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IDDRG 2014 Conference June 1 4, 2014, Paris, France

* Corresponding author: 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G1, Canada, +1 519 888 4567,
rohit.verma@uwaterloo.ca



EFFECT OF WARM FORMING ON SPRINGBACK OF ALUMINUM
ALLOY SHEET


Rohit Verma
1*
, Srihari Kurukuri
1
, Michael J. Worswick
1
, Sooky Winkler
2


1
University of Waterloo, Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering,
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
2
Dana Canada Corporation, Oakville, Ontario, Canada


ABSTRACT: This paper studies the springback behavior of aluminum alloy brazing sheet formed at
elevated temperature. The 0.2 mm sheet considered in this research consists of a modified AA3003
core with a clad AA4045 layer on one side. The part geometry comprises a shallow U-channel geometry
with cross-sections representative of cooling channels commonly used in thermal management systems. Of
particular interest is the potential for warm forming techniques to reduce springback. The experiments are
carried out using heated dies and pre-heated sheet metal at several temperatures (25, 100, 250 and 300 C),
with varying initial material temper (O, H22, H24) conditions. The profile radius of the cooling channels is
also varied, with profile radius to sheet thickness ratios of 4 and 6, to characterize the effect of feature
geometry on springback. The results of this initial study show a decrease in springback at higher forming
temperatures, particularly for the higher hardness tempers.

KEYWORDS: Springback, Warm Forming, Aluminum alloy AA3003, Sheet metal


1 INTRODUCTION
Recently, stringent government policies on envi-
ronmental emissions and market requirements for
cost and fuel efficient cars have led automotive
manufacturers to implement lightweight sheet
materials and cost effective forming techniques.
The excellent high strength-to-weight ratio, good
corrosion resistance and recycling potential offered
by aluminum alloy sheet make it an important
candidate material to be used in automotive appli-
cations. However, many aluminum alloys exhibit
relatively low room temperature formability and
higher springback compared to conventional steel,
for example. Warm forming is a promising pro-
cessing route that has been considered to improve
the formability of aluminum alloy sheet in which
sheet forming is performed at an elevated forming
temperature [1-6].

One advantage in warm forming of aluminum
alloys is that elevated temperature modifies the
stress state in the formed parts, leading to a de-
crease of springback. In recent years, considerable
progress has been made in understanding spring-
back at room temperature [7-11]. Very few stud-
ies, however, have studied springback under warm
forming conditions. Some include the work of
Grze et al. [12], who studied springback of split
rings cut from cylindrical cups deep drawn at ele-
vated temperatures. Kim et al. [13], developed
FEA models to analyze springback for a simple
draw bending process. Moon et. al. [14], investi-
gated the effect of tool temperature on the reduc-
tion of springback. Furthermore, Kim and Kim
[15] report that springback decreases rapidly up to
200 C. Nguyen et al. [16] created models to pre-
dict springback in V-bend samples at room and
elevated temperatures.

In the current work, the effect of temperature on
the springback behavior of a clad aluminum alloy
brazing sheet is investigated. U-channel forming
experiments are performed between room tempera-
tures and 300 C after which the final measured
geometry and nominal target geometry are com-
pared to ascertain springback. The U-channel
geometry was selected to represent that seen in
cooling channels in various automotive heat ex-
changer components.

2 EXPERIMENT
The experiments considered 0.2 mm (0.008 in.)
thick aluminum brazing sheet, comprising a modi-
fied AA3003 core with an AA4045 clad layer on
IDDRG 2014 Conference June 1 4, 2014, Paris, France

one side. A range of initial strain hardened temper
(annealed, H22 and H24) conditions were consid-
ered.
2.1 TEST SET-UP
The geometry chosen is comprised of a U-shaped
channel as shown in Fig. 1 with custom die com-
ponents. The channel width was 14.3 mm (0.56 in.)
and depth was 3.2 mm (0.125 in.). Die profile radii
of 0.8 (0.03 in.) and 1.2 mm (0.05 in.) were con-
sidered, providing R/t ratios of 4 and 6, respective-
ly. The blank size for each sample was 101.6 mm x
38.1 mm (4 in. x 1.5 in.)


Fig. 1 Sample test geometry with the U-Shaped
bend, used for this parametric study.
The tests were performed on an Instron tensile
frame with custom die components. Die alignment
was achieved using dowel pins press fit into the
bottom die plate. The top die had corresponding
mating holes. The die set assembly is shown in Fig.
2.


