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Pergamon

Int. J. Mech. Sci. Vol. 39, No. 5, pp. 507 521, 1997 Copyright © 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd Printed in Great Britain. All rights reserved

  • 0020 7403/97 $17.00 + 0.00

PII: S0020- 7403 (96) 00045 -8

AN

INVESTIGATION

INTO

THE

PREFORMING

OF

TUBES

D. COLLA*,

S. B. PETERSEN t and

P.

A.

F.

MARTINS **

*Universita' degli studi di Padova, Dip Innovazione Meccanica e Gestionale, 35131 Padova, Italy and tlnstituto Superior T6cnico, Dep. Engenharia Mec~nica, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1096 Lisboa Codex, Portugal.

(Received 19 December 1995; and in revised form 8 March 1996)

Abstract--A major disadvantage of traditional cold forging is represented by the inability to forge slender geometries such as tubes, because these tend to collapse under axial forces. Recent research has revealed that, for the forming of hollow flanged components from tubes, a controlled material flow can be achieved by injection forging. However if the height of the flange is high compared to the wall thickness of the tube, instability problems arise causing the tube to buckle. According to previous work by the authors this may be prevented by increasing the wall thickness of the tube locally through the preforming of a simple inner flange on the tube. These preliminary investigations have been restricted to a reduced number of component geometries in terms of the major process parameters; being the inner- to outer-tube diameter proportion and the flange-to- wall-thickness ratio. In continuation of this work the present paper focuses on a systematic mapping of the optimal preform design in order to allow an establishment of actual preform design rules for the injection forging of tubular components for a whole range of parameter combinations. The analysis builds on a comprehensive finite element analysis in conjunction with experimental tests in aluminium performed for strategically important parameter combinations in order to support the theoretically established formability limit diagrams. Copyright © 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Keywords: tube forming, injection forging, finite element analysis.

NOTATION

ai, ao

dimension for inner and outer die-cavity, mm

dl, do

inner and outer diameter of tube, mm

le

effective length of injected tube (one end), mm

Io

initial length of tube, mm

t

general die-cavity gap height when q = to, mm

ti, to

inner and outer die-cavity gap height, mm

w

wall thickness of tube, w = 1/2(do - effective strain

di), mm

effective

stress, N/mm 2

cro

initial yield stress, N/mm 2 relative deformation of tube (~ = 2le/t)

 

1. INTRODUCTION

To date, the bulk deformation of materials by forging to achieve a component form has generally been restricted to geometries which do not contain through-holes [1, 2]; wherever a through-hole is an integral aspect of a component, this is achieved by machining or trimming subsequent to the manufacture of the forging. Forging of hollow billets has been impracticable due to the instability of the work material I-3-5]. Tubes may only be formed with a form of internal support to prevent the collapse of the tube wall. Complex profiled components may be forged from rings through upsetting using a process configuration in which a movable mandrel and container descend under the punch, as described in Refs I-6-7]. However only rather limited plastic deformation can be achieved this way as restrictions on the tube height have to be respected to not have buckling problems 1,8-9]. Injection forging has enabled the forming of large radial flanges under high plastic deformation, of both solid [10-12] and tubular material [-13-15].

t Formerly at: Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, PI-Lab. for Mekaniske Materiale-processer, 2800 Lyngby, Denmark Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

507

508

D. Colla et al.

  • (a) (b)

e ~uneh

~

mandrel

~

J~/chamber injection

]] I J-I ~-

cavity

~"~111~u

____._

~N.~--'~I

inner d~':/~_]

cavity

~

~(X~ /

slSecimen

////~_[

il

exchangeable die feature

i

Fig. 1. (a) Tool configuration for double-sided single-stageinjection forging into an annular space as utilised in

Ref. 1-143 with indication of the geometrical process parameters; (b) closed-die injection forging.

The injection forging process is characterized by the axial movement of one or two opposed

punches in an injection chamber, leading to localised radial displacement of material into a die

cavity or an annular space [16]. Figure 1 shows the injection forging (double-acting mode) of a tube

as the process was applied in Ref. 1,14].

