Superplastic forming (SPF) is an advanced manufacturing process where metallic sheets are heated to their superplastic region to be blow formed within a die set. The process allows for the forming of complex parts but it is typically restricted to low volume and high value products. Ceramic dies are a developing technology in the SPF domain as they offer lower production costs and shorter lead times than conventional metallic dies, thus reducing process costs. Ceramic dies, however, are limited for SPF applications due to their brittle nature. This paper presents a method to assess ceramic die wear which is based on a novel test rig developed at the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) where SPF die-blank interaction was replicated at laboratory scale. Controllable normal load and twist compression tests on different ceramic materials were carried out with a view to understanding their wear mechanisms and to ultimately identify methods to improve their wear resistance.
- superplastic forming
- ceramic die