater. Des., 30(2), pp. 359–366. [CrossRef]
Simo, J. C., and Rifai, M. S., 1990, “A Class of Mixed Assumed Strain Methods and the Method of Incompatible Modes,” Int. J. Numer. Meth. Eng., 29(8), pp. 1595–1638. [CrossRef]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

(a) A laser spot welded Al–Cu flat-plate solar absorber, (b) detail of LSWs, and (c) 3D sketch of the structure's components

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

(a) 2D FE model of a two-sided spot welded solar fin (half of the geometry was modeled due to symmetry), (b) transverse cross section of a typical weld macrostructure, and (c) FE mesh in the near-weld area

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

(a) Schematic diagram of the heat flow into the model; d = 0.6 mm is the diameter of laser's beam circular cross section and d2=23d. (b) Outward unit normals on surfaces.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Temperature-dependent thermal–physical properties used in the simulations for (a) 1050 aluminum and (b) DHP copper. The dashed lines show properties used during the simulation of the solidification process when the supercooling effect is taken into account.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Contours of temperature (a) at the start of the analysis, (b) after the application of the heat source (0.3 ms), (c) after the addition of the weld joint in the model (0.3 ms), and (d) after cooling down to room temperature

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Temperature histories on surface points of Al-sheet (point A in Fig. 5(b)) and Cu-tube at the spot weld area (point B in Fig. 5(b)): (a) Al-sheet heating, (b) Al-sheet cooldown, (c) Cu-tube heating, and (d) Cu-tube cooldown

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Temperature-dependent mechanical properties used in the simulations. The dashed lines show properties used during the simulation of the solidification process when the supercooling effect is taken into account.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Contours of (a) von Mises equivalent stress, (b) maximum principal stress, and (c) minimum principal stress

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Geometric representation of (a) flat sheet, (b) pipe network, (c) flat-plate solar absorber, and (d) solar fin

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Welding sequences. (a) Continuous sequence starting from one lateral side and ending at the other lateral side of the collector, (b) sequence starting from the middle part of the collector and ending at the lateral sides. Letters S and E in the figures stand for start and end of the welding sequence.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

(a) Regions in red indicate the locations of the spot welds and (b) and (c) temperature contours showing the spot welding pattern at time t = 0.37 s and t = 0.96 s, respectively

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Welding-induced longitudinal bending distortion (5×) of (a) solar fin and (b) full-size solar absorber. The maximum vertical displacements at the lateral sides of the absorbers are defined as dfin and dfull for the solar fin and the full-size absorber, respectively.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Distortion restoration process: (a) rotation is applied at the two opposite boundary edges of the panel, (b) inverse bending distortion occurs, and (c) the initial flat shape of the panel is restored when the rotation is released

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 14

Contours of von Mises equivalent stress at the solar collector (a) after the welding process is completed and (b) after the restoration of the welding-induced longitudinal bending distortion

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 15

Contours of the final normal residual stresses at the solar collector after the manufacturing process is completed. (a) Transversal residual stress σ11 and (b) longitudinal residual stress σ22.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 16

Typical daily distribution of solar flux on a flat surface during summer periods

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 17

Under operating conditions the solar absorber is fixed in four points at its two opposite boundary edges. The points are depicted with red color.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 18

Contours of von Mises equivalent stress σeq after 10 days of continuous operation. (a) σeq distribution at morning and night hours and (b) σeq distribution at noon.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 19

Contours of von Mises equivalent stress σeq when the solar absorber faces stagnation temperatures for 10 days. (a) σeq distribution at morning and night hours and (b) σeq distribution at noon.



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In