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Journal of Materials Processing Technology 123 (2002) 303312

Prediction of weld bead geometry and penetration in shielded


metal-arc welding using artificial neural networks
D.S. Nagesh, G.L. Datta*
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur 721302, India
Accepted 28 January 2002

Abstract
Bead geometry (bead height and width) and penetration (depth and area) are important physical characteristics of a weldment. Several
welding parameters seem to affect the bead geometry and penetration. It was observed that high arc-travel rate or low arc-power normally
produced poor fusion. Higher electrode feed rate produced higher bead width making the bead flatter.
Current, voltage and arc-travel rate influence the depth of penetration. The other factors that influence the penetration are heat conductivity,
arc-length and arc-force. Longer arc-length produces shallower penetration. Too small arc-length may also give rise to poor penetration, if the
arc-power is very low.
Use of artificial neural networks to model the shielded metal-arc welding process is explored in this paper. Back-propagation neural
networks are used to associate the welding process variables with the features of the bead geometry and penetration. These networks have
achieved good agreement with the training data and have yielded satisfactory generalisation. A neural network could be effectively
implemented for estimating the weld bead and penetration geometric parameters. The results of these experiments show a small error
percentage difference between the estimated and experimental values. # 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Arificial neural networks; Bead geometry; Metal-arc welding

1. Introduction
The weldment characteristics, which include thermal
cracks, bead geometry, undercutting, penetration and heat
affected zone (HAZ) profiles, are important criteria in
determining the weldability of any metal. These characteristics are influenced in metal-arc welding with coated
electrodes by several parameters such as arc-length, nature
of electrode, metal deposition, arc-travel rate and polarity.
Arc-length is one of the most important parameters
affecting weldment characteristics. Long arcs spread to a
larger area, increasing the bead width. Either too short or too
long of an arc results in poor penetration [2,18]. The weld
metal and the HAZ are more prone to embrittlement due to
oxidation [18] and gas absorption [13,18], which are more
likely to occur with a longer arc.
The nature of an electrode refers to composition and
thickness of coating. These determine, to a large extent,
the composition and micro constituents of the weldment,
which in turn determine the hardness and the load bearing
capacity of the joint. The fluidity of the slag formed is
dependent on the type of the coating material. The coating
*

Corresponding author.

provides, in addition, an easy means of incorporating suitable alloying elements into the weldment and thus affecting
the metallurgical and mechanical properties of the same.
The deposition rate and the arc-travel rate affect the contour
of the weldment formed, and the penetration as well as the
percentage dilution. For example, with an increase in arc-travel
rate, the bead width decreases and the undercutting increases.
The weldment characteristics are also dependent on the
polarity used. This dependency arises mainly out of the
difference in the percentage heat input into the work with
polarity, which also determines the concentration of heat
affecting the bead geometry, the penetration and the HAZ. It
is commonly accepted that the distribution of heat at the
anode and the cathode is differentbeing more at the former
and less at the latter [11,21,22,24] though there exists no
agreement on the magnitude of the difference. Graham [11]
believes that approximately 2/3 of the arc energy is generated at the anode and the remaining 1/3 at the cathode. This
contention of such a large difference seems, however, not
tenable as shown by the small difference (about 17%) in
electrode melting rates with different polarities reported by
Begeman et al. [3].
In metal-arc welding with coated electrodes, there may
not exist much of a difference in heat input into the work.

0924-0136/02/$ see front matter # 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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D.S. Nagesh, G.L. Datta / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 123 (2002) 303312

