The thermo-mechanical forming research within Solid Mechanics at Luleå University of Technology is focused on phenomena connected to the mechanics of the material forming process and the resulting material properties. The aim is to predict the material and process response during the complete process as well as the final material state and properties of the component. The tools are numerical methods, e.g. finite element methods, for large deformation mechanical deformation analyses, including thermo-mechanical coupling as well as modelling of friction and heat transfer in contact interfaces. Achievements made in the research are based on long term industrial collaborations and the focus on industrial manufacturing processes and the resulting component properties.
An example of successful research in cooperation with industry is the research concerning modelling and simulation of the press hardening process. This research has mainly been conducted in cooperation with Gestamp Hardtech, formerly SSAB Hardtech, and its customers in the automotive industry such as Volvo and Ford. Gestamp Hardtech is the world leading company in automotive ultra-high strength components manufactured by the press hardening process. The company had the first patents and industrialised the process and introduced the first press hardened automotive component in 1986.
The knowledge and methodological framework of modelling and simulation has now reached the point where it is possible to simulate a complete thermo-mechanical process such as the press hardening process and the methods are implemented in the industrial product development process. The developed models and methods are implemented in the commercial FE-code LS-Dyna, used world-wide in e.g the automotive industry for forming and crash simulations.
High temperature forming of titanium sheets for aircraft engine applications is another application of the research at Solid Mechanics. In two consecutive projects within the Swedish National Aeronautical research programmes NFFP4 and NFFP5, new thermo-mechanical forming processes have been developed based on material modelling and detailed numerical analyses. Based on the technologies developed within the consortium, Degerfors Formnings AB (Deform), ITE Fabriks AB, Permascand AB, Volvo Aero Corporation, IUC i Olofström AB and Luleå University of Technology, commercial components have been produced for the new generations of aircraft engines that will be in operation shortly.