Thermomechanical simulation equipment duplicates the thermal, mechanical, electrical, and other conditions occurring in industrial processes or end-use applications for advanced materials development and process parameter optimization. The material experiences the same thermal and mechanical profile that it would in a full-scale fabrication process or end-use of the material.
Thermomechanical simulation equipment utilizes hydraulic or electromechanical actuators in conjunction with internal or external heating units to produce the same conditions within an alloy, metal, or material as found under process or operating conditions. Depending on the capability of the machine performing the simulation, the thermomechanical simulation equipment results can be extremely useful. When the simulation is accurate, the thermomechanical simulation equipment results can be readily transferred from the laboratory to the full-size production process.
Types of Thermomechanical Simulation Equipment
Different types of thermomechanical simulation equipment include weld simulators, forging simulators, roll mill simulators, mechanical test equipment, thermomechanical testers, process simulators, hot torsion testers, shear testers, and drawing simulators.
Some special features of thermomechanical simulation equipment include internal resistance heating that can rapidly heat and maintain the thermal profile of the component to conditions found in process or end-use.
Thermomechanical simulation equipment is used in the simulation of welding, hot rolling, extrusion, forging, swaging, stamping, cold rolling, drawing, space craft reentry, jet blade under conditions in hot engine sections, turbine component conditions, and combustion engine conditions. Thermomechanical simulation equipment is also used in process simulation, continuous casting, hot rolling, continuous strip annealing, forging, heat treatment, powder metallurgy, sintering, extrusion, weld HAZ, upset butt welding, diffusion bonding, and hot deformation.
Thermomechanical simulation equipment can be used for testing of thermal fatigue, mechanical fatigue, stress vs. strain, hot ductility, nil strength, creep/stress rupture, continuous cooling transformation, continuous heating transformation, and isothermal transformation.
Thermomechanical simulation equipment is also used in basic material studies such as diffusion studies, stress relaxation studies, melting and controlled solidification studies, recrystallization studies, work hardening studies, hot cracking studies, precipitation hardening studies, and constitutional liquation studies.
Thermomechanical simulation equipment involves physical testing. Physical simulation attempts to replicate real-world processes on a laboratory scale in a way that the resulting data can be used to solve real-world problems.