Electrically-driven rapid vaporization of thin conductors produces a high-pressure pulse which can be used to accelerate thin metal sheets to high velocities. Recently, vaporizing foil actuators (VFA) have been applied toward a variety of impulse-based metalworking operations such as collision welding, closed-die forming, embossing, and shearing. To better apply VFA to different purposes, it is necessary to develop an understanding of how variations in the characteristics of the foil actuator affect its mechanical impulse generation. In this work, actuators made out of 0.0508, 0.0762, and 0.127 mm thick full hard temper AA1145 foil were used to launch 0.508 mm thick AA2024-T3 sheets toward a photonic Doppler velocimeter (PDV) probe. Launch velocities ranging between 300 and 1000 m/s were observed over a distance of less than 3 mm, and repeated trials demonstrated repeatable results. Velocity, current and voltage traces were used to examine the effect of deposited energy on average pressure and resulting velocity for foil actuators of various thicknesses. Experiments with annealed foil actuators showed that foil temper had no effect on the evolution of flyer velocity for the given electrical energy input of 8 kJ.

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