This paper examines the possibilities of manufacturing large-scale aluminium sandwich structures using superplastic forming. The materials tested were Mg-alloyed production quality aluminium (Al 5083-0, Al 5083-H321) and Aluminium 1561. Tensile tests at elevated temperatures were performed in order to establish the suitability of the test materials for superplastic forming. The microstructural changes in the test material specimens were examined. Thereafter numerical simulation of the Al 5083-0 forming process was conducted based on the tensile test results. The numerical simulation results were subsequently used to estimate forming parameters and the feasibility of manufacturing large-scale structures by superplastic forming.
The results indicate that higher strain can be reached at higher temperatures for the test materials. Aluminium alloy 1561 exhibited the largest elongation to fracture and Al 5083-H321 the smallest. Strain appeared to be temperature dependent but not much affected by the strain rate. Metallographic examination clarified that Al-5083-0 and AI-5083-H321 showed susceptibility for cavity forming whereas Aluminium 1561 formed relatively few voids. The numerical simulation indicated that Al 5083-0 can be superplastically formed using relatively low forming pressure (0.9 – 1.4 bar).