The deformation and failure of spot-welded joints have been successfully modelled using a cohesive-zone model for fracture. This has been accomplished by implementing a user-defined, three-dimensional, cohesive-zone element within a commercial finite-element package. The model requires two material parameters for each mode of deformation. Results show that the material parameters from this type of approach are transferable for identical spot welds in different geometries where a single parameter (such as maximum stress) is not. The approach has been demonstrated using a model system consisting of spot-welded joints made from 5754 aluminium sheets. The techniques for determining the cohesive fracture parameters for both nugget fracture and nugget pullout are described in this paper. It has been demonstrated that once the appropriate cohesive parameters for a weld are determined, quantitative predictions can be developed for the strengths, deformations and failure mechanisms of different geometries with nominally identical welds
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