Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Mechanical Engineering

Research Associate







City and Guilds BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

38 results found

Zhang R, Shi Z, Shao Z, Yardley VA, Lin J, Dean TAet al., 2021, Biaxial test method for determination of FLCs and FFLCs for sheet metals: validation against standard Nakajima method, International Journal of Mechanical Sciences, Vol: 209, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 0020-7403

Recently, a biaxial test method comprising a cruciform specimen design and spatio-temporal method to determine the limit strains has been proposed for the determination of forming limit curves (FLCs) and fracture forming limit curves (FFLCs) for sheet metals. However, this test method has not yet been validated against the existing standard methods. In the present work, this biaxial test method has been applied to the aluminium alloy AA5754 for formability evaluation at room temperature and results from the biaxial test method have been compared with those from the standard Nakajima method. Theoretical analysis has been carried out to compare equi-biaxial tension cases for the two methods; a similar variation of thickness strain with radial distance normalised by the radius of the gauge area is found between the two methods. In the biaxial tests, decreasing the radius of the through-thickness dome profile, with which the gauge area is thinned, leads to fracture nearer the specimen centre but produces a less uniform strain distribution. Importantly, the major strains at necking on the FLC, as determined using the biaxial and the standard test methods, are almost the same in the plane-strain state, while in other strain states, the major strains are slightly lower for the biaxial method than that for the Nakajima method. An FFLC for AA5754 has also been determined using the biaxial test method, in which the major strain at fracture decreases with increasing strain ratio β from −0.5 to 0, while it changes only slightly when β > 0.

Journal article

Zhou W, Shao Z, Yu J, Lin Jet al., 2021, Advances and trends informing curved extrusion profiles, Materials, Vol: 14, Pages: 129-1603, ISSN: 1996-1944

Curved profiles/sections have been widely used for manufacturing lightweight structures with high stiffness and strength due to aerodynamics, structural properties, and design reasons. Structural components fabricated using curved aluminum profiles satisfy the increasing demands for products used in many high-technology industries such as aerospace, shipbuilding, high-speed rail train, and automobile, which possess the characteristics of lightweight, high strength/stiffness relative to weight, superior aerodynamics performance, and aesthetics. In this paper, the advances and trends in forming techniques of curved extrusion profiles of metal alloys have been reviewed. The curved profile forming techniques are classified into three major categories: conventional cold bending technique, stress/moment superposed cold bending technique, and extrusion-bending integrated forming technique. Processes for innovative development in the field of forming curved profiles are identified; the extrusion-bending integrated technique which can directly form the billets into curved profiles by one single extrusion operation possesses the full potential for further innovation. Due to the nature of the research to date, much of the work referred to relates to hollow circular and rectangular tube cross-sections.

Journal article

Zhang K, Shao Z, Daniel CS, Turski M, Pruncu C, Lang L, Robson J, Jiang Jet al., 2021, A comparative study of plastic deformation mechanisms in room-temperature and cryogenically deformed magnesium alloy AZ31, MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING A-STRUCTURAL MATERIALS PROPERTIES MICROSTRUCTURE AND PROCESSING, Vol: 807, ISSN: 0921-5093

Journal article

Zhang R, Shao Z, Shi Z, Dean TA, Lin Jet al., 2021, Effect of cruciform specimen design on strain paths and fracture location in equi-biaxial tension, Journal of Materials Processing Technology, Vol: 289, Pages: 1-16, ISSN: 0924-0136

Hot stamping technologies require new methods for evaluating formability of sheet metal under various forming conditions. Biaxial tensile testing method using a cruciform specimen has been used for the applications, but a suitable cruciform specimen design has not yet been accepted. One of the challenges in designing a specimen for formability tests is to ensure proportional equi-biaxial strain paths arise at the location of fracture initiation. In this study, after reviewing existing cruciform specimen designs, three different geometries of cruciform specimen, named Type I, Type II and Type III, were proposed. Using numerical analysis and practical experiments, fracture initiation locations and corresponding strain paths in the specimens were investigated under equi-biaxial tension. Numerical simulations were performed to optimise the dimensions of Type I specimen to achieve a relatively high strain level near the centre point of the specimen. Based on the optimised dimensions, equi-biaxial tensile tests were carried out on cruciform specimens with different geometries, and strain paths at the fracture initiation locations were compared and analysed. It was found that in all cruciform specimens, equi-biaxial strain state appears only near the centre point. In the Type I and Type II specimens, fracture never initiates near the centre point, but at a location in the fillet transition zone where major strain is higher than that at the centre point. The Type III specimens have the ability to initiate fracture near the centre point, and to produce proportional strain paths with strain ratio β close to 1 in equi-biaxial tension, 0 in plane-strain tension, and -0.5 in uniaxial tension at the locations of fracture initiation. The research provides a cruciform specimen design, Type III, which has high potential to be used for evaluating formability for sheet metal.