The process has several advantages to traditional forging operations besides allowing the forming

of tubes. As injection may be effected into a closed die-cavity the process is able to convert raw

material into the net-shape of the component 1,17]. The concept

of forming is highly flexible as the

flange geometry is determined by local features of the die, which may easily be exchanged [see also

Fig. l(b)]. Furthermore, since deformation is effected by punch(es) working on only a fraction of the

total cross sectional area, considerably lower forming loads are required. In addition, the process

allows divided material to flow inside the die-cavity; the lower diameter of the mandrel inside the

die-cavity (inner die-cavity) works as a flow relief port and only limited build-up of the working

pressure occurs during the forging of a component 1,7].

Early investigations into the flanging of tubes confirmed that final component geometries may be

forged in a single stage. However, these studies highlighted forming limits using failure thresholds of

several descriptions, part of which relate to the instability of the tube wall inside the die cavity

1,9, 13-15]. Although the tube in general remains

stable when the gap height, t, is low compared to

the wall thickness, w, of the tube, defect free forming of tubes by injection forging was unsuccessful

until Enghave I-13] showed that inward material flow inside the die-cavity is essential for avoiding

the occurrence of skin inclusions or folds. Until then only mandrels with uniform diameter had been

considered 1,1, 2, 8, 9, 16]. Building on this observation Andersen and Andersen 1,14] identified the

major process parameters as the ratio between inner and outer tube diameter, dl/do and the ratio

between gap height and wall thickness, t/w. Experiments were performed with E1CM aluminium

tubes of different diameter ratios. These were injected into an annular space with various gap

heights. Deformation, ~, was measured as the injected tube length (total: 2/e) relative to the die-cavity

gap height, t.

The research identified four different modes of material flow ]-refer to Fig. 2(b)]. While modes

1 and 2 are admissible for the production of sound components, modes 3 and 4 were considered

non-acceptable; the criterion for rejection was the incidence of defects in the tube wall outside the

original inner diameter di, in this case a horizontal fold. The results were outlined in the formability

diagram shown in Fig. 2(a).

It can be observed from Fig. 2(a) that injection forging of components requiring nominal gap

heights, t/w > 1.6 is not possible for any diameter ratio.

As in the case of injection forging solid materials, it was expected that the practicable range for the

injection forging of tubular materials could be extended by the introduction of a preforming stage.

Figure 3(a) shows a possible preforming geometry 1' 18] to enable the extension of this range. As may

be observed, from the finite element simulations and corresponding metal experiments in Fig. 4,

a radical change in the material flow is induced allowing the conversion from a non-acceptable mode

3 to a sound mode 1 material flow.

Essentially, the preforming consists of the forging of a flange on the inner diameter of the tube so

as to increase the wall thickness of the tube locally, resulting in a more stable behaviour of the tube

An investigation into the preforming of tubes 509 (a) (b) di/do raode- I ) mode-2 l
An investigation into the preforming of tubes
509
(a)
(b)
di/do
raode-
I
)
mode-2
l
t/w=l.2
~)
=
100~.
L/w=I.6
~
=
60%
0.7
O.S
EXP.
0.5
1
Q.4-
mode--a
<
mode-4
L/w=2.0
(
=
t/w=2.8
~:
=
75Z
I00~.
0.3-
)
)
)
0.2
Symbols
derive
from
METAL EXP.
O. 1
~
METAL EXP,
--
pLAST2
,,, ,
00
,
,
,
,
,
,
,
,
,
,
,
,
,
,
m
0.0
0.4
0,8
1.2
1.6
2.0
2.4
2.8
t/W

Fig. 2. (a) Formability limit diagram for single stage

injection forging: the material flow as a function of the

flange-to-wall-thickness and diameter ratio, ¢ = 100%; (b) experimental (and theoretical) flange profiles for

different ratios of the flange-to-wall-thickness,di/do = 0.571. All experimental data from Ref. [14].

  • (a) Co)

@

1

2

b.

)-

tt

to

di

....

do

Fig. 3. (a) Tool geometry and set-up for injection forging with preformingas suggested in Ref. [18]; (b) general

tool geometry, nominal gap height: ti/w and to~w, nominal exit rounding radius: ri/q and ro/to, inclination of die

cavity: 2ai/ti and 2ao/to.

wall inside the die-cavity during subsequent deformation. Outward material flow is initially con- strained by a (preforming) ring which is removed when the tube is injection forged into an annular space or a closed die-cavity [Fig. 3(a)]. In connection with this a more general definition of the geometrical process parameters was proposed, shown in Ref. [20] [Fig. 3(b)]. Accordingly, the preform geometry is described by the inclination, 2ai/q, of the conical part of the mandrel inside the die-cavity. Although the preforming operation under normal circumstances implies complete filling of the inner die-cavity, it was found that skin-inclusion and dead-metal zone formation does not cause problems for the injection of moderate material volumes (¢ ~< 100%). This might seem contradictory to what Enghave prescribed in terms of the necessity for divided material flow inside the die-cavity.

