February 10, 2010
Perfectly Shaped Solid Components
When metals are shaped, the materials they are made of are often damaged in the process. One cause of this is excessive press force, which cracks and perforates the material. By running simulations on a PC, research scientists can now calculate how to avoid component defects.
There are plenty of shiny new automobiles to see at the auto trade show. Over there stands a Porsche covered in gold leaf, and on the other side a Bordeaux-red Mercedes is presented. But behind all the glitz and glamour, the process involved in producing these luxury cars is long and arduous. The properties of the materials used are complex and a number of complications can arise during manufacture. The steel fabricators at the front end of the production chain have to negotiate the first hurdle. They shape solid pieces of metal to make sheets, tubes, rods and bars, which the car manufacturers then process further. In the shaping process the materials can suffer damage if they are excessively deformed, because the friction is too high or the temperature of the forming tool is not exactly right.
The software has already proved itself in actual practice. So far the experts have used their numerical simulation in cold-shaping processes in which the temperature of a tool is not a factor. In future the computer simulation will also be used for hot shaping.
Image Caption: The simulation shows the results of cold forging. An optimized tool geometry (bottom) keeps pore density low. (Ã© Fraunhofer IWM)
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