3D Benchmark - Moving heat source

Simulations of welding process require accurate and reliable heat repartition evaluations.

In the welding process, the heat source is moving.

Fachinotti & al. proposed an analytical solution of the non steady linear heat equation in a semi infinite body with the input source given by Goldak et al..

Physical parameters








heat capacity



heat source



thermal conductivity


K=\frac{k}{\rho c}

thermal diffusivity



Temperature at time t and position (x,y,z)



Initial temperature at position (x,y,z)


Temperature field

Heat conduction in a homogeneous solid is governed by the linear partial differential equation: \rho c \partial_t T - k \Delta T = q endowed with initial and boundary condition.

In the following, we will considere infinite body. That is if the computational domain is big enough, we will set T_0 as a boundary condition.

Moving double ellipsoidal heat source

Consider a fixed Cartesian reference frame (x,y,z), in which a heat source located initially at z=0 and at time t=0, moves with constant velocity, v, along the z-axis. In the case of welding applications, Goldak et al. defined the heat source at a position (x,y,z) and time, t, by means of the following double-ellipsoidal distribution:

q(x,y,z,t) = \frac{6 \sqrt{3}Q}{\pi \sqrt{\pi}ab} \times \begin{cases} \frac{f_f}{c_f} \exp\left[-3 \frac{x^2}{a^2}-3 \frac{y^2}{b^2}-3 \frac{\left(z-vt\right)^2}{c_f^2}\right], & \text{for $z>vt$}.\\ \frac{f_r}{c_r} \exp\left[-3 \frac{x^2}{a^2}-3 \frac{y^2}{b^2}-3 \frac{\left(z-vt\right)^2}{c_r^2}\right], & \text{for $z<vt$}. \end{cases}

where ._f stands for front and ._r stands for rear.

Double Ellipsoidal Heat source model
Figure 1. Double Ellipsoidal Heat source model - source

Analytical solution

Given the linear equation and the heat source, we have (see Fachinotti & al.) the following analytical solution:

\begin{aligned} T\left(x,y,z,t\right) &= T0 + \frac{3\sqrt{3} Q }{\pi\sqrt{\pi} \rho c} \times \int_{0}^{t} \frac{\exp\left[-3 \frac{x^2}{12 K \left(t-t'\right) + a^2}-3 \frac{y^2}{12 K \left(t-t'\right) + b^2}\right]}{\sqrt{12 K \left(t-t'\right) + a^2}\sqrt{12 K \left(t-t'\right) + b^2}} \\ &= \times \left[ f_r A_r \left(1-B_r\right) + f_f A_f \left(1-B_f\right)\right] \mathrm{d}t' \end{aligned} with - using i=r or f: A_i = A(z,t,t'; c_i) = \frac{\exp\left[-3 \frac{\left(z-vt'\right)^2}{12 K \left(t-t'\right) + c_i^2}\right]}{\sqrt{12 K \left(t-t'\right) + c_i^2}} and B_i = B(z,t,t'; c_i) = \text{erf}\left[\frac{c_i}{2}\frac{z-vt'}{\sqrt{K\left(t-t'\right)}\sqrt{12 K \left(t-t'\right) + c_i^2}}\right]


We evaluate the temperature field at (0,0,0.05) over the time and compare it with the analytical solution. That is actually the reproduction (3D only) of the figure 7 in Fachinotti & al.

Comparison at point over time

We also evaluate the temperature profile along the welding path, 10s after the start of the simulation. That is actually the reproduction (3D only) of the figure 8 in Fachinotti & al.

Comparison at time over path

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