Hydraulic bulge testing is a material characterization method used as an alternative to tensile testing with the premise of accurately representing the material behavior to higher strain levels (∼70% as appeared to ∼30% in tensile test) in a biaxial stress mode. However, there are some major assumptions (such as continuous hemispherical bulge shape, thinnest point at apex) in hydraulic bulge analyses that lead to uncertainties in the resulting flow stress curves. In this paper, the effect of these assumptions on the accuracy and reliability of flow stress curves is investigated. The goal of this study is to determine the most accurate method for analyzing the data obtained from the bulge testing when continuous and in-line thickness measurement techniques are not available. Specifically, in this study the stress-strain relationships of two different materials (SS201 and Al5754) are obtained based on hydraulic bulge test data using various analysis methods for bulge radius and thickness predictions (e.g., Hill’s, Chakrabarty’s, Panknin’s theories, etc.). The flow stress curves are calculated using pressure and dome height measurements and compared to the actual 3-D strain measurement from a stereo optical and non-contact measurement system ARAMIS. In addition, the flow stress curves obtained from stepwise experiments are compared with the ones from above methods. Our findings indicate that Enikeev’s approach for thickness prediction and Panknin’s approach for bulge radius calculation result in the best agreement with both stepwise experiment results and 3D optical measurement results.

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