The influence of clinching tool design in joining metal sheets by the clinching process with extensible dies is investigated. The material flow during the clinching process was examined experimentally and numerically. The geometrical and mechanical characteristics of joints produced under different processing conditions, that is, forming loads, were used to calibrate and validate a 3D finite element model of the clinching process. Then, the model was utilized to evaluate the influence of clinching tool design parameters, namely the punch diameter, the punch corner radius, the fixed die depth, the fixed die diameter, and the die corner radius. The effects of design parameters on the cross section of a clinched joint, the required forming load and the joint strength were analysed and the appropriate processing window was determined. According to the achieved results, the main benefits and drawbacks of each configuration are discussed.
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