There is more arc spread in straight polarity than in reverse


polarity resulting in a higher bead width and less penetration
with the former than with the latter.
From the foregoing discussion, it may be concluded that
welding parameters such as arc-length, nature of electrode,
metal deposition rate, arc-travel rate and polarity affect
some of the weldment characteristics, comprised of cracks,
bead geometry, penetration, HAZ and weldment hardness.
Of these weldment characteristics, prediction of bead geometry and penetration will be investigated in this paper for
a given set of welding conditions using an artificial neural
network.
1.1. Bead geometry
Bead geometry which includes bead height and bead
width are important physical properties of a weldment. It
is said that the cooling rate [4] of a weld can be predicted
from the weld cross-sectional area and the arc-travel rate.
The bead cross-sectional area together with its height and
width affects the total shrinkage, which determines largely
the residual stresses and thus the distortion [23]. When
welding brittle materials like cast iron, the shrinkage may
give rise to crack formation [6]. Meitzner and Stout [19]
concluded from their experimental studies with metal-arc
inert gas (MIG) welding that the degree of cracking in
welded joints was related more directly to the contour of
the solidified bead than to external welding parameters such
as current and voltage.
Several welding parameters seem to affect the bead
geometry. Since the weld bead results from the solidification
of liquid metal, the interfacial tensions play a significant role
in determining the ultimate bead geometry [15,16]. Apps
et al. [1] reported from their studies on submerged-arc
welding that several welding parameters such as current,
voltage, welding speed and polarity influence the bead shape
and size. Gurev and Stout [12] observed in MIG welding
that the bead width increased with increasing heat input
into the work, i.e. with either decreasing arc-travel rate
or with increasing current. It was also shown that undercutting of weld beads was associated with high arc-travel
rates.
Gurev and Stout [12] also studied the effect of metal
transfer characteristics on bead geometry. Under conditions
of spray transfer, increased voltage produced increased bead
width, but significant decrease in bead height, penetration
and reinforcement area.
Christensen et al. [5] concluded that the weld crosssectional area was related to the effective heat input to
the plate, the latter being obtained from arc-voltage, arccurrent and arc-travel rate. The effect of welding parameters
at reduced atmospheric pressures on bead geometry was
reported by Begeman et al. [3] who observed that bead width
and height were larger with reverse polarity than with
straight polarity and that the bead width increased in direct
proportion to the energy supplied.

1.2. Penetration
The Welding Encyclopedia [18] refers to two types of
penetrationsweld penetration also called fusion and
heat penetration. In fusion welding the depth of weld
penetration or fusion is generally recognised as the distance
below the original surface of the work to which the molten
metal progresses [10,17,18]. The HAZ refers to the parent
metal metallurgically affected by the heat of welding, but
not melted [14]. The heat penetration includes the weld
penetration as well as HAZ. Weld penetration is referred to
as only penetration for simplicity.
The importance of proper penetration has been amply
demonstrated by many researchers [10,17,18]. It is generally
recognised that penetration is influenced by polarity, current,
voltage and arc-travel rate.
Ronay [21] stated that with straight polarity welding
under normal atmospheric shielding, the depth of penetration was almost twice that of reverse polarity. On the other
hand, it was reported by Begeman et al. [3] working with
coated electrodes, Motl [20] using CO2 welding process, and
Houldcroft [13] working on submerged-arc process that the
penetration was higher with reverse polarity than with
straight polarity.
Current, voltage and arc-travel rate influence the depth
of penetration. In the case of submerged-arc and coated
electrode processes, Jackson [17] reported that the depth of
penetration was linearly related to the welding technique performance factor (WTPF) defined as WTPF Is4 =Fl  Vs 1=3 ,
where Is is the arc-current in amperes, Fl is the arc-travel rate
in cm/min and Vs is the arc-voltage in volts. While working
with an MIG welding process, Gurev and Stout [12] also
observed that the depth of penetration increased with an
increase in current, but decreased with a decrease in voltage
and that the penetration increased as the arc-travel rate was
decreased until it attained a minimum value which depends
on the arc-power.
The other factors which influence the penetration are heat
conductivity, arc-length and arc-force. The higher the heat
conductivity of a material the lower is the penetration.
Longer arc-lengths produce shallower penetration because
of the lesser concentration of heat. Too small an arc-length
may also give rise to poor penetration [2], if the arc-power is
very low. Ishizaki [15] studied the mechanism of penetration
from the point of view of interfacial tension theory and
found that arc-force played an important role in determining
the contour of the surface of penetration. Higher arc-force
(arc blast) resulted in higher penetration.
Summarising, it can be stated that the bead geometry and
penetration affect the weldment characteristics and are
dependent on a number of welding variables. In the present
investigation an attempt was made to study some of the
weldment characteristics such as bead height, bead width
and penetration, as affected by welding parameters like
arc-length, arc-travel rate, electrode feed rate, arc-power,
arc-voltage and arc-current.

