US Navy invents zinc-free anode enhanced by ‘very small addition of tin (US)

A U.S. Navy research team has discovered an alloy for making better, cheaper underwater anodes with the potential for shifting the global business of maintaining ships and piers. A patent application was published by the federal government on Thursday for the new aluminum anode alloy containing a “very small addition of tin.” It was invented by Craig Matzdorf and Alan Grieve of the Naval Air Warfare Center’s Aircraft Division in Maryland. Sacrificial anodes are attached to marine vessels and structures to protect them from corrosion caused by the flow of electrons between metal surfaces like iron, steel, and aluminum. When submerged in seawater, these metals form a battery. Many anodes are made of alloys consisting mostly of zinc, a metal that can easily absorb the electrons Continue reading

US Army Air Force Engineers Focus on Metals Research (US)

Engineers at the Air Force Research Laboratory are exploring new metals and metal processing techniques for use in future aerospace applications. (Credit Photo @Air Force Research Laboratory)

Carbon-fiber composite materials have been the darling of the aerospace industry in recent years. But, metal still plays a critical role in commercial and military aircraft, especially for applications that involve high temperatures or high stresses, such as engines and landing gear. Engineers at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) are exploring new metals and new metal processing techniques for use in hotter, faster and more efficient aircraft and spacecraft being developed for future combat missions. “Until you can make a jet engine out of anything else, metals Continue reading

US Department of Defense, grants research for detecting structural damage in high-strength ship-building materials (US)

Haiying Huang, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington, has earned a pair of grants worth nearly $900,000 to monitor structural health and detect when and where damage happens. Using a $599,928 grant from the Department of Defense, Huang will attempt to design ultrasound transducers, devices that convert mechanical vibrations to electrical signals or vice versa, that can be glued to ships’ hulls to detect and monitor material degradation that causes corrosions on high-strength ship-building materials. These material degradations are microscale in size and usually cover the entire surface of the hull. If they are not treated, they can cause the alloys to break down and impact the ship’s seaworthiness. Huang’s research will focus on degradations that are early in their development, when they are so small that they are undetectable by Continue reading

3-D printed tool cuts through titanium, wins innovation prize (US)

Jimmy Toton inspects a 3D printed steel milling cutter. (Credit Photo@RMIT University)

Ph.D. candidate Jimmy Toton from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, has won the 2019 Young Defence Innovator Award and $15,000 prize at the Avalon International Airshow for the research, which was conducted with Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) and industry partner Sutton Tools. Because the metals used in Defence and aerospace are so strong, making high quality tools to cut them is a major, and expensive, challenge. This collaborative project conducted at RMIT’s Advanced Manufacturing Precinct is the first convincing demonstration of 3-D printed steel tools that can cut titanium alloys as well as, or in some cases better than, conventional steel tools. “Now that we’ve shown what’s possible, the full potential of 3-D printing can start being applied to this Continue reading

US Army prints ultra-strong steel parts from powder (US)

Using advanced additive manufacturing techniques, Army scientists work with an Air Force-invented steel alloy to print intricate geometries with ultra-high-strength. This sample, created using a technique called powder bed fusion, is the symbol of the newly formed Army Futures Command. The steel is 50-percent stronger than what is commercially available. (U.S. Army photo by David McNally)

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Feb. 27, 2019) — Soldiers needing replacement parts may turn to 3-D printers in the future to rapidly deliver reliable and ultra-strong metal parts. Army researchers are looking at new technologies to create steel alloy parts from powder using a laser. At the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory, materials manufacturing scientists say this technology may change everything. “I think it’s going to really revolutionize logistics,” said Dr. Brandon McWilliams, a team lead in the lab’s manufacturing science and technology branch. “Additive manufacturing is going to have a huge impact on sustainment.” While progress remains steady, McWilliams said realizing the dream of quickly printed, reliable 3-D metal parts is still a long way off; however its benefits will be substantial. “You can really reduce your logistics footprint,” he said. “Instead of worrying about carrying a whole Continue reading

Titanium pressure vessel for space exploration built successfully using the Wire + Arc Additive Manufacturing process (US)