510

D.

Colla et

al.

Nevertheless numerical analysis, using animation as a post processor [-21], indicates that

upsetting

of the material near the mandrel inside the die-cavity, allows new material entering from the

injection chamber, to flow inward. This may also be observed from Fig. 4(b) where the aspect ratio of

the inner equatorial elements changes considerably during injection in the second phase of the

process, indicating that the material is being upset. At the stage shown in Fig. 4(b) only insignificant

signs of dead-metal zone formation are observed. Consequently machining of the tube to the original

inner diameter would remove all material flaws.

Assuming that the design of preforms for the injection forging of tubes should be preceded by the

definition "forming limits" for the single stage injection forging of an outer flange into an annular

space, numerical as well as experimental investigations were carried out for the described preform

geometry. The objective was to determine if the design, found to be feasible for isolated process

parameters, is valid for obtaining sound components for flange to wall thickness ratios higher than

1.6 in general. Initially, this implied a study of the influence of the inclination, 2ai/ti, of the inner

die-cavity on the material flow, applying the finite element method for a whole range of the process

parameters identified earlier. Finite element models conditioned on the basis of the previous

experimental work [14], were utilized in order to build forming limit line diagrams in terms of di/do,

t/w and 2ai/ti. From this work several modes of material flow were identified and experimental tests

in aluminium could, in a second phase, be carried out for strategically important parameter

combinations in order to support the findings from the numerical analysis.

2.

FINITE

ELEMENT

MODEL

A finite element model of the injection forging process had been conditioned [15] using the

existing experimental results derived for mixtures of forming parameters for a single-stage injection

forging operation [14]. From Fig. 2(b), where a comparison between theoretical and actual flange

profiles can be made, it appears that the model is capable of replicating all four modes of

deformation found in the experiment. Besides a general tendency of the finite element model to be

slightly conservative, excellent agreement was found in predicting the formability limit for the

injection forging of tubes with different diameter- and flange-to-wall-thickness ratio [see also

Fig. 2(a)].

Basic equations

The finite element program PLAST2 utilised for the analysis is a special purpose program

developed at Instituto Superior Trcnico [22] to perform two-dimensional rigid-plastic/viscoplastic

analysis of bulk metal forming processes, based on the finite element flow formulation [23-24]. The

material is treated in a similar way to an incompressible fluid, and elastic response is neglected,

simplifying the analysis and offering additional computational advantages.

The flow formulation is based on one of the extreme principles due to Hill's work [25]. The weak

form of this principle leads to the following equation in terms of the arbitrary variation of the

velocity:

fv~dV + l,; fv~Vb~vdV- fsFFi3u,dS =O

(1)

where V is the control volume limited by the surface Sv and SF, on which velocity and traction are

prescribed, respectively, and K is a large positive constant penalizing the volumetric strain-rate

component, ~v, in order to enforce incompressibility. It can be shown that the average stress is given

by

am = K~v.

(2)

The effective stress, #, and the effective strain rate, ~, are defined, respectively, by

# =

3

t

~a,j),

t

~ = ~kij)

(3)

where a'i~ is the deviatoric stress tensor and ~ij the deviatoric strain-rate tensor.

Following the standard finite element discretization procedure, the control volume, V, is dis-

critized into M four-node linear isoparametric elements linked through N nodal points. In each

An investigation into the preforming of tubes

51]

(a)

(b)

13%

P formin --

13%

100%

(

=

100%

(c)

(d)

r/rrl

Fig. 4. Two stages of(a) single-stage injection forging (mode 3); (b) Injection forging with preforming (mode 1). Photographic details of corresponding experimental flanges in aluminium; (c) single-stage injection forging

(mode 3); and (d) and with preforming, showing as well computed flow lines (mode l--Flaws no critical),

2a/t =

0.4. (dl,/'do =

0.571, t/w =

2.0).

