Titanium alloys are used to manufacture aerospace components that require high strength at high operating temperatures such fan blades, heat shields and jet engine exhaust cones. Parts that have complex geometries are commonly formed at high temperature (around 900°C) so as to achieve maximum ductility during the forming process. By applying a small oscillating load during the forming process, the titanium alloy is expected to deform more uniformly and to a greater extent than during conventional superplastic forming.
Large automotive body panels are currently manufactured by heating aluminum sheets and pressurizing them into a die. However, this superplastic forming process requires long cycle times to avoid tearing the sheet. Preliminary work has demonstrated that by applying small pressure oscillations in addition to the increasing base line pressure a significant increase in the formability of superplastic alloys can be achieved. This research will consist of experimentally applying small oscillations to AA5083 sheet specimens pulled in tension.
The Superplastic Forming process involves gas injection from a variable pressure supply, to form a heated metallic sheet into a complex automotive body panel shape onto the surface of a die. The current process involves excessive forming times which allow residual stresses to relax and avoid cracking and tearing. Research shows that pressure pulsations of the gas supply increases allowable material strain rate, reducing required manufacturing time.
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