A team comprising of Thales Alenia Space, Cranfield University and Glenalmond Technologieshave successfully produced a first full-scale prototype of a titanium pressure vessel to be used in future manned missions for space exploration. The piece is approximately 1m in height and 8.5kg in mass. Made of the titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V), it has been deposited using the Wire + Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) process, which Cranfield University has pioneered over the last decade. Thanks to being able to go straight from digital drawing to final structure, WAAM has integrated two individual pieces into a single part; eliminating the need for long-lead-time forgings; and substantially reduced the amount of waste material removed by machining. If manufactured traditionally, the component Continue reading

Aerospace Industry Increasingly Turns to PVD Coatings to Replace Hard Chrome (US)

Thermal barrier coatings protect the engines of military aircraft – like this F100 engine, but are also applied in civil aircraft

The search for a suitable replacement to hard chrome on aerospace components has been a key supply chain priority for aircraft manufacturers. This is because of the documented health risks to workers and the impact on the environment from exposure to hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen that occurs during the chrome plating process and the most toxic form of chromium. As a result, chromium is a highly regulated chemical in major markets worldwide. In the European Union, hexavalent chromium falls under the domain of the EU regulation, REACH Continue reading

Outstanding radiation resistance of tungsten-based high-entropy alloys (US)

APT analysis of the HEA irradiated to 8 dpa with 3-MeV Cu+ at 1050 K. –  (A) to (D) 3D distribution of Cr, V, Ta, and W. (E) to (H) 2D compositional maps of Cr, V, Ta, and W using a slice of 25 nm by 1 nm by 20 nm. (I) to (L) Top-down view showing the location of three different GBs and the corresponsing elemental segregation. Reconstruction side-view (M) and top-view (N) with 25 at % Cr isocomposition surface showing Cr-V–rich precipitates inside grains. (O) Compositional partitioning between the precipitate and the matrix. ppts, precipitates.

A body-centered cubic W-based refractory high entropy alloy with outstanding radiation resistance has been developed. The alloy was grown as thin films showing a bimodal grain size distribution in the nanocrystalline and ultrafine regimes and a unique 4-nm lamella-like structure revealed by atom probe tomography (APT). Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and x-ray diffraction show certain black spots appearing after thermal annealing at elevated temperatures. TEM and APT analysis correlated the black spots with second-phase particles rich in Cr and Continue reading

3D printing technology enhancing logistics for Army (US)

A Soldier holds a cap used to protect the fire extinguishing system housed in the wheel wells of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. Without the cap, MRAPs are deemed non-mission-capable. Soldiers in Korea saved 1,472 operational days for their MRAPs by 3-D printing the caps for about $2.50 each. (Photo Credit: Sam Curtis)

FORT MEADE, Md. — As 3D printing increases both in the field and at depots, the Army’s Center of Excellence for Additive and Advanced Manufacturing is slated to reach initial operating capability this year at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois.  Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, the Army’s deputy chief of staff, G-4, outlined the Army’s current 3D printing capabilities at the 2019 Military Additive Manufacturing Summit and Technology Showcase Feb. 6, in Tampa, Florida.  At the summit, defense, academia, and industry officials were privy to the latest additive manufacturingContinue reading

Navy Seals’ future Flight Soldier Turbine Needs Advanced Superalloys (US)

In terms of air-breathing turbines, there really wasn’t anything available in the thrust class needed. The military’s demand for high-speed target drones drove advances in metal alloys for building lightweight turbines. Improved nickel alloys made turbine wheels stronger and allowed them to withstand higher temperatures without distorting

Functioning rocket packs were featured in 1960s-era TV shows such as “Gilligan’s Island” and “Lost in Space,” and James Bond donned a Bell Rocket Belt in 1965 to escape villains in “Thunderball.” But the flight duration for such compact machines — a class of aircraft called individual lift devices, or ILDs — was measured in seconds, and their fuel source was exotic. Breakthroughs in the past decade in miniaturization of electronics and the casting of advanced nickel alloys, however, have radically altered key technologies needed for developing practical, useful ILDs. JetPack Aviation in California expects to have a full-scale ILD prototype ready for initial flight testing by Continue reading