Journal article

Zhang R, Shi Z, Shao Z, Yardley V, Lin Jet al., 2021, An effective method for determining necking and fracture strains of sheet metals, MethodsX, Vol: 8, ISSN: 2215-0161

Biaxial tensile testing methods using cruciform specimens have been developed in the last few decades for the determination of forming limit diagrams (FLDs) and fracture forming limit diagrams (FFLDs) for sheet metals. One of the difficulties associated with this test geometry is the lack of a widely accepted method to determine the necking and fracture strains which are necessary to construct these diagrams. In this study, a novel spatio-temporal method has been proposed for the determination of necking and fracture strains. In the method, two rectangular zones: the base zone (BZ) and the reference zone (RZ) are selected at the location where fracture initiates. The zone RZ includes the zone BZ and both zones have the same side length in the direction parallel to the necking band but different side length in the perpendicular direction. By plotting the thickness reduction within RZ against that in BZ, the onset of localised necking can be determined by finding the intersection of the two straight lines fitted separately using the data in the initial and final stages of deformation. The corresponding limit strains are then determined using the strains within the zone BZ. The method has been successfully applied to uniaxial tensile tests on AA6082 and boron steel dog-bone specimens, and to equi-biaxial tensile tests on AA5754 cruciform specimens.

Journal article

Zhang R, Shi Z, Shao Z, Dean TA, Lin Jet al., 2021, A novel spatio-temporal method for determining necking and fracture strains of sheet metals, International Journal of Mechanical Sciences, Vol: 189, ISSN: 0020-7403

Forming limit diagrams (FLDs) and fracture forming limit diagrams (FFLDs) have been widely used to evaluate formability of sheet metals. There are many existing methods for determining localised necking strain and fracture strain necessary to construct these diagrams, however, none has been widely accepted and applied to the range of available formability testing methods, e.g. Nakajima tests and biaxial tensile tests. In this study, a novel spatio-temporal method is proposed and developed for determining the localised necking strain and the fracture strain in deformed sheet metals. In the method, localised necking is assumed to appear at the beginning of an increasing difference between average thickness strain within two rectangular zones where localised necking occurs. The effects of dimensions of the two zones on determined localised necking strains were investigated using uniaxial tensile tests for three sheet metals: AA7075, boron steel and AA6082, and the optimal dimensions are recommended to ensure accurate determinations. In comparison with several widely used existing methods, it was concluded that the novel method has greater simplicity, stability and accuracy in determining the localised necking strains. The method was also successfully applied to determine the localised necking strain and the fracture strain for AA5754 in biaxial tensile tests and it was demonstrated to be unaffected by noise and the Portevin–Le Châtelier (PLC) effect.

Journal article

Zhang R, Lin J, Shi Z, Shao Zet al., 2020, A new technique for characterising mechanical properties of materials under hot stamping conditions, 39th International Deep Drawing Research Group Conference, Publisher: IOP Publishing, ISSN: 1757-8981

In order to characterise mechanical properties of materials (e.g. formability) under hot stamping conditions, significant efforts have been made to the development of the biaxial tensile testing method using cruciform specimens. However, no method for necking strain determination and no cruciform specimen design have been widely accepted. In this study, a new technique for characterising mechanical behaviour of materials under hot stamping conditions has been proposed. It includes two main parts: 1) a novel spatio-temporal method for determining necking and fracture strains, and 2) a cruciform specimen design for formability evaluation using biaxial testing method. In the first part, the theoretical base of the novel spatio-temporal method has been discussed, and the method has been validated by applying to uniaxial tensile tests on AA6082 specimens. The method has also been compared with several existing popular methods, in the determination of limit strain at onset of localised necking. It is found that the novel method has greater simplicity, stability and accuracy for the determination of localised necking strain. In the second part, a proposed cruciform specimen of AA5754 has been tested under the equi-biaxial tension, and both the necking initiation location and the strain path at the location where necking initiates, have been analysed. Furthermore, the novel spatio-temporal method has been applied to the biaxial tensile test for the determination of necking and fracture strains. The results show that the designed cruciform specimen enables to initiate fracture at the centre of the specimen and realisation of linear strain path under equi-biaxial tension.

