Development of 7050 T-74 Aluminum Alloy Alternative for use in Additive Manufacturing (AM) Systems
Navy SBIR 2015.1 - Topic N151-010
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Moore - [email protected]
Opens: January 15, 2015 - Closes: February 25, 2015 6:00am ET

N151-010 TITLE: Development of 7050 T-74 Aluminum Alloy Alternative for use in Additive Manufacturing (AM) Systems

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Air Platform, Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate a novel aerospace aluminum alloy for use in powder bed, powder fed, or wire fed additive manufacturing (AM) systems, which exhibits comparable performance of conventional 7050 T-74 aluminum alloy.

DESCRIPTION: Additive manufacturing has the ability to become game changing in the fabrication of components for use in Naval Aviation with the potential to enhance operational readiness, reduce total ownership cost, and enable parts on demand manufacturing. The technology has progressed over the years (Ref 1-4); however, the acceptance of AM to produce structural components for Navy aircraft applications is still lagging. Many areas require technology development including the formulation of tailored aluminum alloys which can be utilized in the production of aircraft components that exhibit the same mechanical properties of aluminum 7050 T-74 alloys. Aluminum 7050 T-74 alloys underwent extensive development specifically for use in aircraft applications and required years of refinement to meet performance specifications. The development of a similar class of alloys applicable to AM requires knowledge and understanding of the effects of processing parameters on material performance. Innovative aluminum alloys are sought that would be utilized in AM for the production of Navy aircraft components.

PHASE I: Develop an innovative aluminum alloy suitable for use in an AM system, which has the potential to meet or exceed the performance of conventional 7050 T-74 alloys. Demonstrate feasibility of the developed alloy by fabricating coupons and generating limited test data, such as static and fatigue properties for comparison.

PHASE II: Fully refine the formulation of the aluminum alloy developed under Phase I and demonstrate the suitability of the alloy to be utilized by the fabrication of a small but complex shaped component. Perform limited testing on the component to assess its performance. Initiate the development of a materials properties database including fatigue dependent allowables in support of the qualification of the alloy for AM of Navy aircraft components.

PHASE III: Complete the development of the alloy material property database, including B-basis allowables, to fully characterize material performance. Perform validation and verification on the developed alloy ensuring it can be utilized for the production of Navy aircraft components by performing a complete component test program. Transition the developed alloy to appropriate military programs or commercial manufacturing facilities.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Additive manufacturing (AM) is utilized throughout commercial industry for prototype development and part production. The technology developed would have applicability to the automotive industry and commercial aviation manufacturing firms.

1. Herderick, E., Additive Manufacturing of Metals: A Review, Proceedings of MS&T_11, (2011). Additive Manufacturing of Metals, Columbus, OH.

2. Metallic Materials Properties Development and Standardization (MMPDS-07), Federal Aviation Administration (April 2012).

3. Metals Handbook Desk Edition, ASM International, 1985.

4. Frazier, W. E., Digital Manufacturing of Metallic Components: Vision and Roadmap. Solid Free Form Fabrication Proceedings. (August 9-11, 2010). University of Texas at Austin, Austin TX, pg.717-732.

KEYWORDS: Additive Manufacturing; Aluminum Alloys; aluminum 7050 T-74; Materials Processing; processing parameters; mechanical properties

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