An investigationinto the preformingof tubes

513

element the velocity distribution can be represented in vectorial form by

u =

Nv

(4)

where N is the matrix containing the shape functions Ni of the element and v is the nodal velocity vector. The strain-rate vector is then obtained from

=

By

(5)

where B is the strain-rate matrix. Equation (1) at elemental level results in the following set of non-linear algebraic equations with unknown velocities at the nodal points:

fv

~PvdV+/Cfv

,-~ ~

CTBvCTBdV -

,-,

fs

NTFdS + f' mk2NTtan-~NV~ldS =0,

~-,

js~

L Vo j

where

P

=

BTDB.

(6)

(7)

D is the matrix that relates the deviatoric stresses with the strain rates following the von Mises associated flow rule and C represents the vectorial form of the Kronecker delta. The last term of Eqn (6) is due to the contribution of friction following the method developd by Chen and Kobayashi [-26], where Vr represents the relative velocity between the material nodal points and the tool and k is the shear yield stress in pure shear. Employing the iterative Newton-Raphson method, Eqn (6) can be linearized into a set of 2N equations. Details of this procedure can be found elsewhere [23].

Modellin9 conditions

Based on the geometrical dimensions and material data given in Section 3 modelling conditions consisted of the discretization of the initial hollow billet with four-node axisymmetric elements, and of the dies with two node linear friction elements. Only one quarter of the geometry was considered using approximately 400 elements. The numerical simulation was accomplished through a sue- cession of several steps each of one modelling ~ = 21c/t = 1.0% increment of the initial gap height t. The convergence of the process was found to be very stable and the overall CPU time for a typical analysis was around 90 min on a PC 486DX-33 MHz.

3. EXPERIMENTAL EQUIPMENT, MATERIAL AND PROCEDURE

Equipment

Experiments were carried out using a hydraulic 2.5 MN AVERY universal press. Conversion of the single stroke press into a double acting press configuration was achieved using a sub-press (not

shown), which contained a set of rubber springs. Referring to Fig. 5 the tool consists of two-

compounded injection chambers, (IC) (do ---035 mm nominal bore), which were designed to

with-

stand pressures of up to 1200 MPa, four sets of punches (P) (di --010, 15, 20 and 25 mm) and seven sets of corresponding mandrels (M) with conical ends described by different inclinations, five sets of preforming rings (PFR) for constraining outward material flow while at the same time controlling the die-cavity gap height so that tests for t = 14, 15, 21, 25 and 28 mm are made possible, one preforming ring holder (PFRH) providing radial support for the split preforming rings and five sets of spacers (SP) with heights corresponding to the desired gap heights t to be investigated. In order to allow load recording during experiments, force was applied to the punches through two load cells based on traditional strain-gauge technology wired in a full Wheatstone bridge. Punch displacements were measured using a Penny & Giles, HLP 095/50/2K displacement transducer. A PC-based data logging system was used to record and store loads and displacements.

Material

The material employed in the experimental tests was an E1CM commercially pure aluminium, having the following stress strain relationship obtained by means of compression test carried out on

514

D. Colla et al.

ere P'Z~,~

X~ 7-/-/~ Injection

Y/////~ Forging

E~ ~

f

t

Fig. 5. Tool configuration for injection forging of tubular materials with preforming (left). (P) Punch, (M) Mandrel, (IC) Injection Container, (PFR) Preforming Ring, (PFRH) PreForming Ring Holder, and (SP)

Spacer.

Table 1. Experimentallytested parameter combinations

 

(di = 10 ram)

(di = 15 ram)

(di = 20 mm)

(di = 25 mm)

t/W \di/d o

0.286

0.429

0.571

0.714

(t = 25 mm)

(t

=

15 mm)

2ai/t

2ai/t

2.0

0.267

0.400

 

(t = 28 mm)

(t = 21 mm)

(t = 14 mm)

2ai/t

2ai/t

2ai/t

2.8

0.133

0.533

0.533

0.533

0.933

cylindrical specimens using a MoS2 paste for ensuring homogeneous deformation:

#

=

155(0.02 + ~)o.27

N

rnm 2

(8)

Friction was estimated by means of ring compression tests [-27] on ring test samples (6:3:2 proportions) prepared according to the lubrication procedure described in Section 3: the friction factor was found to be 0.2 according to calibration curves determined by finite element simulation.