Conference paper

Zhang R, Shao Z, Shi Z, Lin Jet al., 2020, A study on ratio and linearity of strain path in in-plane biaxial tensile test for formability evaluation, 18th International Conference on Metal Forming 2020 (Virtual), Publisher: Elsevier, Pages: 584-588, ISSN: 2351-9789

In-plane biaxial tensile test is an alternative to determine the forming limit diagram (FLD) for evaluating the formability of metal sheets, in which cruciform specimens are deformed under the plane stress condition. Given that strong dependence of an FLD on both the strain state and the strain path, it is critical to realise the deformations under various proportional strain paths in the in-plane biaxial tensile test. In this study, three different stretching modes in a previously developed planar biaxial tensile rig, called stretching model-I, stretching model-II and stretching model-III, were applied to deform one type of cruciform specimen for AA5754 under an expected strain state of the equi-biaxial tension, the plane-strain tension and the uniaxial tension, respectively. The digital image correlation (DIC) technique was adopted for strain field measurement. By analysing the ratio and the linearity of the strain paths in the different zones within the gauge area of the cruciform specimens, it was found that, by using the stretching mode-I, the equi-biaxial strain state was obtained only in the central zone, and the corresponding strain path is linear. The plane-strain states were not achieved in any zones within the gauge area by using the stretching mode-II, and the corresponding strain paths are nonlinear. By using the stretching mode-III, the fracture occurred in a zone within the gauge area where the strain state is uniaxial and the corresponding strain path is linear, while the strain state in the central zone is close to the pure shear and the strain path is nonlinear.

Conference paper

Zhang K, Shao Z, Jiang J, 2020, Effects of twin-twin interactions and deformation bands on the nucleation of recrystallization in AZ31 magnesium alloy, Materials & Design, Vol: 194, ISSN: 0264-1275

Investigating recrystallization is essential to optimize the microstructure including texture weakening and grain refinement in the rolling of magnesium alloys, thus to improve the mechanical properties of magnesium sheets for industrial applications. This research has gained an in-depth understanding of the effects of deformation bands and twin-twin interactions on recrystallization, which will potentially lead to improved manufacturing processes and mechanical properties of magnesium alloys. To study their individual effects, the recrystallization mechanisms of the room-temperature (RT)-rolled and liquid-nitrogen-temperature (LNT)-rolled samples during the annealing process were analysed with the quasi-in-situ electron backscatter diffraction method, respectively. It is found that recrystallization mainly occurred in deformation bands in the RT-rolled sample, which enhanced the initially formed texture, due to oriented and inhomogeneous grain growth. However, it is of great interest to see that the recrystallized sites were mainly located around the (101 ̅2)-(011 ̅2) twin-twin interactions with high kernel average misorientation (KAM) values in the LNT-rolled samples, resulting in rather weaker texture, finer grain size and more homogeneous microstructure, because of the randomized orientations of recrystallized grains and uniform grain growth, while almost no recrystallization was observed around the single tension twin variant.

Journal article

Zhang R, Shao Z, Lin J, Dean TAet al., 2020, Measurement and analysis of heterogeneous strain fields in uniaxial tensile tests for boron steel under hot stamping conditions, Experimental Mechanics, Vol: 60, Pages: 1289-1300, ISSN: 0014-4851

BackgroundA significant amount of uniaxial tensile tests has been carried out using Gleeble systems to investigate the viscoplastic deformation of boron steel (22MnB5) under hot stamping conditions. However, due to heat loss through the end clamps, a temperature gradient in the reduced parallel section of dog-bone shaped specimens is inevitable.ObjectiveIn the work reported in this paper, the effect of temperature gradient on measured outcomes is examined.MethodsUniaxial tensile tests on 1.5 mm thick boron steel specimens are carried out, under hot stamping conditions and strain fields are quantified using the digital image correlation (DIC) technique. The effect of gauge length on the properties of boron steel, as calculated from observed test results, is determined.ResultsCompared with the test at room temperature, a bell-shaped strain distribution occurs within the gauge length even before the appearance of the maximum load. Also, average strain within the gauge length, especially in the later stages, changes with gauge length within the investigated range, and thus, different engineering stress-strain curves and fracture strains are determined. In addition, normalized strain rate is significantly dependent on gauge length, which results in over 16% difference among the computed flow stresses by using a unified constitutive model.ConclusionsThe characterized properties of the material are dependent on gauge length and thus, a testing standard for measuring thermal-mechanical data of materials by using a Gleeble need to be defined.

