The transformation of the phenomenon Superplasticity into a manufacturing technique has been pushed ahead over the last two decades mainly by the aerospace industries. The possibility of producing complicated structures in one step offers well known economic advantages. The combination of superplastic forming and diffusion bonding further enhances design flexibility thanks to the ability of fabricating multisheet structures.
This paper provides an overview of the practical application of Superplasticity in forming components. It focusses on the major aerospace materials i.e. Ti alloys and Al alloys and discusses specific characteristics, the material specifications, and supply situation.
Superplastic forming processing is presented including the techniques used for diffusion bonding; design concepts and exemplary SPF and SPF/DB parts are presented.
Finally a critical discussion concerning current development trends, and the factors limiting broad application of this manufacturing technique are given. Future prospects are outlined and further research needs emphasized.