Experimental procedure

Hollow billets with different initial length and diameter were manufactured so as to allow the following experiments indicated in Table 1. The initial lengths, lo = 84, 85, 91, 95 and 98 mm of the tube are selected so that the tube length inside the injection chamber before deformation is kept constant (70 mm) independent of the die-cavity gap height t. Before being inserted into the injection chambers, the specimens were rolled in pure zinc stearate. The desired die-cavity gap height was achieved by placing the splitted preforming ring, supported by the preforming ring holder, between the two injection chambers. Material was then initially injected into the inner die-cavity until the desired preform geometry was achieved. Subsequently the preforming ring was removed and three cylindrical spacers having the same height as the chosen preforming ring were introduced between the injection chambers in order to control the flange

An investigationinto the preformingof tubes

515

thickness upon further material injection. Experiments took place at constant punch velocity of 0.15 mm/s. Specimens corresponding to around 5-30 (preformed), 80, 100, 125 and 150% relative de- formation, ¢, were forged for each parameter combination. These were milled along the centre- line, ground, polished and etched in Tucker's reagent (15% HF, 45% HNO3, 15% HCL and 25% H20) to enable macro graphic analysis of the material flow inside the tube wall. The flow pattern may hereby be characterised and eventual flaws or folds in the deformation zone detected.

4. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The objective of introducing a preforming stage into the process sequence, was to allow the forming of components featuring relatively thick outer flanges, t/w > 1.6, while avoiding the development of the characteristic horizontal fold observed during single stage injection forging.

For this purpose a simple tool geometry was chosen; the gap height of inner and outer die cavity being identical, ti = to = t (and 2ao/to = ~ ), and the exit corners of the injection chamber being

sharp, r i ------- ro = 0, refer to

Fig. 5. Changes of the tool geometry, so that to > ti, showed a negative

effect on the material flow; more unstable behaviour of the tube. Further, for simulations with ti > to, only a negligible change of the material flow (compared to h = to) was found. Increases in the exit radius lowered the forming load. However, as the objective was to enable the forging of flanges with the maximum nominal gap height, t/w, any increase in the radius, ro, will cause a more outward material flow, thus, initiating the horizontal fold in the tube wall characteristic for modes 3 and 4 [Fig. 2(b)].

Finite element results

The final results of the numerical simulations have for clearness been summarized in a three dimensional formability limit diagram [Fig. 6(a)]; the criterion being the presence of any fold or skin inclusion outside the initial inner diameter, di, of the tube.

From the diagram

it is apparent that a certain

inclination, (2ai/t)min of the preform geometry is

required for obtaining an acceptable material flow. For increasing nominal gap height up to approximately t/w = 2.4, this value, (2ai/t)mio, increases. Above t/w = 2.4, the minimum inclination, (2a~/t)min ~ 0.4, seems to be practicable independent of the diameter ratio of the tube; making up the limit for the necessary increase in the wall thickness required to obtain a stable behaviour of the tube

wall. For values of 2ai/t lower than (2ai/t)min the tube will buckle (mode 3) so that a fold develops to radii higher than di [see also Fig. 6(b)]. Further it may be observed that for diameter ratios up to di/do = 0.571 a maximum in-

clination, (2ai/t)

exists. This limit, which is seen to be dependent on both the nominal

.... gap height and the diameter ratio, is defined by a flow failure occurring on the inside of the tube where the material has lost contact with the mandrel [-see Fig. 6(d)]. This phenomenon (mode 1") sets the forming limit for increasing nominal gap height, t/w, so that for dido ~<0.571 tube ~ s may only be forged up to a certain nominal gap height; the value being dependent on the tube diameter ratio. For d~/do = 0.714 this limit was not determined. In general terms however it

may

be started that if the inclination 2a~/t is chosen in between these limit values (2ai/t)mio and

(2ai/t)max an acceptable material flow can be achieved. The

simulation example shown in Fig. 6(c)

indicates that skin inclusion may occur, but as seen these are predicted to be restricted to radii smaller than the original inner diameter. Hence, the component is sound according to the adopted rejection criterion. For increasing nominal gap height, especially above t/w = 2.8, the outer flange profile assumes a more and more concave shape [see also Figure 6(e)]. In relation to closed-die forging of flange geometries with radial cavity extremities placed near the equatorial symmetry line, as illustrated in Fig. l(b) this might result in skin inclusions or folds during form filling. However, if instead the cavity extremities are concentrated further away from the equatorial symmetry line, a concave flange profile must be considered favourable in terms of form filling. In general the established limit line diagram indicates that improvements in formability through preforming are especially high for the flanging of tubes with high diameter ratio, di/do. The

516

D. Colla et aL

 
 

(a)

 

'a

'

 

Jl

....

r,',

 

i

i

i

 

i

i

i

i

w

I

i

 

Off"

'

-~"

....

