Tailoring titanium sheet metal using laser metal deposition to improve room temperature single-point incremental forming

McPhillimy, Michael and Yakushina, Evgenia and Blackwell, Paul (2022) Tailoring titanium sheet metal using laser metal deposition to improve room temperature single-point incremental forming. Materials, 15 (17). 5985. ISSN 1996-1944 (https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15175985)

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Typically, due to their limited formability, elevated temperatures are required in order to achieve complex shapes in titanium alloys. However, there are opportunities for forming such alloys at room temperature using incremental forming processes such as single-point incremental forming (SPIF). SPIF is an innovative metal forming technology which uses a single tool to form sheet parts in place of dedicated dies. SPIFs ability to increase the forming limits of difficult-to-form materials offers an alternative to high temperature processing of titanium. However, sheet thinning during SPIF may encourage the early onset of fracture, compromising in-service performance. An additive step prior to SPIF has been examined to tailor the initial sheet thickness to achieve a homogeneous thickness distribution in the final part. In the present research, laser metal deposition (LMD) was used to locally thicken a commercially pure titanium grade 2 (CP-Ti50A) sheet. Tensile testing was used to examine the mechanical behaviour of the tailored material. In addition, in-situ digital image correlation was used to measure the strain distribution across the surface of the tailored material. The work found that following deposition, isotropic mechanical properties were obtained within the sheet plane in contrast to the anisotropic properties of the as-received material and build height appeared to have little influence on strength. Microstructural analysis showed a change to the material in response to the LMD added thickness, with a heat affected zone (HAZ) at the interface between the added LMD layer and non-transformed substrate material. Grain growth and intragranular misorientation in the added LMD material was observed. SPIF of a LMD tailored preform resulted in improved thickness homogeneity across the formed part, with the downside of early fracture in a high wall angle section of the sheet.