Journal article

Zhou X, Shao Z, Pruncu CI, Hua L, Balint D, Lin J, Jiang Jet al., 2020, A study on central crack formation in cross wedge rolling, Journal of Materials Processing Technology, Vol: 279, ISSN: 0924-0136

Cross wedge rolling (CWR) is an innovative roll forming process, used widely in the transportation industry. It has high production efficiency, consistent quality and efficient material usage. However, the continual occurrence of crack formation in the centre of the workpiece is a critical problem excluding the CWR technique from more safety-critical applications, in particular, aerospace components. The mechanisms of central fracture formation are still unclear because of a combination of complicated stress and strain states at various stages of CWR. Thus, the aim of this study is to understand the stress/strain distribution and evolution during the CWR process and identify the key variables which determine central crack formation. A comprehensive investigation was then conducted to simulate 27 experimental cases. The stress and strain distributions in the workpiece were evaluated by finite element analysis. Various damage models from literature were applied and compared. A new fracture criterion was proposed, which was able to successfully determine the central crack formation in all 27 experimental cases. This criterion can be applied in CWR tool and process design, and the enhanced understanding may enable the adoption of CWR by the aerospace industry.

Journal article

Shao Z, Jiang J, Lin J, 2020, 5 - Damage in advanced processing technologies, Mechanics of Materials in Modern Manufacturing Methods and Processing Techniques, Publisher: Elsevier, ISBN: 9780128182338

The book progresses from forming to machining and surface-treatment processes, and concludes with a series of chapters looking at recent and emerging technologies.

Book chapter

Zhou X, Shao Z, Tian F, Hopper C, Jiang Jet al., 2020, Microstructural effects on central crack formation in hot cross-wedge-rolled high-strength steel parts, Journal of Materials Science, Vol: 55, Pages: 9608-9622, ISSN: 0022-2461

Central cracking in cross-wedge-rolled workpieces results in high wastage and economic loss. Recent cross-wedge rolling tests on two batches of steel showed that one batch formed central cracks, while the other was crack-free. The batches were both nominally of the same chemical composition and thermomechanical treatment history. In addition, both batches had passed all the standard quality assessments set for conventional forging processes. It was suspected that the different cracking behaviours were due to differences in microstructure between the two as-received steel billets, and the material in cross-wedge rolling (CWR) was more sensitive to the initial microstructure compared with other forging processes due to its specific loading condition including ostensibly compression and large plastic strain. Nevertheless, no previous study of this important problem could be identified. The aim of this study is, therefore, to identify the key microstructural features determining the central crack formation behaviour in CWR. The hot workability of the as-received billets was studied under uniaxial tensile conditions using a Gleeble 3800 test machine. Scanning electron microscope with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and electron backscatter diffraction was applied to characterise, quantitatively analyse, and compare the chemical composition, phase, grain, and inclusions in these two billets, both at room temperature and also at the CWR temperature (1080 °C). Non-metallic inclusions (oxides, sulphides, and silicates) in the billets were determined to be the main cause of the reported central cracking problem. The ductility of the steels at both room and elevated temperatures deteriorated markedly in the presence of the large volumes of inclusions. Grain boundary embrittlement occurred at the CWR temperature due to the aggregation of inclusions along the grain boundaries. It is suggested that a standard on specifying the inclusion quantity and size in CWR billets b

Journal article

Shao Z, Lee J, Wang J, Lin J, Jiang Jet al., 2020, A study of various heating effects on the microstructure and mechanical properties of AA6082 using EBSD and CPFE, Journal of Alloys and Compounds, Vol: 5 nov 2019, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 0925-8388

The solution heat treatment (SHT) process resolving hardening precipitates in high strength aluminium alloys is a critical step for high-efficient forming processes, such as Hot Form Quench (HFQ®). SHT largely determines the overall cycle time of a forming process. However, effects of heating process parameters, such as the heating rate and soaking time, on the microstructure and the associated mechanical properties of aluminium alloy 6082, one of the most commonly used aluminium alloys, for HFQ applications have not been systematically investigated. The aim of this study is to explore and understand the relationships among heat treatment conditions, grain microstructure and associated mechanical properties for AA6082. A series of uniaxial tensile tests conducted under various SHT conditions revealed significant variation on mechanical behaviour characterised by stress-strain curves. To correlate these stress-strain relationship with underlying microstructure, the grain and orientation distribution of each heat-treated sample were characterised by the electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) technique. Due to the presence of a large number of microscopic variables, such as grain size, morphology, texture, grain boundary and etc., the crystal plasticity finite element (CPFE) modelling was employed to identify the key microscopic factors which determine the differences in the observed strength and ductility for all samples. A new CPFE model integrated with local strain criterion was proposed and validated to correlate the ductility and the strength with the material microstructure. This rigorous investigation provides more insights on how microstructure (grain size and texture) affects the mechanical behaviour for AA6082, which enables to enlarge the capability of HFQ for industrial applications.