Fig. 2 Die set assembly with interchangeable die
plates, heating blocks, insulation and cool-
ing blocks.
The die plates are designed to be interchangeable
for testing multiple geometries and shapes. Since
the forming conditions are at elevated tempera-
tures, provisions for cooling channels were made to
prevent over-heating of the Instron machine com-
ponents such as the load cell. The machine set-up
is shown in Fig. 3.


Fig. 3 Die set-up assembly installed on the In-
stron Tensile Frame.
Cartridge heaters were used to heat the die plates.
The blank was heated by placing it on the bottom
die plate and lowering the top die (punch) so that it
is in contact with the blank. Note that no contact
force was applied between the blank and tooling
during blank pre-heating.
2.2 SPRINGBACK MEASUREMENT
Springback was measured on cross-sectional imag-
es of the formed samples (Fig. 4) taken by a stereo-
scope camera. These images were then processed
using 2D CAD software by tracing the formed
profile and obtaining the deviation from the nomi-
nal profile. For this initial study, springback was
characterized primarily in terms of the angle meas-
ured between the sidewall of the formed sample
and the nominal geometry. The steps for tracing
the profile are illustrated in Fig. 5. The resulting
springback angle is dimensioned in Fig. 6.


Fig. 4 Cross-sectional image of the formed
samples taken by a sterescope camera.
Bottom
Die
Heating
Block
Insulation
Cooling
Block
Top Die
Cartridge
Heaters
Channels
for Chilled
Water
IDDRG 2014 Conference June 1 4, 2014, Paris, France


Fig. 5 Steps for tracing profile of the formed sam-
ple.

Fig. 6 Measurement of springback angle at the
sidewall of the formed sample.
2.3 PARAMETERIC STUDY FACTORS
Factors considered for this study include tempera-
ture, bend radius, material initial temper and heat-
ing time. These factors and the corresponding val-
ues are listed in Table 1.

Formability of aluminum can be improved at ele-
vated temperatures [1-6, 17-18]. This also has the
added benefit of reducing residual stresses after
unloading thus lower springback. Of particular
interest in the current study is quantification of any
reduction in springback as a function of forming
temperature. In addition, the initial material temper
directly affects the matrix stresses and can also
influence springback. A higher bend radius will
result in lower bending strains. Lastly, the heating
time of blanks is considered for cycle time optimi-
zation. Forge Ease Al278 mixed with alcohol,
(hereafter referred to as Fuchs lubricant), was
applied on all blank samples prior to forming.
Table 1: Factors considered in the parametric
study.
Temper Temperature
(C)
Heating
Time
(sec)
Bend
Radius
(mm)
O
H22
H24
RT
100
200
300
40
120
0.8
1.2
3 RESULTS
3.1 HEATING CURVE
Selected samples were instrumented with thermo-
couples to determine the time to reach forming
temperature. The locations of the thermocouples on
the blank while taking the readings are illustrated
in Fig. 7. Measurements were performed consider-
ing the highest tooling temperature of 300C. The
top die was lowered such that it was in contact with
the blank after which the temperature rise was
recorded. The measured heating curves are shown
in Fig. 8 from which it can be seen that the blank
temperature reached steady state at around 35-40
seconds.


Fig. 7 Location of the thermocouples heating time
data recorded at the side and middle of the
blank.

Fig. 8 Measured blank heating curves for a tool-
ing temperature of 300C.
3.2 EFFECT OF TEMPERATURE
Fig. 9 plots the effect of temperature on the spring-
back angle for the three material tempers. The
springback data shown is an average of three repe-
titions of each testing condition. The scatter bands
correspond to the range in measured springback
angle for each condition. The data in Fig. 9 corre-
sponds to a die profile radius of 0.8 mm and use of
the Fuchs lubricant.

3.0
IDDRG 2014 Conference June 1 4, 2014, Paris, France


Fig. 9 Springback of three different tempers after
forming plotted as function of temperature.
Die radius of 0.8 mm.
The H22 and H24 tempers show a decrease in
springback at elevated forming temperatures.
However, the O temper showed no significant
trend. Moreover, the springback values converge
at 300C, with all three tempers having similar
springback. H24 exhibits the largest springback
after forming since it is the temper with the highest
strength compared to the other two tempers.
Springback at a particular temperature correlates
well with the initial material temper with stronger
hardened tempers exhibiting greater springback as
seen in Fig. 10.


Fig. 10 Comparison of springback behaviour for
three tempers at different forming
temperatures. Die radius of 0.8mm and
with lubrication.
3.3 EFFECT OF BEND RADIUS
The effect of bend radius on springback was
studied by considering two bend radii 0.80 mm
(0.03 in.) and 1.20 mm (0.05 in.). The measured
springback for both radii is shown in Fig. 11 for
each temper. A higher R/t ratio resulted in lower
springback.

