A variational formulation is derived for the incremental analysis of the nonsteady large deformation of normal anisotropic sheet metal which exhibits a rigid-plastic work-hardening behavior. The associated finite element equations are formulated for the analysis of the hydrostatic bulging process of square and rectangular anisotropic metal diaphragms. The relation between bulging pressure and deformation is studied using the finite element analysis. Instability related with the bulging deformation is analyzed by using the instability criterion for sheet metal. The effect of anisotropy on deformation and instability is investigated and discussed. The theoretical results are shown to be in excellent agreement with the existing experimental results and to be very helpful for a better understanding of the process.

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