Flow forming is a near net shape process for manufacturing of dimensionally accurate hollow components such as shaft in gas turbines, that is currently at its development stage for aerospace industry. The process has several advantages such as reducing material wastage, extremely fast manufacturing time, and eliminating extra manufacturing processes such as machining. Due to the nature of this complicated cold deformation process, significant magnitude of residual stress is introduced into the component. Understanding the magnitude and distribution of residual stress is essential to tailor the flow forming process to achieve parts within dimensional tolerances and desired mechanical properties. The present research is aiming to explore the generation and evolution of residual stress at various stages of flow forming process in a tubular component made from martensitic 15Cr-5Ni stainless steel, using different techniques of neutron scattering, x-ray diffraction (XRD) and hole-drilling based on electronic speckle pattern interferometry (ESPI).
Residual stress measurements were carried out in preformed and flow formed components at surface, near-surface and in the bulk of components using XRD, ESPI based hole-drilling and neutron diffraction techniques. These measurements were conducted at different levels of reduction in the thickness of the original part (i.e. after 20% and 40%), by applying identical forming parameters for all samples. The XRD results show significant change in hoop and axial residual stress levels with a reduction in the wall thickness. This is more pronounced for the axial component where the average stress switches from relatively high tensile (∼ 450MPa) in the original part to significant compressive stress (∼ −600MPa) in the formed part, after 20% of reduction. The bulk residual stress components measured in the middle of thickness of the parts, using neutron scattering, show a general increase in the magnitude of residual stress by higher level of deformation (i.e. reduction in the wall thickness). The measured bulk stress components through the thickness were tuned to tensile after reducing the wall thickness by 40%. The results of XRD and neutron diffraction stress measurements suggest that the residual stress along the length of the samples (i.e. axial direction) is consistent with ±800 MPa and ±400 MPa after 20% and 40% reduction by forming process, respectively.
The results of ESPI based hole-drilling show tensile hoop residual stress (≈600 MPa) and an abrupt fluctuation (i.e. tension-compressive-tension) in the axial residual stress near the surface of the part following flow forming. The stresses measured by ESPI based hole-drilling are complementary to the results of the XRD on surface and neutron diffraction in the bulk to reconstruct the residual stress profile form the surface through to the bulk.