A nonlinear finite element model is built to study the self-piercing riveting process. In this model, the elasto-plastic properties of sheets and rivet, i.e., the dependency of flow stress on effective strain is considered. The adaptive meshing technology is used for the separation of sheet material. The piercing operation on two 2 m m-thick 5754-O aluminum sheets is simulated, and the results obtained are in agreement with the published experimental results. Using this method, residual stress and strain are calculated under different die tip heights and rivet strengths, to obtain insights into the local mechanical behavior of the joints and the effect of process variables. It is found that the hoop residual stress is the main stress that affects the mechanical properties of joint. Higher riveting pressure is needed for higher die tip and higher rivet strength. Both the die tip height and river strength can affect the joint shape and residual stress.

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