Residual strains have been measured in a tungsten inert gas (TIG) butt-welded 2024 aluminum alloy plate using synchrotron X-ray diffraction. Novel two-dimensional strain maps spanning the entire plate reveal steep gradients in residual stress and provide detailed validation data for finite element (FE) analysis. Two variants of a FE model have been used to predict the residual strain distributions, incorporating different levels of plate constraint. The model uses decoupled thermal and elastic- plastic mechanical analyses and successfully predicts the longitudinal and transverse residual strain field over the entire weld. For butt weld geometries, the degree of transverse constraint is shown to be a significant boundary condition, compared to simpler bead-on-plate analyses. The importance of transverse residual strains for detailed model validation is highlighted, together with the need for care in selecting the location for line scans. The residual stress is largest in the heat-affected zone (HAZ), being equal to the local postweld yield stress, though the strength increases subsequently by natural aging. In addition, a halving of the diffraction line width has been observed local to the weld, and this correlates with the microstructural changes in the region
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