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

Safran to Design New Alloys for the Engine’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS) Program (US)

France’s Délégation Générale pour l’Armement (DGA) has granted Safran a 2019-2024 contract of €115 million ($131 million) to study the architecture of the combustor and high-pressure turbine of the new engine. Thrust will be higher than that of the M88, so Safran will have to design new alloys for blades able to resist temperatures of over 2,000 degrees C, compared with the 1,850 degrees currently encountered in the M88. On photo The February 6 agreement between Safran and MTU was signed between the CEOs of the companies (seated), respectively Philippe Petitcolin (left) and Reiner Winkler (right). (Credit photo: Safran)

Safran Aircraft Engines (Safran Group) from France and the German MTU Aero Engines company announced on February 6 a partnership to jointly lead development of the engine that will power the next-generation combat aircraft. The program is part of the Système de Combat Aérien du Future (SCAF)/Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program. The announcement was made at one of the Safran Group’s sites at Gennevillers, near Paris, in the presence of the French and German Ministers of Defense, Florence Parly and Continue reading

Mazda Develops World’s First Cold-Stamped Parts Using 1,310 MPa-Class High-Strength Steel (US)

HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation, working separately with Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation and JFE Steel Corporation, has developed the world’s first cold-stamped vehicle body parts made from 1,310 MPa-class high-strength steel.1 The parts are used in Mazda’s new-generation Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture, which will underpin upcoming models starting from the all-newContinue reading

USAF installs metallic 3D printed part on operational F-22 Raptor (US)

The US Air Force (USAF) has installed a metallic 3D printed aircraft part on an operational F-22 Raptor fighter. The 3D aircraft printed part was installed by 574th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintainers during depot maintenance at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. 574th AMXS director Robert Lewin said: “One of the most difficult things to overcome in the F-22 community, because of the small fleet size, is the availability of additional parts to support the aircraft.” The printed part is designed to replace a corrosion-prone aluminium Continue reading

Scientists from Bremen involved in developing additive manufacturing aluminium alloys for aerospace (US)

According to a recent report, a few scientists from Bremen are involved in a project to further develop aluminium alloys for additive manufacturing, with an intention to exploit the lightweight construction potential of aluminium in the aerospace industry. (On photo Peter Sander, 3D printing expert at Airbus – credit photo @Airbus)

This one of the start-up projects for the Bremen Research and Development Centre for Lightweight Materials and Technologies Ecomat is funded by the Bremen Aerospace Research Program 2020 with around one million euros. The companies involved are Ariane Group, Airbus, Materialise and Innojoin, as well as scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Material-Oriented Technologies (IWT) and the Continue reading