Wear mechanisms in sheet metal forming : Effects of tool microstructure, adhesion and temperature

Abstract: The general trend in the car body manufacturing industry is towards low-series production and reduction of press lubricants and car weight. The limited use of lubricants, in combination with the introduction of high and ultrahigh-strength sheet materials, continuously increases the demands on the forming tools. The major cause for tool failure during the forming process is transfer and accumulation of sheet material on the tool surfaces, generally referred to as galling. The adhered material creates unstable frictional conditions and scratching of the tool/sheet interface. To provide the means of forming new generations of sheet materials, development of new tool materialswith improved galling resistance is required, which may include tailored microstructures introducing specific carbides and nitrides, coatings and improved surface finish. In the present work, the galling wear mechanisms in real forming operations have been studied and emulated at a laboratory scale by developing a test equipment. The wear mechanisms, identified in the real forming process, were distinguished into a sequence of events. At the initial stage, local adhesive wear of the sheets led to transfer of sheet material to the tool surfaces. Successive forming operations resulted in growth of the transfer layer with initiation of scratching of the sheets. Finally, scratching changed into severe adhesive wear, associated withgross macroscopic damage. The wear process was successfully repeated in the laboratory test equipment in sliding between several tool materials, ranging from cast iron and conventional ingot cast tool steels, to advanced powder metallurgy tool steel, sliding against medium and high-strength steel sheets. By use of the test equipment, selected tool materials were ranked regarding galling resistance. The controlling mechanism for galling in sheet metal forming is adhesion. The initial sheet material transfer was found to occur, preferably, to the metallic matrix of the tool steels. Hence, the carbides in the particular steels appeared less prone to adhesion as compared to the metallic matrix. Therefore, an improved galling resistance was observed for a tool steel comprising a high amount of small homogeneously distributed carbides offering a low-strength interface to the transferred sheet material.Further, atomic force microscopy showed that nanoscale adhesion was influenced by temperature, with increasing adhesion as temperature increases. A similar dependence was observed at the macroscale where increasing surface temperature led to initiation of severe adhesive wear. The results were in good agreement to the nano scale observations and temperature-induced high adhesion was suggested as a possible mechanism.