Tube Hydroforming Simulation

Period of Performance: 07/24/2002 - 07/24/2004

$743K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

FEM Engineering
11222 La Cienega Blvd. Suite #500
Inglewood, CA 90303
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Tube hydroforming is an innovative technique for manufacturing structural parts using hollow tubes. This process offers many advantages over the conventional forming and welding of multiple sheet metal parts to come up with a single structure. These advantages include part design flexibility, part consolidation, reduced weight, reduced number and complexity in production steps, and reduced tooling complexity. Tube hydroforming of aluminum extrusions takes advantage of the lower weight of aluminum compared to steel, and shape flexibility offered by extrusion process. This project objective is to develop a FEA based software for computer simulation of the tube hydroforming process. The software capabilities should include handling large plastic deformations and complex contact geometries encountered in tube hydroforming. In addition to simulating various forming conditions, the unique feature of the software will be the closed-loop control of process variables. Implementation of the software will eliminate or substantially reduce the physical prototyping phase and leads to major reduction of time and cost for producing tube-hydroformed parts.