An apparatus (10, 110) and method to form a workpiece (32, 132) into a useful product (28, 128) using a pressurized fluid (14), also termed as "hydroforming". The workpiece may be a tube or may be one or a plurality of sheets of a material. The apparatus has a chamber (12) adapted to contain a quantity of a fluid, a hydroforming means positioned within the chamber, and means for substantially immersing the workpiece in the fluid before, during and after the hydroforming operation. Dies (16, 18) enclose the workpiece and provide a cavity of desired shape against which the workpiece is expanded by the pressurized fluid. The chamber may be open or closed to the atmosphere during operation and the fluid temperature and/or level may be controlled.
GOVERNMENT LICENSE RIGHTS
The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided by the terms of STTR Grant No. DE-FG-02ER86141 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.