Standard Active Last Updated: May 01, 2023 Track Document
ASTM E2218-23

Standard Test Method for Determining Forming Limit Curves

Standard Test Method for Determining Forming Limit Curves E2218-23 ASTM|E2218-23|en-US Standard Test Method for Determining Forming Limit Curves Standard new BOS Vol. 03.01 Committee E28
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Significance and Use

5.1 The forming limit curve (FLC) is specific to the material sampled. It can change if the material is subjected to cold work or any annealing process. Thus, two samples from a given lot of material can produce different curves if their processing is varied.

5.2 The processing history of the material must be known if the test is to be considered representative of a grade of a product.

5.3 A forming limit curve (FLC) defines the maximum (limiting) strain that a given sample of a sheet metal can undergo for a range of forming conditions, such as deep drawing, plane strain, biaxial stretching, and bending over a radius in a press and die drawing operation, without developing a localized zone of thinning (localized necking) that would indicate incipient failure.

5.3.1 FLCs may be obtained empirically by using a laboratory hemispherical punch biaxial stretch test and also a tension test to strain metal sheet test specimens, from a material sample, from beyond their elastic limit to just prior to localized necking and fracture. Since the location of localized necking and fracture cannot be predetermined, one or both surfaces of test specimens are covered with a pattern of gauge length measurement units, usually as squares or small diameter circles, by a suitable method such as scribing, photo-grid, or electro-etching, and then each test specimen is formed to the point of localized necking, or fracture.

5.3.2 Strains in the major (e1) and minor (e2) directions are measured using individual gauge length measurement units on the pattern in the area of the localized necking or fracture. Test specimens of varied widths are used to produce a wide range of strain states in the minor (e2) direction. The major strain (e1) is determined by the capacity of the material to be stretched in one direction as simultaneous surface forces either stretch, do not change, or compress, the metal in the minor strain (e2) direction. In the tension test deformation process, the minor strains (e2) are negative, and the test specimen is narrowed both through the thickness and across its width.

5.3.3 These strains are plotted on a forming limit diagram (FLD), and the forming limit curve (FLC) is drawn to connect the highest measured e1 and e2 strain combinations that include good data points. When there is intermixing and no clear distinction between good and marginal data points, a best fit curve is established to follow the maximum good data points as the FLC.

5.3.4 The forming limit is established at the maximum major strain (e1) attained prior to necking.

5.3.5 The FLC defines the limit of useful deformation in forming metallic sheet products.

5.3.6 FLCs are known to change with material (specifically with the mechanical or formability properties developed during the processing operations used in making the material) and the thickness of the sheet metal. The strain hardening exponent (n value), defined in Test Method E646, affects the forming limit. A high n value will raise the limiting major strain (e1), allowing more stretch under positive minor strain conditions (e2 > 0). The plastic strain ratio (r value), defined in Test Method E517, affects the capacity of a material to be deep drawn. A high r value will move the minor strain (e2) into a less severe area to the left of the FLDo (e2 < 0), thus permitting deeper draws for a given major strain (e1). The thickness of the material will affect the FLC since a thicker test specimen has more volume to respond to the forming process. The properties of the steel sheet product used in determining the FLC of Fig. 3 included the n value and the r value.

5.3.7 FLCs serve as a diagnostic tool for material strain analysis and have been used for evaluations of stamping operations and material selection.

5.3.8 The FLC provides a graphical basis for comparison with strain distributions on parts formed by sequential press operations.

5.3.9 The FLC obtained by this method follows a constant proportional strain path where there is a nominally fixed ratio of major (e1) to minor (e2) strain. There is no interrupted loading, or reversal of straining, but the rate of straining may be slowed as the test specimen approaches necking or fracture. The FLC can be used for conservatively predicting the performance of an entire class of materials provided the n value, r value, and thickness of the material used are representative of that class.

5.3.10 Complex forming operations, in which the strain path changes, or the strain is not homogeneous through the metal sheet thickness, can produce limiting strains that do not agree with the forming limit obtained by this method.

5.3.11 Characterization of a material's response to plastic deformation can involve strain to fracture as well as to the onset of necking. These strains are above the FLC.

5.3.12 The FLC is not suitable for lot-to-lot quality assurance testing because it is specific to that sample of a material which is tested to establish the forming limit.


1.1 This test method gives the procedure for constructing a forming limit curve (FLC) for a metallic sheet material by using a hemispherical deformation punch test and a uniaxial tension test to quantitatively simulate biaxial stretching and deep drawing processes.

1.1.1 Fig. 1 shows an example of a forming limit curve on a schematic forming limit diagram (FLD).

FIG. 1 Schematic Forming Limit Diagram

Schematic Forming Limit DiagramSchematic Forming Limit Diagram

Note 1: The upper curve represents the forming limit curve. Strains below the lower curve do not occur during forming metallic sheet products in the most stamping press operations. Curves to the left of % e2 = 0 are for constant area of the test specimen surface.

1.2 FLCs are useful in evaluating press performance by metal fabrication strain analysis.

1.3 The method applies to metallic sheet from 0.5 mm (0.020 in.) to 3.3 mm (0.130 in.).

1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The values given in parentheses after SI units are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.6 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 03.01
Developed by Subcommittee: E28.02
Pages: 17
DOI: 10.1520/E2218-23
ICS Code: 77.040.20