:""

 

(b)

(el

(d)

(e)

 

Mode 3:

~

Mode 1:

 

)

Mode 1":

 

Fig. 6.

(a) Formability limit line diagram established from finite element analysis as a function of nominal gap

height,

diameter

ratio and preform die inclination, ~ = 100%. Predicted material flow

for different inclinations

(t/w = 2.8, di/do = 0.429, ~ = 100%); (b) mode 3 (2a~/t too low); (c) acceptable flow (2ai/t appropriate);

(d)

non-admissible flow (2ai/t too high); and (e) concave flange profile for high nominal gap height (t/w = 3.2,

di/do = 0.714, 2ai/t = 0.533).

p

%

__

8

7

  • 5 oj

6

4

3

2

1

0

o~//t/

~-o--~

 

~ o °o

~ n

~

/~/~0

0 0

0

0

~

0

--experimental

 
 

2Lr

1

I

I

I

I

t

I

I

t

I

I

£-~

[%

]

  • 0 20

40

60

80

100

120

140

160

180

200

Fig. 7. Calculated relative punch pressure for simulation and experiment, as a function of the relative deformation of the tube for the injection forging with preforming, t/w = 2.0, di/do = 0.571.

behaviour of the preformed tube wall is therefore naturally more satisfactory in terms of instability, for tubes with relatively small wall thickness, as may be seen by comparing the simulation results for dl/do = 0.429 [Fig. 6(c)] and di/do = 0.714 [Fig. 6(e)-]. Although not so significant, the same tendency was observed for conventional injection forging without preforming [see Fig. 2(a)]; for

An investigation into the preforming of tubes

517

~/t

12

I0

0.8

0,6

04

02

O0

0.0

dl/d o --0.206

(a)

2ai/ l

1.2

10

0.8

0.6

0.4

u~

02

1.2

2.0

2fl

36

4.4

5.2

6.0

6.8

7.8

t/w

O0

0.0

di/d

o =0.429

!

i

l

)

J

J

)J~

r

1.2

20

2.8

3.6

44

52

60

6.8

76

t/W

2ai/t

12

di/do=0.571

ai/t

1.2

10

0.8

06

)1

>)

})

I1))I)~

)1))))

)1)))]1)1))~

10

0.8

fl.fl

D.4

~)))))i)

F

0.4

02

0.0

O0

i

12

20

28

3.6

44

52

6.0

68

7.6

t/w

0.2

0.0

0.0

1.87

di/d

0 =0,714

)

]

)

)

)

)

I

t

I

{

}

)

1

i

)

)

/

1

)

)

8,4

)~

1.3

20

28

3.6

44

52

6.0

6.8

7,5

t/w

(b)

(e)

(d)

(e)

~=100%

~=98%

~---97%

~=102%

Fig. 8. (a) Forming limit line diagrams showing the material flow, as a function of nominal gap height and preform die inclination, for the four diameter ratios examined, ~ = 100%. Parameter combinations encircled represent the experimentally tested (experimental result in box). Photographic details of flanges for: (b) mode 3 (2ai/t too low); (c) acceptable flow (2a~/t appropriate); (d) non-admissible flow (2a~/t too high), t/w = 2.8, di/do = -0.429; and (e) defect free flange for tube with small wall thickness (t/w = 2.8, di/do = 0.714, 2al/t = 0.533).

518

D. Colla

et al.

(a)

(b)

~=31%

~=102%

~,=150%

~,=150%

Fig. 9. (a) Several stages of flanging (left: preformed

t/w =

2.8, di/do

=

tube); (b) detail of flange revealing non-critical flaws, 0.714, 2ai/t = 0.533.

An investigationinto the preforming of tubes

519

the same flange to wall thickness ratio buckling problems are less likely to occur if the diameter ratio

is high, e.g. for t/w =

1.6.

