Hamilton, C. Howard Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington.
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A process for shaping superplastic materials, a unique class of crystalline materials that exhibit exceptionally high tensile ductility. Superplastic materials may be stretched in tension to elongations typically in excess of 200% and more commonly in the range of 400–2000%. There are rare reports of higher tensile elongations reaching as much as 8000%. The high ductility is obtained only for superplastic materials and requires both the temperature and rate of deformation (strain rate) to be within a limited range. The temperature and strain rate required depend on the specific material. A variety of forming processes can be used to shape these materials; most of the processes involve the use of gas pressure to induce the deformation under isothermal conditions at the suitable elevated temperature. The tools and dies used, as well as the superplastic material, are usually heated to the forming temperature. The forming capability and complexity of configurations producible by the processing methods of superplastic forming greatly exceed those possible with conventional sheet forming methods in which the materials typically exhibit 10–50% tensile elongation. See also: Superplasticity
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