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Using Getfem for a flash-butt welding simulation

From: Lorenzo Ferro
Subject: Using Getfem for a flash-butt welding simulation
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2021 18:48:10 +0200

Dear All,

I need to simulate a flash-butt welding process, where two steel bars are welded together, head to head, applying electrical current (flash welding) until the bar heads reach the melting temperature, eventually pushing them together to make the joint.
During this process, some metal reaches the melting point (almost evaporation) and bursts away, so some metal is lost during the heating phase and the two bars must be brought closer together to keep the current flowing and the process going on.

So the model would include (at least):
A) a transient thermal simulation with external convection and radiation
B) internal heat generated by joule effect
C) non-linear material properties
D) elements removal from the simulation once the melting temperature has been reached, with consequent change of boundary elements on the heads of the bars
E) moving the bars closer, step-by-step, to restore the surface contact and current flow (no need of a real contact function, contact can be estimated based on the boundary elements distance, since some current can flow also when the faces are enough close).

To do so I've two options:
1) making a simulation model with a programming language like Python, etc...
2) exploring the usage of the GetFEM library. At the end of the work, a new scientific article will follow. The simulation is only the first part, the article will also include a part related to the automation control of the welding process.

i) can GetFEM be convenient for the implementation of the above mentioned problem?
ii) does GetFEM allows to implement all of the above features?
iii) principally, can you give me guidance about the needed GetFEM native functions?

I've never used GetFEM before but I'd like to learn how to use it, also in view of other future projects and publications.

Thank you in advance.

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