Experimental results

Based on the load recorded during experiments and predicted by the finite element model for the injection forging with preforming, the relative punch pressure, p/tro, was calculated and plotted as a function of the relative deformation of the tube, ~ (Fig. 7). Numerical and experimental curves compare well. Two phases may be distinguished: the preforming stage and the actual injection forging stage. In the former the punch pressure increases steeply as the preforming cavity is being filled up. Subsequently, after removal of the preforming ring to allow the forming of the outer flange, the relative punch pressure grows moderately from a lowered level. The main difference between the two sets of curves is caused by deflection of the tool and material evasion resulting in a delay of the peak of the experimental pre-filling curve. As may be noticed, values of the relative punch pressure higher than six times the initial yield stress are reached. When designing a tool for producing a flange into a annular space, major specifications are therefore to be calculated on the basis of the preforming stage. A more detailed representation of the theoretical formability limit diagram, displaying the observed material flow for each of the investigated parameter combinations, is given in Fig. 8(a). The symbols utilised are identical to those from Fig. 2 with the addition for the material flow previously identified in Fig. 6(d). In the same diagram the results of the experimental tests are indicated (in box). In general, the theoretical predictions compare well with the experimental results. Consequently, it is seen from the experiments performed for diameter ratio dl/do = 0.429, that for obtaining an acceBptable material flow, the inclination 2ai/t of the preform die-cavity must be chosen within a minimum and maximum limit. Thus a non-acceptable mode 3 material flow can be identified for a too low value (2ai/t = 0.133) of this parameter [see also Fig. 8(b)]. Similarly a too high inclination (2ai/t = 0.933) results in the flow failure identified earlier from finite element analysis [see also Fig. 8(d)]. For an inclination (2ai/t = 0.533) chosen in between these limit values, an acceptable material flow can be obtained [see also Fig. 8(c)]. The photographic detail of the flange reveals the occurrence of skin inclusions or flaws on the inner diameter of the tube. However as anticipated from the finite element simulation, Fig. 6(c), the extent of these flaws is not critical. Furthermore a non-forseen central fold, characteristic for a mode 2 material flow, may be identified. However as the extent of the fold is restricted to radii smaller than the original inner diameter of the tube, the component is still considered sound. The conclusion, made from finite element analysis, that improvements in formability by preform- ing are higher for tubes with relatively small wall thickness appears to be correct. For the same flange to wall thickness ratio, t/w = 2.8, a more satisfactory material flow is therefore achieved for the highest diameter ratio (d~/do = 0.714 compared to 0.429), as seen by comparing the photo- graphic details of the flanges in Fig. 8(e) and 8(c), respectively. In the first, no material flaws could be detected for a relative deformation of ~ = 102% and acceptable material flow was obtained up to at least ~ = 150% [see also Fig. 9(b)]. Figure 9(a) shows the progressive forging of the same flange. In conclusion some guide lines for the flanging of tubes can be established. In general a value L exists so that components featuring flanges with thickness:

t/w <~L: may be formed by single stage injection forging; and

t/w > L: should be preformed prior to the forging of the outer flange,

where L

=

1.2 for low, and

L

=

1.6 for high diameter ratios.

Whenever preforming is required it is recommended to choose the smallest possible die inclination (2ai/t),,in according to the formability limit diagram given in Fig. 8(a) [refer also to Fig. 3(b)]. For most cases a value of (2ai/t)~,i. = 0.4 can be assumed.

520

D. Colla et al.

5. CONCLUSIONS

In continuation of previous work on the flanging of tubes by injection forging, numerical as well

as experimental investigations have been carried out to examine the feasibility of preforming tubes in

order to overcome formability limits set by folding failures appearing in the tube wall due to

instability.

The objective has been to set up actual preform design rules for the injection forging of tubular

components featuring flange geometries with thickness higher than 1.2-1.6 times the wall thickness

of the tube; for lower values of this ratio, preforming is not required for obtaining a sound product if

only inward material flow inside the die-cavity is allowed.

Assuming the results obtained for the injection forging of tubes into an annular space to be valid

for closed-die forging of industrial components, it may be concluded that the conducted experiments

in commercially pure aluminium provide evidence for the forming of sound tubular flanged

components up to a flange-to-wall-thickness ratio of at least 2.8.

Optimisation of the preform geometry carried out with respect to the major process para-

meters has shown that the considered preform design, which involves forging of a geometrically

simple inner flange on the tube, results in a more stable behaviour of the tube for all diameter ratios

(di/do) of the tube. The effect is more pronounced for high diameter ratios and the largest

improvements in formability are therefore found to occur for the flanging of tubes with relatively

small wall thickness.

Acknowledoements--The advice and provision of facilities by Dr R. Balendra of the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, is gratefully acknowledged.

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