D.S. Nagesh, G.L. Datta / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 123 (2002) 303312

305

Table 1
Experimental conditions and resultsa
Sample No.

Fv (mm/min)

Es (kW)

La (mm)

Is (A)

Vs (V)

Fl (mm/min)

BH (mm)

BW (mm)

Dp (mm)

Ap (mm2)

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18

178
178
178
178
178
178
178
178
178
198
198
198
198
198
218
218
218
218

1.9
1.9
1.9
1.9
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
3
3
3
3
3
2.1
2.1
2.1
2.1

7.3
7.3
7.3
7.3
10.5
10.5
10.5
10.5
10.5
10.5
10.5
10.5
10.5
10.5
5.5
5.5
5.5
5.5

75
76
76
77
87
87
90
92
89
96
96
104
100
97
86
88
84
88

27
27
27
26
30
29
30
30
29
32
34
31
32
33
27
27
26
26

63
81
100
126
63
81
100
126
152
63
81
100
126
152
81
100
126
152

4.19
2.66
2.51
2.08
2.40
2.04
1.65
1.42
1.34
3.2
2.54
1.82
1.54
1.20
2.82
2.62
2.34
2.19

9.36
7.62
7.26
7.27
10.0
8.82
8.88
8.78
7.56
11.35
10.6
10.14
9.36
7.60
8.07
8.27
7.25
6.45

1.29
1.10
0.99
0.95
1.86
1.69
1.56
1.44
1.29
1.95
1.80
1.6
1.52
1.49
0.86
0.75
0.74
0.74

9.35
9.07
5.30
4.27
10.6
9.80
8.68
7.17
4.72
10.69
9.02
8.24
7.43
5.44
3.73
3.16
2.56
2.10

Fv, electrode feed rate; Es, arc-power; Vs, arc-voltage; Is, arc-current; La, arc-length; BH, bead height; BW, bead width; Dp, depth of penetration; Ap, area
of penetration; Fl, arc-travel rate.

2. Experimental investigations
The weldment characteristics were investigated by depositing beads on grey cast iron using mild steel electrodes. The
deposition of mild steel electrode metal on cast iron work is
normally expected to represent an extreme condition where
weld bead cracking due to differential contraction of the
mild steel deposited metal and the cast iron base metal
would be easily developed. Moreover, the concentration
gradient and thus the alloying can also be studied better
with conditions where there exists a large difference in
composition of the deposited metal and the base metal.
With this objective, the studies were conducted on grey cast
iron work welded with mild steel electrodes.
A pre-set feed machine was used to deposit beads on
plates. The electrode feed rates were 178, 198 and 218 mm/
min using a constant current AC power source. The parameters of the study included various arc-lengths and arctravel rates.
Arc-length was controlled at a given electrode feed rate by
varying the arc-power and was measured from the magnified
arc-image (16). The beads were deposited on cold as well
as preheated base plates. The preheating was done in a high
temperature electric furnace with temperature control within
5 8C. The soaking time was fixed at 1 h and beads were
deposited immediately after removing the sample plates
from the furnace. After depositing about 15 cm length of
bead, the sample plate was kept in the open atmosphere and
no post-weld heat treatment was given. For depositing bead
on grey cast iron (15 cm  12 cm  1:2 cm size), the plates
of 1.8 cm thickness were cast and machined to 1.2 cm
thickness.
To study the bead geometry, each bead was sectioned
transversely at two pointsone near the start (leaving about

2 cm from the start) and the other near the end (leaving about
2 cm from the crater). These were metallurgically polished
and then etched with 2% nital solution. The samples were
then placed one by one under a Tool Makers Microscope
(least count 0.001 mm), and the bead height and bead width
were noted. The average values of bead height and bead
width of each pair of samples (obtained from the same bead)
were then computed.
The etched samples used for the study of the bead
geometry were placed under an epidiascope to obtain a
magnified image (10) of the contours of penetration and
HAZ, and these images were traced on tracing papers. From
these images, the areas of penetration were estimated. The
depths were also estimated from the traced images and the
values compared with those obtained by using the Tool
Makers Microscope. The comparison showed good agreement.
The details of the parameters used in the study and other
relevant data, as shown in Table 1, are taken from Ref. [7].
The results are analysed and discussed in the next section.

