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 Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI). The expected time for the completion of the project is early 2019. The first step of the project will be to further develop an already available high-performance alloy in a way that it can be of use in space travel. At the same time, the scientists want to develop a novel aluminium alloy composed of similarly outstanding material properties as not only an already available high-performance alloy but also as a cost-effective alternative. With both variants, the processes of selective laser melting and powder build-up welding will be used to produce additively manufactured structural components for space travel.
While these structural components are load-bearing parts for launch vehicles that have to withstand extreme conditions and forces, special attention should be given to the surface treatment of components. The final results will be presented in a space demonstrator that will include all sub-steps of the project.