Research Papers

Modeling of Microchannel Hydroforming Process With Thin Metallic Sheets

[+] Author and Article Information
Zhutian Xu, Linfa Peng, Peiyun Yi

Shanghai Key Laboratory of Digital Auto Body Engineering,  Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, People’s Republic of China

Xinmin Lai1

Shanghai Key Laboratory of Digital Auto Body Engineering,  Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, People’s Republic of China; State Key Laboratory of Mechanical System and Vibration,  Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, People’s Republic of Chinaxmlai@sjtu.edu.cn


Corresponding author.

J. Eng. Mater. Technol 134(2), 021017 (Mar 27, 2012) (13 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006180 History: Received April 23, 2011; Revised February 12, 2012; Accepted February 17, 2012; Published March 27, 2012; Online March 27, 2012

Micro/mesoscale metal sheet hydroforming (SHF) process is an efficient approach suitable for mass production to fabricate metal parts with micro/mesochannel features. In conventional sheet hydroforming process, the channel’s feature sizes (e.g., the channel width, fillet radius, etc.) are much greater than the sheet’s thickness, so that the influence of the fillet and the inhomogeneous stress/strain distribution through the thickness direction can be ignored. However, the influence becomes increasingly important, because the thickness of the sheet and the feature dimensions of the microchannel are in the same magnitude as the feature sizes of the material and tools reduced to micro/mesoscale. In this paper, an analytical model with consideration of the inhomogeneous stress/strain distribution was developed to predict the channel profile at different pressures in micro/mesohydroforming process. Plane-strain deformation behaviors in the section of the workpiece were studied, and the relation function between the pressure and the channel height was established. Via this function, the channel height could be accurately predicted for a given pressure. Furthermore, an experimental setup was prepared, hydroforming experiments using microchannel dies with various geometric dimensions were conducted, and the channel height of the workpieces was measured. It was found that the experimental results matched well with the simulation results, which confirmed the validity of the analytical model proposed in this study. It is expected that the model will be beneficial in the optimization of the microchannel hydroforming process.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Two stages of the hydroforming process

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Figure 14

Comparison of experimental and analytical results

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Figure 13

The height of the channels (die 2)

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Figure 12

The height of the channels (die 1)

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Figure 11

Measurement of the hydroformed workpieces at different pressures

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Figure 10

3D topography of the specimen

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Figure 9

The hydroformed workpieces

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Figure 8

Picture of the dies with microchannel arrays (five channels each)

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Figure 7

Experimental setup

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Figure 6

True stress–true strain curve of SS304 sheet fitted by Ludwigson equation

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Figure 5

Specimen preparation for tensile tests

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Figure 4

Flow chart for the sheet’s shape and stress/strain condition prediction

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Figure 3

Forces condition in stage II

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Figure 2

Forces condition in stage I



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