Necking: Diffuse Neck and Local Neck
A tensile bar increases in length as it is pulled, with a concurrent reduction in width and thickness. The cross section is rectangular in shape through uniform elongation. After uniform elongation, however, strains concentrate in the reduced section of the tensile test sample, resulting in a non-uniform section of reduced width. This region is known as a diffuse neck. The diffuse neck further accentuates and accelerates the cross-section reduction, leading to a concentration of strains within this region.
A local neck is a narrow band in the sheet metal part that is thinner than its surroundings (Figure 1). This local or through-thickness neck occurs shortly before the traditional fracture of the specimen. When the local neck begins, deformation stops in the remainder of the stamping. In a tensile bar, no deformation occurs along the width of the neck – only increased elongation and thinning. A local neck prevents a deeper section from being formed and serves as a crack initiation site. Additional loading, including fatigue loading during the life of the part, may cause a neck to progress to fracture (Figure 2). The strains resulting in a local neck are defined by the Forming Limit Curve, or FLC.
Traditional methods of detecting the onset of necking include tactile or visible sensing of the groove of the neck. Researchers are focusing on the use of non-contact approaches to define a neck. ISO 12004-2 calls for a polynomial fit of data outside the neck, but results from this method are a function of the order of the polynomial as well as the geometry of the tooling and the blank.
Using Digital Image Correlation allows for the detection in curvature evolution in the area that subsequently develops into a neck. The signature is detected for the many types of AHSS grades tested as well as other sheet metals, and correlates well with other methods. Citation S-57 presents an overview of the technique, with greater detail covered in Citations M-19 and S-58. Using the surface data geometry as measured by DIC to detect the true onset of necking enables better and more efficient use of AHSS grades through more reliable knowledge of their actual limits.