The crystalline structure of metals in forming processes can have a significant influence on mechanical behavior, thus effecting the forming process: for example the development of grain orientation (crystallographic texture) and grain morphology through plastic deformations and thermally-activated phase formation and recrystallization processes in metals. We simulate such changes in the microstructure, as well as the resulting effects on the mechanical material behavior across different scales. In our »Virtual Lab«, we predict material properties such as texture development, anisotropy and flow behavior, enabling us to help our clients realize improvements to their process management.
The »Virtual Lab« is a simulation tool for the numerical determination of macroscopic material properties which takes the microstructure into account. This virtual characterization is an extension of conventional, experimental procedures and can be applied to sheet metal forming in various ways:
Data produced through our »Virtual Lab« can be used in exactly the same manner as experimental data and is especially applicable to the complex material models which are required when working with modern, high-strength sheet metal materials. These complex material models utilize many parameters which can be identified by the additional data obtained from the »Virtual Lab«.
For the "virtual determination of characteristic values", the model we use considers a material's microstructure in the form of a representative volume element. The microstructure's individual grains are spatially resolved and parameters such as grain shape, grain orientation and phase distribution are taken into account. Only a few experiments are required for the calibration of these micro-models, for example, one single tensile test. After calibration, it becomes quite simple to perform further "virtual testing". By modifying boundary conditions, we can also run compression tests or multi-axial tests and analyze loading conditions which are quite difficult, if not impossible, to realize experimentally.
Through the combination of simple experiments and the data obtained through the Fraunhofer IWM »Virtual Lab«, new insights are gained which can be used to formulate more exact descriptions of sheet metal materials. Our know-how and experience enables to put this "virtual characterization" to work in an efficient manner for our clients.