Finite Element Analysis of an Advanced Superplastic Forming Process Utilizing a Mechanical Pre-form 2007-01-1676
Superplastic forming (SPF) is a manufacturing process that can facilitate increased use of aluminum in automobile body structures. Despite considerable advantages with regards to formability and tooling costs, the process has been mostly limited to low volume production due to relatively long cycle times. This paper focuses on the development of a simulation capability to model a novel double-action mechanical pre-forming SPF process which can enhance formability as well as improve production efficiency by combining technology of hot stamping and conventional superplastic forming. A commercial explicit finite element analysis (FEA) code was adopted to establish feasibility of the forming process. The predictive accuracy of the FEA code was established in terms of thickness distribution and material drawn-in by correlating simulation results with experiments conducted with a deep draw die. Parameters were also established for accurate simulation with reduced computation time and a general modeling strategy for hot deep draw pre-forming.