A novel process:solution-Heat-treatment, Forming and cold-die Quenching (HFQ)

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering


Within the automotive industry there is an ever-increasing demand for the use of lightweight materials, particularly aluminium alloys, for structural components. Cold forming of aluminium alloy sheet metal components has the problems of low ductility and high springback, which are difficult to solve. Hot stamping can increase formability and reduce springback, but it destroys the desirable microstructure and the post-forming heat-treatment required to restore it would result in distortion of the formed panels during quenching after Solution Heat Treatment (SHT). To overcome the above problems, a novel process, which is called solution Heat treatment, Forming and cold-die Quenching (HFQ), for producing high strength and high precision Al-alloy sheet parts, has been the subject of some preliminary tests by the principal investigator. From the initial investigation, it has been concluded that HFQ could be an excellent process to produce high strength, high precision heat-treatable Al-alloy sheet components and to increase the formability of leaner composition non-heat-treatable alloys. Thus this project aims to establish the basic science and process window in order to predict suitable alloy and die combinations to successfully implement the process, in the first instance, into the automotive industry.


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