The development of optimum welding patterns which can reduce the adverse effects of welding is important for industry, and particularly, for shipbuilding. In this investigation, a finite element simulation was employed in order to optimize the design of the weldment and reduce residual stresses and distortions. A gusset plate, which was used to increase the stiffness of marine structures, was subjected to thermal loads to simulate the effect of the welding process. Temperature distributions were obtained as a solution of the nonlinear transient problem of thermal conductivity. These distributions were then used to calculate residual stresses and distortion by solving thermo-elastic-plastic problems. The results indicated a significant reduction in the distortion when a plate with circular slots and interrupted welding was used instead of a continuously welded solid plate.

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