The development of a microscale strain measurement system applied to sheet bulge hydroforming

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Micro and multiscale sheet metal forming processes represent new and attractive solutions to many manufacturing problems. However, evaluating the strains in these products is a difficult endeavor. Larger organizations are utilizing commercially available microscale digital image correlation systems to measure the strains in microscale parts or on macroscale parts with critical microscale features. The cost of these strain measurement systems is preventing smaller research and development organizations from entering this challenging area or they are forgoing the ability to determine strains. The present paper describes the development of a method for creating microscale grids and measuring strains on microscale parts or microscale locations on larger parts. The method developed was able to measure true strains up to 0.618 for square grids that are 127 μm measured from center-to-center. Microscale strains resulting from sheet bulge hydroforming experiments using 11 mm, 5 mm, and 1 mm diameter dies were evaluated and material properties of the sheet metal were estimated based upon the strains measured in conjunction with FEA simulations and compared to analytical solutions and microscale tension tests. The material properties determined using the strains and FEM approach were consistent with the other methods. © 2014 The Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

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Journal of Manufacturing Processes