Innovative methods for investigating key process variables in the manufacture of superplastically formed aero-engine components

Zuelli, Nicola and Fleming, Christopher and Farrell, Mark and Zante, Remi and Robinson, Luke (2016) Innovative methods for investigating key process variables in the manufacture of superplastically formed aero-engine components. In: Superplasticity in Advanced Materials - ICSAM 2015. Materials Science Forum . Trans Tech Publications, pp. 603-609. ISBN 978-3-03835-672-1

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Abstract

A broad research programme was conducted at the Advanced Forming Research Centre to study the impact of key process variables in the manufacture of superplastically formed aero-engine components. The paper highlights the innovative methods adopted to investigate the factors affecting SPF process cycle-time, tool/component instrumentation for in-process measurements, and tool life. An extensive programme of forming trials conducted on a large press on real-scale components was performed to closely monitor key process parameters and understand their influence on the component inflation and cycle-time. Advanced experimental trials were conducted by instrumenting components and tool to analyse process variable live measurements in the harsh environment of the press during the SPF process. An extensive investigation of the chemical and physical interactions at the tool/component interface and their influence on surface finish and tool life was also conducted by using a range of specialised equipment and a custom-built SPF simulator.