FEM analysis has proved to be a powerful investigative tool capable of encompassing all the aspects that characterise an SPF process. However, despite the high potential of FEM programs they do not allow one to directly and suitably obtain the thickness of a sheet product for high deformation values, as commonly occurs in SPF processes. Many papers have been published on finite element analysis of S.P.F. process but the question of calculus accuracy in thicknesses of a sheet product has not been directly investigated. This problem has been already considered by the authors in a previous study which proposed an algorithm to determine thicknesses for a specific application. The software set up starts out with the results of the FEM modelling, keeps track of the “deformation” undergone by each element of the mesh and calculates to a good approximation the thicknesses at the end of the forming. Although the original version of the algorithm could only be used for the application studied an updated version is introduced in this study that can be used for any case. In other words, the software generates the thickness profile at the end of the analysis independently of technological set up, item shape and type of simulation (3D and 2D). The proposed algorithm was tested with reference to the superplastic forming of an item of simple geometry beginning with a thin circular plate blocked at the edges and put under constant hydrostatic pressure on one side. The test material, made superplastic by means of a series of repeated laminations, was characterised using an alternative method to the traditional tension test. The results of the experiments are in good accordance with the numerical predictions both in terms of thickness distribution and forming times.
Advanced Performance Materials – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 1, 2004