Journal article

Zhang K, Zheng J, Shao Z, Pruncu C, Turski M, Guerini C, Jiang Jet al., 2019, Experimental investigation of the viscoplastic behaviours and microstructure evolutions of AZ31B and Elektron 717 Mg-alloys, Materials and Design, Vol: 184, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 0264-1275

An insight into the thermo-mechanical behaviours of AZ31B and Elektron 717 magnesium alloys under the hot stamping conditions was established. High-temperature tensile tests (i.e. 350–450 °C) at a strain rate of 0.1 to 5/s were conducted to examine the material viscoplastic behaviours. Additionally, microstructure characterizations were performed, using the electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), on the deformed samples to capture the underlying deformation mechanisms. Dynamic recrystallization (DRX) and texture formation were observed during the deformation at high temperature in both alloys and are the primary factors that affect the viscoplastic behaviours. The yield stress of both alloys reduced with increasing temperatures and reducing strain rates. More importantly, the ductility of the samples increased with both the temperatures and the strain rates. The higher ductility at higher strain rates was primarily attributed to finer grains and the slightly weakened textures, enabling a more uniform deformation. A maximum ductility of ~2 was observed in AZ31B under 450 °C at 1/s while ~0.9 in Elektron 717 under the identical condition. The addition of rare earth elements in Elektron 717 may suppress the active DRX. The recrystallization type was identified as discontinuous DRX. The research findings deliver understandings on the viscoplastic behaviours and the deformation mechanisms of AZ31B and Elektron 717 under the hot stamping conditions and provide scientific guidance for feasibility study on applying hot stamping technique to Mg-alloy for forming complex geometry components.

Journal article

Yasmeen T, Shao Z, Zhao L, Gao P, Lin J, Jiang Jet al., 2019, Constitutive modelling for the simulation of the superplastic forming of TA15 titanium alloy, International Journal of Mechanical Sciences, Vol: 164, ISSN: 0020-7403

Titanium alloy, TA15, has a high strength-to-weight ratio, high weldability, and superior creep resistance at high temperatures up to 550°C. TA15 is difficult to deform, especially for forming complex-shaped large-scale web–rib components, due to its low plasticity, large inhomogeneous deformation and narrow processing window. The objective of this research is to model the superplastic mechanisms in TA15 alloy with equiaxed, fine grain structure, and applying the proposed constitutive model to investigate the maximum grid aspect ratio, that can be achieved in superplastic forming (SPF), for a TA15 sheet with an initial thickness of 1.2 mm. Thermo-mechanical tensile tests are conducted first to characterize the superplastic behaviour of the material in the temperature range of 880– 940°C and the strain-rate of 0.0005 – 0.01s−1. A set of mechanism-based unified visco-plastic constitutive equations has been proposed and calibrated based on the results of stress-strain data. A gradient-based optimization method is applied for the calibration of constitutive equations. The constitutive model is incorporated into FEA code through creep subroutine to check the validity of the proposed material model against the experimental SPF test of a multi-box die. Predicted sheet thickness and thinning in a die entry radius region at the end of forming are examined in detail. Preliminary results show a good agreement between the computational and experimental results.

Journal article

Zhang R, Shao Z, Lin J, 2019, A type of cruciform specimen applied to evaluate forming limits for boron steel under hot stamping conditions, IDDRG 2019, Publisher: IOP Publishing, Pages: 1-8, ISSN: 1757-8981