3. Analysis and discussion of results


The results of the investigation conducted on the weldment characteristics of grey cast iron workpieces welded
with mild steel electrodes are analysed for bead geometry
and penetration.
Typical macro-photographs (magnification 10) of two
sectioned beads on grey cast iron are shown in Figs. 1 and 2.
The experimental results are plotted in Figs. 35.
While sectioning the beads, it was observed that beads
deposited on cold cast iron base metal using certain welding
conditions separated from the base metal indicating almost

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D.S. Nagesh, G.L. Datta / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 123 (2002) 303312

Fig. 1. Macro-photograph (magnification 10) of a sectioned bead


indicating a good fusion between the mild steel deposited metal and grey
cast iron base metal. Preheating: nil; electrode: Type-1, 10 SWG; Fv:
178 mm/min; La: 5.0 mm; Fl: 100 mm/min.

no fusion between them. But under similar welding conditions when beads were deposited on preheated grey cast
iron (preheated to about 400 8C), a good fusion between the
deposited metal and the base metal was observed. A high
rate of heat input produced a good fusion even without
preheating the grey cast iron base metal. Fig. 1 shows
the contour of a typical sectioned bead indicating a good
fusion between the mild steel deposited metal and the
cold grey cast iron base metal. On the other hand, Fig. 2
shows another contour of a typical sectioned bead (of mild
steel deposited on grey cast iron) indicating very poor
fusion.
It was observed that high arc-travel rate or low arc-power
normally produced poor fusion. Since both the conditions

make lesser heat input per unit linear length run of bead, it is
safe to conclude that lower heat input will give rise to poor
fusion. When the beads separated it was seen that the
separating surface on the base metal had bright oxide
deposition. In arc welding there is the possibility of silicon
of cast iron getting oxidised, and because of lower heat
input, the oxide quickly gets deposited on the surface without floating up. This also accounts for poor fusion or bonding
between the deposited metal and the base metal.
Bead geometry is normally specified in terms of bead
width and height, which are plotted in Fig. 3. It is seen from
Fig. 3 that the bead width and height decreases with the
increase in arc-travel rate (Fl). With the increase in arc-travel
rate from 6.3 to 12.6 cm/min (electrode feed rate 178 mm/
min and arc-length 7:3 mm), the percentage decrease in
bead width and height are approximately 20 and 32, respectively. This suggests that the beads become flatter with
increasing arc-travel rates.
Comparing the curves (Fig. 3(b) and (c)) at different
electrode feed rates (Fv) having the same arc-length
(brought about by changing the arc-power), it is further
observed that at higher electrode feed rates, flatter beads
with higher widths are obtained.
At a constant electrode feed rate, an increase in arc-power
results in an increase in arc-length. The effect of such an
increase in arc-length on bead width and height can be seen
from Fig. 3(a) and (b). The figures show that with the
increase in arc-length from 7.3 to 10.5 mm, there is an
increase in bead width and consequently an equally sharp
fall in bead height.
It has been postulated by Ishizaki [15] that the interfacial
tensions and wetting play a significant role in controlling the
spread of the deposited metal. These interfacial tensions and
wetting are controlled by arc-power and arc-spread. With
higher arc-power, the base metal gets heated to a higher
temperature. In other words, high temperature isotherms
shift away from the central line of the molten pool with
higher arc-power. This also happens with longer arc-lengths.
This explains the occurrence of the higher bead width either
with higher electrode feed rate (and consequent higher
arc-power to keep the arc-length constant) or with longer
arc-length (i.e., higher arc-power at constant electrode feed
rate). At very long arc-lengths, the concentration of heat is
not sufficiently high to cause larger areas to be heated to a
temperature such that the wetting action can be effective.
Thus, it seems reasonable that with long arc-lengths, the
bead width will increase. Another factor, which limits the
spread of the deposited metal, is the melting rate which
remains constant at constant electrode feed rate irrespective
of arc-lengths.
3.1. Penetration and HAZ

