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Formability of micro‐tubes in hydroforming

Hartl, Christoph and Anyasodor, Gerald Njiribeako and Lungershausen, Joern (2011) Formability of micro‐tubes in hydroforming. In: 14TH International ESAFORM Conference on Material Forming: ESAFORM 2011 Proceedings. AIP Conference Proceedings . AIP. ISBN 9780735409118

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Micro‐hydroforming is a down‐scaled metal forming process, based on the expansion of micro‐tubes by internal pressurization within a die cavity. The objective of micro‐hydroforming is to provide a technology for the economic mass production of complex shaped hollow micro‐components. Influence of size effects in metal forming processes increases with scaling down of metal parts. Investigations into the change in formability of micro‐tubes due to metal part scaling down constituted an important subject within the conducted fundamental research work. Experimental results are presented, concerning the analysis of the formability of micro‐tubes made from stainless steel AISI 304 with an outer diameter of 800 μm and a wall thickness of 40 μm. An average ratio of tube wall thickness to grain size of 1.54 of up to 2.56 was analyzed. Miniaturised mechanical standard methods as well as bulge tests with internal hydrostatic pressurization of the tubular specimens were applied to analyze the influence of size‐dependent effects. A test device was developed for the bulge experiments which enabled the pressurization of micro‐tubes with internal pressures up to 4000 bar. To determine the attainable maximum achievable expansion ratio the tubes were pressurized in the bulge tests with increasing internal pressure until instability due to necking and subsequent bursting occurred. Comparisons with corresponding tests of macro‐tubes, made from the here investigated material, showed a change in formability of micro‐tubes which was attributed to the scaling down of the hydroforming process. In addition, a restricted applicability of existing theoretical correlations for the determination of the maximum pressure at bursting was observed for down‐scaled micro‐hydroforming.