Electro-Hydraulic Forming is a type of high energy rate forming processes
Electrohydraulic forming is a type of metal forming in which an electric arc discharge in the liquid is used to convert electrical energy to mechanical energy and change the shape of the workpiece. A capacitor bank delivers a pulse of high current across two electrodes, which are positioned a short distance apart while submerged in a fluid (water or oil). The electric arc discharge rapidly vaporizes the surrounding fluid creating a shock wave. The workpiece, which is kept in contact with the fluid, is deformed into an evacuated die.
High Energy rate Forming Processes :
The parts are formed at a rapid rate, and thus these processes are also called high – velocity forming processes. There are several advantages of using these forming processes, like die costs are low, easy maintenance of tolerances, the possibility of forming most metals, and the material does not show spring-back effect. The production cost of components by such processes is low. The limitation of these processes is the need for skilled personnel.
There are three main high energy rate forming processes:
Magnetic forming, and
We shall discuss these processes.
Electro-hydraulic forming (EHF), also known as electro spark forming, is a process in which electrical energy is converted into mechanical energy for the forming of metallic parts. A bank of capacitors is first charged to a high voltage and then discharged across a gap between two electrodes, causing explosions inside the hollow workpiece, which is filled with some suitable medium, generally water. These explosions produce shock waves that travel radially in all directions at high velocity until they meet some obstruction. If the discharge energy is sufficiently high, the hollow workpiece is deformed.
Electro-Hydraulic Forming Diagram
Principle Working of Electro hydraulic forming
A sudden electrical discharge in the form of sparks is produced between electrodes and this discharge produces a shock wave in the water medium. This shock wave deforms the work plate and collapses it into the die.
The characteristics of this process are similar to those of explosive forming. The major difference, however, is that a chemical explosive is replaced by a capacitor bank, which stores the electrical energy.
The capacitor is charged through a charging circuit. When the switch is closed, a spark is produced between electrodes and a shock wave or pressure pulse is created. The energy released is much lesser than that released in explosive forming.
i) Standoff distance: It must be optimum.
ii) The capacitor used: The energy of the pressure pulse depends on the size of the capacitor.
iii) Transfer medium: Usually water is used.
iv) Vacuum: the die cavity must be evacuated to prevent adiabatic heating of the work due to a sudden compression of air.
v) Material properties with regard to the application of high rates of strain.
Advantages of Electro hydraulic Forming
Advantages of the electro-hydraulic forming Process are as follows :
A single-step process (rather than progressive stamping)
Fine details and sharp lines can be easily formed
Forming of male and female shapes (negative and positive)
Only a single one-sided die is required
Enables extremely deep forming (much more than is possible with conventional stamping)
Even distribution and higher strength of thin material
The equipment has a small footprint
No need for a press – the forming chamber is a self-balanced system
Allows forming of parts up to a few square meters in size.
Disadvantages of Electro hydraulic Forming :
Disadvantages of the electro-hydraulic forming process are as follows,
i) Suitable only for smaller works ii) The need for vacuum makes the equipment more complicated. iii) Proper SOD is necessary for an effective process.
Accuracy of parts produced
Accuracy of electro-hydraulically formed parts depends on the control of both the magnitude and location of energy discharges and on the dimensional accuracy of the dies used. With the modern equipment, it is now possible to precisely control the energy within specified limits, therefore the primary factor is the dimensional accuracy of the die. External dimensions on tubular parts are possible to achieve within ± 0.05 mm with the current state of technology.
Applications of Electro hydraulic Forming:
They include smaller radar dishes, cone, and other shapes in thinner and small works.
Sachin is a B-TECH graduate in Mechanical Engineering from a reputed Engineering college. Currently, he is working in the sheet metal industry as a designer. Additionally, he has interested in Product Design, Animation, and Project design. He also likes to write articles related to the mechanical engineering field and tries to motivate other mechanical engineering students by his innovative project ideas, design, models and videos.