The ultra-high strength boron steel has been intensively used in the hot stamping process to produce complex-shaped structural components in transportation industries. Forming limit diagram (FLD) is a fundamental and useful tool to evaluate the formability of metallic materials under various forming conditions. Since the standardized Nakajima test and Marciniak test are not applicable to perform formability tests for hot stamping applications due to the complex heating and cooling processes required, an in-plane testing method, in which cruciform specimens are deformed under hot tamping conditions in a Gleeble materials simulator combined with a multi-axial tensile rig to convert an input force to an output biaxial force, has been successfully applied to assess the formability of aluminium alloys at elevated temperatures. However, it is challenging to apply this in-plane testing method for boron steel due to higher nonuniformityof temperature distribution in gauge region of the cruciform specimenat a higher temperature. In this paper, a new type of cruciform specimen, together with a new specimen heating strategy, has been proposed to improve the temperature distribution in the gauge region. The dimensions of the newly-designed cruciform specimen have been optimised by a thermo-electrical finite element model embedded with a UAMP subroutine in ABAQUS to improve the niformity of temperature distribution in the gauge region. In order to validate the new design of cruciform specimen, biaxial tensile tests were conducted under hot stamping conditions by using the in-plane testing method.

Conference paper

Li Y, Shao Z, Rong Q, Shi Z, Balint D, Sun X, Meng L, Lin Jet al., 2019, Development of similarity-based scaling criteria for creep age forming of large/extra-large panels, The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Vol: 101, Pages: 1537-1551, ISSN: 0268-3768

A scaling method is developed for the creep age forming (CAF) process to downscale manufacturing of large/extra-large panels to lab-scale experimental trials for industrial application. Similarity theory is applied to identify both the geometrical and physical (non-geometrical) similarities between large-size prototypes and scaled-down models in all process stages of CAF, including loading, stress-relaxation and unloading (springback). A constitutive model is incorporated into the theory in order to identify the similarity in the highly non-linear stress-relaxation behaviour for aluminium alloy plates during CAF, and to obtain the effective scaling criteria for the CAFed plates after springback. The method was demonstrated by scaling down CAF manufacturing of both singly curved and doubly curved large plates under both proportional and non-proportional geometrical scaling conditions. The analytical results of the scaling method and numerical results obtained by CAF FE modelling were found to be in good agreement. Scaling diagrams linking the key deformation (springback) and structural (flexural rigidity) variables to scaling ratios under both proportional and non-proportional conditions were generated, and the developed scaling diagrams have been validated by corresponding CAF experiments. The scaling method developed in this study provides guidance on the design of scaled-down CAF experimental trials and will be used in the practical CAF process of large/extra-large panels.

Journal article

Zhang R, Shao Z, Jianguo L, 2018, Applications of the digital image correlation (DIC) technique for high-temperature strain measurement: a review, 4th International Conference on Advanced High Strength Steel and Press Hardening (ICHSU2018)

Conference paper

Shao Z, Jiang J, Lin J, 2018, Feasibility study on direct flame impingement heating applied for the solution heat treatment, forming and cold die quenching technique, Journal of Manufacturing Processes, Vol: 36, Pages: 398-404, ISSN: 1526-6125

The solution heat treatment, forming and cold die quenching (HFQ) process has been developed and adopted for forming high strength complex-shaped components of light alloys in the automotive industry. In order to exploit and increase the competitiveness of this technology, production cycle time and manufacturing costs need to be reduced to enable high productivity and energy efficiency. This can be realised by reducing the cycle time for heating a metallic sheet to its solution heat treatment temperature during the HFQ process, and by decreasing post ageing time. Rapid heating methods are capable of providing a solution to be integrated into this novel forming technique of HFQ. This paper presents feasibility study on the adoption of the direct flame impingement (DFI) heating method that has a high potential for non-ferrous blanks to achieve higher heating rate in HFQ processes, compared to convection heating in a conventional furnace. The adaptability of DFI heating for HFQ process has been validated, in terms of capability of high heating rate, quality of surface layer examination and lap-shear strength measurement of bonded samples.

Journal article

Lane C, Shao Z, Zheng K, Lin Jet al., 2018, Effect of thickness reduction on the limit strain measurement for thermomechanical tensile tests, Manufacturing Review, Vol: 5, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 2265-4224

Sheet metal formability under hot stamping conditions can be evaluated by using a novel planar testing system in the Gleeble. However, the specimen designs with the central recess have not been standardised, and the thickness reduction was not applied to the dog-bone type of specimen for testing at the uniaxial straining state. In this paper, effect of thickness reduction of dog-bone specimens on limit strain measurement under hot stamping conditions is investigated, and two types of dog-bone specimens without and with central recess are presented. Thermomechanical uniaxial tensile tests were performed at various deformation temperatures and strain rates, ranging from 370 – 510°C and 0.01 – 1/s, respectively, by using the developed biaxial testing system in the Gleeble. The distributions of temperature and axial strain along gauge region of the two types of specimen were measured and compared. The specimen with consistent thickness had a better uniformity of temperature and strain distributions compared to that with thickenss reduction. Forming limits for both types of specimen were also determined using the section-based international standard method. It is found that the calculation of forming limits by using specimen with thickness reduction was highly dependent on the selection of the deformation stage.

