Hydroforming is a material bending technology (for metal sheets and tubes) comparable to stamping, in which the punch or the die are replaced by the action of a pressurised fluid.
This technique pushes the limits of stamping, by distributing the elongation more evenly along the surfaces to be bend. This means you can take advantage of the full elongation capacity of the materials without risk of tearing.
This cold process technology also preserves the structure of the materials better, due to a work at ambient temperature.
This process is particularly suited to create cylindrical shapes with undercuts, which are impossible to make using conventional stamping technologies.
The pressure required depends on the radius of curvature to be achieved, the thickness, and the elastic limit of the material within its elongation capability. This pressure can vary from a few bars for almost flat surfaces and low thicknesses, up to several thousand bars for conforming operations by shrinkage on larger thicknesses.
The materials that can be worked are all sheet metals with thicknesses from a few tenths of millimetre up to several millimetres, and with a sufficient elongation capacity (such as steel, stainless steel, aluminium, copper, brass, titanium, etc.).