STTR Phase II: Development of an Innovative Warm Hydroforming System for Lightweight Alloys

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0923967
Agency Tracking Number: 0741042
Amount: $498,022.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
8175 Century Boulevard, Chaska, MN, 55318
DUNS: 010474252
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Patrick Cain
 (952) 856-4210
Business Contact
 Patrick Cain
Title: PhD
Phone: (952) 856-4210
Research Institution
 Ohio State University Research Foundation
 David Doty
 1960 Kenny Rd
Columbus, OH, 43210 8047
 (614) 292-3732
 Federally funded R&D center (FFRDC)
This Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Phase II project seeks to develop analytical techniques for finite element simulations of the warm hydroforming of aluminum, magnesium and other metals. This project will develop and test fixtures and instrumentation. The project objectives will be to develop methods and a system for simulating parts and validating designs prior to prototyping and to develop advanced research warm hydroforming tooling with optical measurement capabilities to validate the simulation and modeling method. Warm hydroforming is of interest because many metals have improved forming properties at moderately elevated temperatures, 450 ýýC or less. Warm hydroforming differs from superplastic forming with a focus on conventional alloys and short forming times. Warm hydroforming also requires lower forces and pressures so the cost of heating can be offset by reduced mechanical system requirements. The broader impact/commercial potential from this technology will be the ability for manufacturers to use lighter, more fuel efficient materials without sacrificing strength, (automotive and aerospace industries) or to obtain shapes not possible at room temperature. The value proposition offered by warm hydroforming is: lighter weight materials can be formed with similar strength characteristics, allowing for more efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles and aircraft; greater deformations can be achieved without tearing or fracturing reducing the need for machining or joining operations; allows the creation of many features, such as mounting points or reinforcing ribs, in a single step; eliminate process steps no longer needed with warm hydroforming since parts are formed in one operation; and lower up front capital costs as the force required to form materials at elevated temperatures is much lower than at room temperature and this translates into significantly smaller, less expensive presses and related equipment. While automotive warm hydroforming applications have had high visibility, many other industries such as heating and air conditioning, recreational vehicles and building products where aluminum components are used could benefit from this technology and by introducing this technology into those industries may make them more competitive and efficient. This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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