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Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Welded of AISI 304 Stainless Steel Using Laser Beam Welding (LBW), Friction Stir Welding (FSW) and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
A. A. Afzal, M. Mobeen Shaukat, B. S. Yilbas, S. S. Akhtar and F. Al-Badour

This paper analyses the environmental impacts of three different welding processes using life cycle assessment (LCA). Thin sheets of AISI 304 stainless steel are welded using friction stir welding (FSW), laser beam welding (LBW) and gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). Data is collected for energy, material, and shielding gas consumption during welding of AISI 304 sheets using these welding processes. Then LCA is used to quantify environmental impacts of these processes using following six impact categories: acidification potential, abiotic depletion potential, eutrophication potential, global warming potential, photochemical ozone creation potential, and ozone depletion potential. The results of the study reveal that of the three processes LBW causes the least environmental impacts whereas FSW causes the highest environmental impacts in all six categories. The relationship between sheet thickness and environmental impacts of welding is also reported. This study can help in selection of environment-friendly welding process for thin sheets of steel.

Keywords: CO2 laser, laser beam welding (LBW), friction stir welding (FSW), gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) life cycle assessment, AISI 304 stainless steel, (LCA), environmental impacts

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