Fig. 2. Macro-photograph (magnification 10) of a sectioned bead


indicating a poor fusion between the mild steel deposited metal and grey
cast iron base metal. Preheating: nil; electrode: Type-1, 10 SWG; Fv:
178 mm/min; La: 3.0 mm; Fl: 100 mm/min.

It has been seen from the available literature that the


penetration and HAZ are controlled by the rate of heat input,
which is a function of arc-travel rate, arc-length and polarity.

D.S. Nagesh, G.L. Datta / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 123 (2002) 303312

307

Fig. 3. Effect of arc-travel rate (Fl) on bead height (BH) and bead width (BW) at various electrode feed rates (Fv) and arc-lengths (La). Work material: grey
cast iron; power source: AC; electrode: Type-1, 10 SWG. (a) La 7:3 mm, F v 178 mm/min; (b) La 10:5 mm, F v 178 mm/min; (c) La 10:5 mm,
F v 198 mm/min; (d) La 5:5 mm, F v 218 mm/min.

In the present investigation the depth and the areas of


penetration were measured and plotted in Figs. 4 and 5
respectively, showing the effects of arc-length and arc-travel
rate. These figures show that with the increase in arc-travel
rate, the depth as well as the area of penetration decreases to
reach minima at about 126 mm/min. Beyond 126 mm/min,
the effect is insignificant. It is also seen that the depth
of penetration is higher with higher electrode feed rate
(and suitable increase in arc-power to give a constant
arc-length).

4. Artificial neural networks for predicting bead


geometry and penetration
Neural networks have seen an explosion of interest over
the last few years, and are being successfully applied across
an extraordinary range of problem domains, in areas as
diverse as finance, medicine, engineering, geology and
physics. Indeed, anywhere that there are problems of prediction, classification or control, neural networks are being
introduced.

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D.S. Nagesh, G.L. Datta / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 123 (2002) 303312

Fig. 4. Effect of arc-travel rate (Fl) on depth of penetration (Dp) at various electrode feed rates (Fv) and arc-lengths (La). Work material: grey cast iron; power
source: AC; electrode: Type-1, 10 SWG. (a) La 7:3 mm, F v 178 mm/min; (b) La 10:5 mm, F v 178 mm/min; (c) La 10:5 mm, F v 198 mm/min;
(d) La 5:5 mm, F v 218 mm/min.

A neural network is an adaptable system that can learn


relationships through repeated presentation of data and is
capable of generalising to new, previously unseen data. If a
network is to be of any use, there must be inputs (which carry
the values of variables of interest in the outside world) and
outputs (which form predictions, or control signals). Inputs
and outputs correspond to sensory and motor nerves such as
those coming from the eyes and leading to the hands.
However, there may also be hidden neurones, which play
an internal role in the network. The input, hidden and output
neurones need to be connected together.

To capture the essence of biological neural systems, an


artificial neurone is used. It receives a number of inputs
(either from original data, or from the output of other
neurones in the neural network). Each input comes via a
connection, which has a strength (or weight); these weights
correspond to synaptic efficacy in a biological neurone. Each
neurone also has a single threshold value. The weighted
sum of the inputs is formed, and the threshold subtracted,
to compose the activation of the neurone (also known as
the post-synaptic potential, or PSP, of the neurone). The
activation signal is passed through an activation function

D.S. Nagesh, G.L. Datta / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 123 (2002) 303312

309

Fig. 5. Effect of arc-travel rate (Fl) on areas of penetration (Ap) at various electrode feed rates (Fv) and arc-lengths (La). Work material: grey cast iron; power
source: AC; electrode: Type-1, 10 SWG. (a) La 7:3 mm, F v 178 mm/min; (b) La 10:5 mm, F v 178 mm/min; (c) La 10:5 mm, F v 198 mm/min;
(d) La 5:5 mm, F v 218 mm/min.

