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Investigation of process parameters in superplastic free bulge forming

M. Sedighi (Manufacturing Engineering Department, School of Mechanical Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran)
M. Moattari (School of Mechanical Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 5 July 2011




Aerospace industry was pioneered in the use of superplastic forming (SPF) process. Weight saving is the most important need in this industry. For this reason, there is special attention paid to this method. Blow forming is a common method for SPF process. Process parameters such as temperature and pressure have significant effects on part accuracy, quality and desired characteristics. The purpose of this paper is to present a numerical and experimental investigation of process parameters in superplastic free bulge forming.


In this paper, superplastic free bulge forming of Al‐5083 has been studied. First, free bulge tests have been done at two different pressures. Bulge height variations were recorded for different pressure and temperature. The forming time was determined according to the forming pressure and temperature. Then, simulation of free bulge process has been carried out using creep behavior model at high temperature. Bulge height and thickness distribution are obtained at two different pressure settings. These results have been compared with experimental results presenting a good agreement. Also the effects of temperatures and pressure on the required process time are compared for a certain bulge height. Finally, thickness distribution profile for different temperatures, pressures and initial thicknesses have been studied.


A numerical and experimental investigation has been presented that can be used to study the process parameters. These findings show the effects of temperatures, pressure and initial thicknesses on sheet forming.


The results of this work show that higher temperature and forming pressure will reduce the required process time for a certain bulge height. Reduction of these parameters can improve thickness distribution. Also, by considering the effects of both pressure and temperature, it is shown that using lower forming pressure at higher temperature is more suitable for forming. The findings of this work can provide more understanding of the process for aircraft part designers and manufacturing process planners.



Sedighi, M. and Moattari, M. (2011), "Investigation of process parameters in superplastic free bulge forming", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 83 No. 4, pp. 208-212.



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