Advanced high strength steels (AHSS) and ultra-high strength steels (UHSS) have been increasingly implemented by the automotive industry for better crashworthiness and fuel economy. However, these steels are often sensitive to the trimmed edge cracking. The objective of the present paper is to study the sheared edge of ultra-high strength dual-phase steel, DP980, in mechanical trimming and hole punching by sheared edge quality assessment, stretchability, and hole expansion tests as well as finite element analysis. Furthermore, the mechanism of fracture propagation in trimming and hole punching processes of DP980 was discussed. Rather a unique fracture mechanism was observed for trimming of DP980 steel leading to the burr removal at the final stage of the trimming process. Finite element analysis revealed that, under very large clearances, a secondary crack initiates from the edge of the lower tool, and the primary propagated crack turns toward it simultaneously. Intersecting of these two cracks leads to the total separation and leaves the edge of the trimmed part with a broken burr. Fracture observation of trimmed specimens revealed that crack initiation sites under tension moved from the middle of the trimmed surface toward the burr tip with increasing the clearance. This study demonstrates the importance of stretchability tests for designing the stamping dies as well as a reliable finite element simulation for characterizing the material behavior during the shearing process.

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