(also known as a transfer function) to produce the output of


the neurone. For our application, this function is a sigmoid
function, which is the same for all neurones.
f x 1 exp x

1
The best-known example of a neural network training
algorithm is back-propagation. In back-propagation, the
gradient vector of the error surface is calculated. This vector
points in the direction of steepest descent from the current
point, so we know that if we move along it a short
distance, we will decrease the error. A sequence of such
moves (slowing as we near the bottom) will eventually find a
minimum of some sort. Large steps may converge more

quickly, but may also overstep the solution or (if the error
surface is very eccentric) go off in the wrong direction. A
classic example of this in neural network training is where
the algorithm progresses very slowly along a steep, narrow,
valley, bouncing from one side across to the other. In
contrast, very small steps may go in the correct direction,
but they also require a large number of iterations. In practice,
the step size is proportional to the slope (so that the algorithms settle down to a minimum) and to a special constant,
the learning rate. The correct setting for the learning rate is
application-dependent, and is typically chosen by experiment; it may also be time-varying, getting smaller as the
algorithm progresses.

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D.S. Nagesh, G.L. Datta / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 123 (2002) 303312

Fig. 6. Back-propogation neural network used for predicting bead geometry and penetration.

A typical back-propagation network is shown in Fig. 6.


Neurones are arranged in a distinct layered topology. The
input layer is not really neural at all: these units simply serve
to introduce the values of the input variables. The input
variables used in the present investigation are: electrode feed
rate (Fv, mm/min), arc-power (Es, kW), arc-voltage (Vs, V),
arc-current (Is, A), arc-length (La, mm) and arc-travel rate
(Fl, mm/min). The output layer forming the variables which
are to be predicted consists of bead width (BW, mm), bead
height (BH, mm), depth of penetration (Dp, mm) and area of

The algorithm progresses iteratively through a number of


epochs. On each epoch, the training cases are each submitted
in turn to the network, and target and actual outputs compared and the error calculated. This error, together with the
error surface gradient, is used to adjust the weights, and then
the process repeats. The initial network configuration is
random, and training stops when a given number of epochs
elapse, or when the error reaches an acceptable level, or
when the error stops improving. We can select which of
these stopping conditions to use.

Table 2
Comparison of experimental and neural network results of weld bead geometry and penetration
Sample no.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18

Experimental result

Network result

Error percentage (%)

BH

BW

Dp

Ap

BH

BW

Dp

Ap

4.19
2.66
2.51
2.08
2.40
2.04
1.65
1.42
1.34
3.2
2.54
1.82
1.54
1.20
2.82
2.62
2.34
2.19

9.36
7.62
7.26
7.27
10.0
8.82
8.88
8.78
7.56
11.35
10.6
10.14
9.36
7.60
8.07
8.27
7.25
6.45

1.29
1.10
0.99
0.95
1.86
1.69
1.56
1.44
1.29
1.95
1.80
1.6
1.52
1.49
0.86
0.75
0.74
0.74

9.35
9.07
5.30
4.27
10.6
9.80
8.68
7.17
4.72
10.69
9.02
8.24
7.43
5.44
3.73
3.16
2.56
2.10

4.19
2.72
2.41
2.30
2.42
2.01
1.70
1.43
1.35
3.19
2.33
1.81
1.56
1.12
2.78
2.48
2.34
2.26

9.34
7.73
7.10
7.15
9.95
8.88
8.91
8.65
7.61
11.35
11.06
10.16
9.34
7.67
8.15
7.70
7.11
6.55

1.29
1.10
0.97
0.95
1.86
1.70
1.56
1.43
1.30
1.95
1.97
1.60
1.52
1.49
0.85
0.81
0.78
0.74

