Advancements of Superplastic Forming and Diffusion Bonding of Titanium Alloys for Heat Critical Aerospace Applications
Titanium’s high strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance makes it ideal for many aerospace applications, especially in heat critical zones. Superplastic Forming (SPF) can be used to form titanium into near-net, complex shapes without springback. The process uses a machined die where inert gas is applied uniformly to the metal sheet, forming the part into the die cavity. Standard titanium alpha-beta alloys, such as 6Al-4V, form at temperatures between 900 and 925°C (1650-1700°F). Recent efforts have demonstrated alloys that form at lower temperatures ranging between 760 and 790°C (1400-1450°F). Lowering the forming temperature reduces the amount of alpha case that forms on the part, which must be removed. This provides an opportunity of starting with a lower gauge material. Lower forming temperatures also limit the amount of oxidation and wear on the tool and increase the life of certain press components, such as heaters and platens.