Journal article

Zhang R, Shao Z, Lin J, 2018, A review on modelling techniques for formability prediction of sheet metal forming, International Journal of Lightweight Materials and Manufacture, Vol: 1, Pages: 115-125, ISSN: 2588-8404

With an increasing demand for lightweight design of vehicles in automotive and aircraft industries, sheet metals with low density and high strength have been widely and intensively used in forming lightweight structural panel components. Formability is a critical material property in describing deformation ability of sheet metals, and it is usually evaluated by a forming limit diagram (FLD) determined at various forming conditions. FLDs for metallic material are usually obtained experimentally, which is time-consuming and costly. Numbers of theoretical and numerical models have been developed and used to predict the formability of sheet metals. These modelling techniques are primarily developed based on bifurcation theory, geometrical imperfection theory and continuum damage mechanics. This paper covers a comprehensive review of modelling methods used for the formability prediction of lightweight materials for sheet metal forming applications.

Journal article

Shao Z, Lin J, Ganapathy M, Dean Tet al., 2018, Experimental and modelling techniques for hot stamping applications, Procedia Manufacturing, Vol: 15, Pages: 6-13, ISSN: 2351-9789

Hot stamping techniques have been developed for the production of complex-shaped components since the 1970s, increasingly used for the automotive industry. The application of these techniques includes hot stamping of boron steel for critical automobile safety components, and solution heat treatment, forming and cold die quenching (HFQ®) for forming complex-shaped high strength aluminium panels of automobile bodies and chassis structures. The developed forming techniques need dedicated experimental testing methods to be improved for characterising the thermomechanical behaviour of materials at the hot stamping conditions, and advanced materials modelling techniques to be developed for hot stamping applications. In this paper, requirements for thermomechanical tests and difficulties for hot stamping applications are introduced and analysed. The viscoplastic modelling techniques have been developed for hot stamping applications. Improved experimental methods have been proposed and used in order to obtain accurate thermomechanical uniaxial tensile test data and determine forming limits of metallic materials under hot stamping conditions.

Journal article

Ahn J, He E, Chen L, Dear JP, Shao Z, Davies Cet al., 2018, In-situ micro-tensile testing of AA2024-T3 fibre laser welds with digital image correlation as a function of welding speed, International Journal of Lightweight Materials and Manufacture, Vol: 1, Pages: 179-188, ISSN: 2588-8404

In this paper, the influence of welding speed on tensile properties of AA2024-T3 fibre laser welds was investigated by monitoring the deformation behaviour during tensile loading. In-situ micro-tensile testing combined with a high-resolution optical microscope and DIC was used to measure strain distribution in narrow weld regions showing characteristics of fibre laser beam welding with limited metallurgical modifications. A chemical etching technique was used to generate a micro-scale random speckle pattern by revealing the weld microstructure. Such pattern enabled a sufficient spatial resolution of strain while keeping the weld seam visible during deformation. The results of microstructural and mechanical properties determined under numerous welding speeds indicated that increasing the welding speed led to the transition of weld pool shape from circular to elliptical to teardrop with a greater fraction of equiaxed dendrites. The weaker strength of the weld, as measured by local lower micro-hardness values, constrained significant plasticity development locally within the weld. Tensile tests revealed that increasing the welding speed resulted in greater yield strength and ultimate tensile strength, whereas, total elongation to failure dropped. The tensile properties improved with increasing welding speed as the fraction of equiaxed dendrites increased.

Journal article

Shao Z, Li N, Lin J, Dean TAet al., 2018, Strain measurement and error analysis in thermo-mechanical tensile tests of sheet metals for hot stamping applications, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science, Vol: 232, Pages: 1944-2008, ISSN: 0954-4062