9.43
8.82
5.52
3.49
10.76
9.66
8.67
7.25
4.71
10.68
11.04
8.24
7.46
5.37
3.62
3.53
2.74
1.86

BH
0.00
2.26
3.98
10.58
0.83
1.47
3.03
0.70
0.75
0.31
8.27
0.55
1.30
6.67
1.42
5.34
0.00
3.20

BW

Dp

Ap

0.21
1.44
2.20
1.65
0.50
0.68
0.34
1.48
0.66
0.00
4.34
0.20
0.21
0.92
0.99
6.89
1.93
1.55

0.00
0.00
2.02
0.00
0.00
0.59
0.00
0.69
0.78
0.00
9.44
0.00
0.00
0.00
1.16
8.00
5.41
0.00

0.86
2.76
4.15
18.27
1.51
1.43
0.12
1.12
0.21
0.09
22.39
0.00
0.40
1.29
2.95
11.71
7.03
11.43

D.S. Nagesh, G.L. Datta / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 123 (2002) 303312

penetration (Ap, mm2). The hidden and output layer neurones are each connected to all of the units in the preceding
layer. When the network is executed (used), the input
variable values are placed in the input units, and then the
hidden and output layer units are progressively executed.
Each of them calculate their activation value by taking the
weighted sum of the outputs of the units in the preceding
layer, and subtracting the threshold. The activation value is
passed through the activation function to produce the output
of the neurone. When the entire network has been executed,
the outputs of the output layer act as the outputs of the entire
network. The experimental data used to train the proposed
neural network is shown in Table 1.
The performance of the neural network depends on the
number of hidden layers and number of neurones in the
hidden layers. Therefore, many attempts should be carried
out in choosing the optimal structure for the neural network
by changing the number of hidden layers as well as the
number of neurones in each of these hidden layers. The
appropriate neural network structure for predicting bead
geometry and penetration was chosen by the trial-and-error
method [8,9]. In this study, the structure of the neural
network was 61094 (6 neurones in the input layer, 10
neurones in the 1st hidden layer, 9 neurones in the 2nd
hidden layer and 4 neurones in the output layer). The
network was trained for 11000 iterations. Further training
did not improve the modelling performance of the network.
The results of the test are summarised in Table 2 and
plotted in Figs. 35. The testing data are boldfaced in the
table and these sets of data were not used for training the
network. The errors in bead geometry and penetration
estimates very rarely exceeded 20% (only one of the total
outputs), and thus the network was able to predict with
significant accuracy. It can be concluded from this part of the
work that the neural networks appear to constitute a workable model for predicting the weld bead geometry and
penetration under given set of welding conditions.

5. Conclusions
The investigations on weldment characteristics lead to the
following conclusions:
1. Beads deposited on cold cast iron plates using either a
high arc-travel rate or low arc-power produced very poor
fusion between the mild steel deposited metal and the
grey cast iron base metal. Use of either preheated plates
or low arc-travel rate or high arc-power yielded better
fusion.
2. Both the bead height and width decrease with the
increase in arc-travel rate but the decrease in height is
comparatively more to make a flatter bead with a higher
arc-travel rate.
3. At constant arc-length but a higher electrode feed rate
(with corresponding increase in arc-power), the bead

4.

5.

6.

7.
8.

311

height does not change significantly but the bead width


increases substantially.
An increase in arc-length keeping electrode feed rate
constant results in an increase in bead width and
decrease in bead height.
An increase in arc-length from short to medium by
increasing arc-power and keeping electrode feed rate
constant results initially in a fast increase in the areas
and depth of penetration.
The ratio of the depth of penetration and the arc-length
shows that neither too small nor too long an arc-length is
desirable from the point of view of proper penetration
and effective heat utilisation.
The penetration and HAZ increase with the increase in
electrode feed rate keeping arc-length constant.
Back-propagation neural network used for modelling the
weld bead geometry and penetration and the analysis
carried out for this confirm that artificial neural
networks are powerful tools for analysis and modelling.
The results indicate that neural networks can yield fairly
accurate results.

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