Fig. 11 Springback results from using different
bend radii for O, H22 and H24 tempers
with lubrication.
3.4 EFFECT OF HEATING TIME
The effect of heating time on springback was also
considered. Samples of H22 and H24 temper were
heated for 40 seconds prior to forming rather than
the 2 minute interval considered for the majority of
the experiments. This test was conducted to ob-
serve the effect of shorter cycle time on spring-
back. The resulting springback for both heating
times is shown in Fig. 12.


Fig. 12 Comparison of springback of H24 and H22
samples heated for 40 or 120 seconds. Die
radius of 0.8 mm.
Springback for a shorter heating time is compara-
ble to that for the longer heating time. Therefore, a
shorter heating time is recommended for reduced
cycle time.

4 DISCUSSION
The gathered data shows promising results for
improving springback through warm forming.
However, some issues with the present experiments
are discussed as following.

One concern that arises for the work hardened H22
and H24 material tempers is that the reduction in
springback may also be a result of annealing, rather
than being due solely to forming at elevated tem-
perature. A typical annealing temperature for
IDDRG 2014 Conference June 1 4, 2014, Paris, France

AA3003 alloys is 413 C [19, 20] and some recov-
ery can be expected due to the higher energy avail-
able at the warm forming temperatures, leading to
recovery processes through dislocation annihilation
and rearrangement. However, the available energy
is thought not to be sufficient to promote recrystal-
lization, particularly for such short durations, since
the forming temperature is well below the anneal-
ing temperature [21].

To further investigate this issue, additional experi-
ments were conducted to assess whether recovery
was affecting the measured springback. H22 tem-
per samples were preheated to 300 C and then
cooled back to room temperature without forming.
These thermally-cycled samples were subsequently
formed at room temperature after which the
springback of the preheated sample was compared
to cold formed and warm formed samples. The
resulting springback from each is compared in Fig.
13. The degree of springback from the thermally-
cycled sample formed at room temperature was
comparable to that of the cold formed sample,
whereas the warm formed sample exhibited much
lower springback. From this comparison, it is
determined that the warm formed samples did not
experience significant softening from annealing
during preheating.


Fig. 13 Comparison of resulting springback in H22
temper samples which were warm formed,
preheated then cold formed and cold
formed (from left to right). Die radius of 0.8
mm.
One unexpected result in the current study was the
lack of measured trend in the springback for O
temper condition with respect to temperature (Fig.
9). In order to explore this further, the experiments
on the O temper material were repeated at various
temperatures. The new and old data are compared
in Fig. 14.


Fig. 14 Comparison of new and old springback
data for O temper with respect to tempera-
ture. Die radius of 0.8mm.
The repeat (new) data followed similar trends from
the first experiments. The lack of dependency of
the O temper results on forming temperature versus
that seen for the heavily work hardened H22 and
H24 tempers may be due to differences in the dis-
location structures and resulting differences in
thermal softening during deformation at elevated
temperatures. Springback is related to work hard-
ening as a result of plastic deformation during
forming [21]. The H22 and H24 tempers should
have a high dislocation density whereas the dislo-
cation density for the O temper condition is low.
Future work will see elevated temperature tensile
testing of the various temper conditions to ascertain
how thermal softening may be affected by initial
temper.

Another cause could be associated with the rather
soft material condition of the O temper at elevated
temperature, which makes this very thin material
susceptible to deformation during removal from the
die. During forming at elevated temperatures,
samples tend to get wedged in the bottom die.
These samples have to be taken out with some
applied force which may cause distortion of the
sample. On-going work will consider the addition
of a part ejection system in the tooling, with the
intent of limiting deformation during part removal.

5 CONCLUSION
The primary conclusion stemming from this work
is that forming of the current aluminium alloy
brazing sheet in the H22 and H24 tempers at ele-
vated temperature resulted in lower springback.
On-going work will consider other process varia-
bles as well as functional improvements in tooling
design to easily extract the samples without distor-
tion.

6 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Financial support from Dana Canada Corporation,
Automotive Partnership Canada (NSERC and
CFI), the Ontario Research Fund and the Canada
IDDRG 2014 Conference June 1 4, 2014, Paris, France

Research Chairs Secretariat is gratefully acknowl-
edged. In addition, the authors thank Eckhard
Budziarek and Ryan George for their experimental
support.

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