SpaceX to use superalloys in Mars rocket Raptor engines, says Elon Musk (US)

SpaceX’s current Texas facilities feature a test stand for Raptor, the engine intended to power BFR and BFS to Mars. (SpaceX)

A few days after he touched upon methods of creating BFR propellant on Mars, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk mentioned in a tweet that the launch company was using cutting-edge combinations of metals (known as superalloys) to ensure the efficiency and reliability of its Raptor rocket engine, a critical requirement for BFR to enable sustainable colonization of Mars. In response to a tweeted question about types of metal alloys currently in use at SpaceX, Musk briefly delved into the complexities of building BFR’s propulsion system, particularly with respect to alloys capable of surviving the intense conditions inside a rocket engine:

“[SpaceX is using] SX 300 & soon SX 500. Kind of a modern version of Inconel superalloys. High strength at temperature, extreme oxidation resistance. Needed for ~800 atmosphere, hot, oxygen-rich turbopump on Raptor rocket engine.” – Elon Musk

There’s a lot to break down for the layperson in Musk’s tweet. First and foremost, commenters (your author included) immediately jumped to the conclusion that “SX 300/500” referred to some sort custom SpaceX material, given that SX is a frequent shorthand for Continue reading

AddUp acquires DED steel 3D printing firm BeAM (US)

AddUp, the French leader in the design, production and marketing of metal 3D printing machines and production lines, based in Clermont-Ferrand, a joint-venture between Fives and Michelin, today announced the acquisition of BeAM, based in Strasbourg, a leader in the Directed Energy eposition (DED) technology, an additive manufacturing process dedicated to the production of large parts and the repair market. Created in 2012 in Strasbourg with subsidiaries in Cincinnati and Singapore, BeAM is a French manufacturer of industrial metal additive manufacturing machines which use the DED technology and has a broad range of customers both in France and abroad, in particular, in the aeronautics, defense and energy sectors. The 100% acquisition of BeAM will enable AddUp to expand its portfolio of Continue reading

CTC to develop additive technologies for the Defense Industry (US)

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) has won two subaward contracts — worth a total of $1 million — from Northeastern University, supporting the Army Research Laboratory, in the area of shelters and military structures.

The first subaward, which will run over a 12-month period of performance, calls for research and development of innovations in energy efficiency, ballistic engineering, and advanced decontaminable and low-observable coatings. Under the terms of the subaward, CTC, Northeastern University, and several other universities will focused on engineered materials, materials by design, modeling of additive

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NASA develops a New Alloy on International Space Station (US)

The Material Science Laboratory’s Low Gradient Furnace (LGF) during pre-flight assembly (Credit Photo @ NASA)

A centuries-old materials bonding process is being tested aboard the International Space Station in an experiment that could pave the way for more materials research of its kind aboard the orbiting laboratory. Sintering is the process of heating different materials to compress their particles together. “In space the rules of sintering change,” said Rand German, principal investigator for the investigation titled NASA Sample Cartridge Assembly-Gravitational Effects on Distortion in Sintering (MSL SCA-GEDS-German). “The first timeContinue reading

Thor Mining welcomes inclusion of tungsten on US critical minerals list (US)

Exploration and development company Thor Mining welcomed the inclusion of tungsten on the US department of the interior’s list of critical minerals. Tungsten had been under consideration for the list for months and its inclusion is important for Thor as the resource is the primary resource material at the AIM traded firm’s wholly-owned Pilot Mountain project in Nevada, which also contains copper and silver. Mick Billing, chairman of Thor Mining, said: “With Pilot Mountain situated in the State of Nevada, a longstanding miningContinue reading

Artificial intelligence aids materials fabrication (US)

Elsa Olivetti, the Atlantic Richfield Assistant Professor of Energy Studies in MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE).

System could pore through millions of research papers to extract “recipes” for producing materials.

In recent years, research efforts such as the Materials Genome Initiative and the Materials Project have produced a wealth of computational tools for designing new materials useful for a range of applications, from energy and electronics to aeronautics and civil engineering. But developing processes for producing those materials has continued to depend on a combination of experience, intuition, and manual literature reviews. A team of researchers Continue reading