A model for investigating the characteristics of a high-intensity beam on welding cavity shape and temperature distribution is developed. The beam power density is assumed to have a Gaussian distribution. The local heat transfer rate to the liquid-vapor interface depends on this distribution and on the interface contour. This contour as determined by an iterative procedure involves simultaneously satisfying the heat conduction rate into the liquid and equilibrium of the normal forces. Computed shapes of the cavity and the free surface temperature distributions agree well with experimental data. The beam energy flux distribution parameter is found to have the strongest effect on the welding process. The predicted dimensionless curve of the beam power-penetration depth parameter versus the welding velocity-thermal property parameter is also in accord with experimental results. The use of the energy flux distribution parameter instead of the fusion zone width at the workpiece surface for the welding velocity-thermal property parameter is recommended.

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