In order to conduct uniaxial tensile tests for hot stamping applications, tests are normally performed by using a Gleeble thermo-mechanical materials simulator so that rapid heating and cooling processes can be obtained. However, temperature gradients in a specimen tested on Gleeble are inevitable due to resistance heating principles and heat loss to grips and water-cooled jaws. In this research, a pair of purpose-built grips made of stainless steel with low thermal conductivity and significantly reduced contacting area for clamping, as well as a flat dog-bone specimen with maximised parallel length (80 mm) were designed, for the purpose of improving the temperature uniformity within the concerned gauge section area of the specimen. Uniaxial tensile tests on AA6082 were performed, after controlled heating and cooling processes, at constant deformation temperatures in the range of 400 ℃–500 ℃ and at constant strain rate in the range of 0.1–4/s, to simulate its hot stamping conditions. The digital image correlation system was adopted to enable strain distributions in specimens to be measured. The temperature distributions in specimens were investigated and an effective gauge length of 14 mm was specified accordingly to ensure temperature gradients less than 10 ℃ within it at all tested temperatures. True stress–true strain curves of AA6082 were obtained based on results of strain measurements along the defined effective gauge length and used to calibrate a set of advanced material model. Error analysis was carried out by using thermo-electrical and thermo-mechanical FE models on ABAQUS, in which the calibrated material constitutive equations were implemented via subroutines. The error of stress–strain curves of AA6082 measured based on the specified gauge length was investigated and quantified by analysing the distribution of axial strain and axial stress.

Journal article

Shao Z, Li N, Lin J, 2017, The optimisation of cruciform specimen for the formability evaluation of AA6082 under hot stamping conditions, Procedia Engineering, Vol: 207, Pages: 735-740, ISSN: 1877-7058

The hot stamping and cold die quenching process is increasingly adopted to form complex-shaped structures of sheet metals in the automotive industry. However, it is difficult to obtain formability data of sheet metals under hot stamping conditions by using conventional experimental testing methods. In this study, a novel in-plane biaxial testing system, which is attached to a Gleeble materials thermo-mechanical simulator, had been developed for determining forming limit diagrams (FLDs) under hot stamping conditions. However, there is no standard of cruciform specimen geometries available for this type of biaxial tests. In this paper, the features of thickness reduction in the central region and slots in the arms of a type of cruciform specimen of aluminium alloy 6082 were verified first to increase strain uniformity of the biaxial loading zone on a cruciform specimen, based on the selective heating and cooling method. Finite Element (FE) thermo-electrical and thermo-mechanical models with UAMP and VUMAT subroutines were then implemented in ABAQUS 6.12 to optimise specimen dimensions so that fracture occurs in the concerned central region of the specimen during testing. By the use of the optimised specimen for AA6082 in the biaxial testing system, formability tests under the designated strain paths were conducted at specified hot stamping conditions. Strain fields in the gauge region of the cruciform specimens were measured using the digital image correlation (DIC) system and the experimental results were presented and analysed in order to verify the cruciform specimen design.

Journal article

Shao Z, Li N, Lin J, 2017, The comparison of two continuum damage mechanics-based material models for formability prediction of AA6082 under hot stamping conditions, 36th IDDRG Conference – Materials Modelling and Testing for Sheet Metal Forming, Publisher: IOP Publishing, ISSN: 1742-6588

The hot stamping and cold die quenching process has experienced tremendous development in order to obtain shapes of structural components with great complexity in automotive applications. Prediction of the formability of a metal sheet is significant for practical applications of forming components in the automotive industry. Since microstructural evolution in an alloy at elevated temperature has a large effect on formability, continuum damage mechanics (CDM)-based material models can be used to characterise the behaviour of metals when a forming process is conducted at elevated temperatures. In this paper, two sets of unified multi-axial constitutive equations based on material's stress states and strain states, respectively, were calibrated and used to effectively predict the thermo-mechanical response and forming limits of alloys under complex hot stamping conditions. In order to determine and calibrate the two material models, formability tests of AA6082 using a developed novel biaxial testing system were conducted at various temperatures and strain rates under hot stamping conditions. The determined unified constitutive equations from experimental data are presented in this paper. It is found that both of the stress-state based and strain-state based material models can predict the formability of AA6082 under hot stamping conditions.

Conference paper

Shao Z, Li N, Lin J, 2017, Planar test system, WO2017025730A1


Shao Z, Li N, Lin J, 2017, The comparison of two continuum damage mechanics-basedmaterial models for formability prediction of AA6082 underhot stamping conditions, Materials Modelling and Testing for Sheet Metal Forming IDDRG 2017

Conference paper

Shao Z, Li N, 2017, A Novel Biaxial Testing Apparatus for the Determination of Forming Limit under Hot Stamping Conditions, Journal of Visualized Experiments, Vol: 122, ISSN: 1940-087X

This protocol proposes a novel biaxial testing system used on a resistance heating uniaxial tensile test machine in order to determine the forming limit diagram (FLD) of sheet metals under hot stamping conditions.

Journal article

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