Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
The unusual ability of some metals and alloys to elongate uniformly thousands of percent at elevated temperatures, much like hot polymers or glasses. Under normal creep conditions, conventional alloys do not stretch uniformly, but form a necked-down region and then fracture after elongations of only 100% or less. The most important requirements for obtaining superplastic behavior include a very small metal grain size, a well-rounded (equiaxed) grain shape, a deformation temperature greater than one-half the melting point, and a slow deformation rate. See Alloy, Creep (materials), Eutectics
Superplasticity is important to technology primarily because large amounts of deformation can be produced under low loads. Thus, conventional metal-shaping processes (for example, rolling, forging, and extrusion) can be conducted with smaller, and cheaper equipment. Nonconventional forming methods can also be used; for instance, vacuum-forming techniques, borrowed from the plastics industry, have been applied to sheet metal to form car panels, refrigerator door linings, and TV chassis parts. See Metal forming