Innovative Approach to Rapidly Qualify Ti-6Al-4V Metallic Aircraft Parts Manufactured by Additive Manufacturing (AM) Techniques
Navy SBIR 2015.1 - Topic N151-012
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Moore - [email protected]
Opens: January 15, 2015 - Closes: February 25, 2015 6:00am ET

N151-012 TITLE: Innovative Approach to Rapidly Qualify Ti-6Al-4V Metallic Aircraft Parts Manufactured by Additive Manufacturing (AM) Techniques

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Materials/Processes


OBJECTIVE: Innovative approach to rapidly qualify Ti-6Al-4V metallic aircraft parts manufactured by Additive Manufacturing (AM) techniques

DESCRIPTION: Based upon recent advances in AM, techniques are being developed to manufacture parts from metallic alloys currently used on Naval aircraft (Ref 1-3). Parts manufactured by AM are near net shape, with the ultimate goal to be able to use them on aircraft with minimum machining or post processing.

Many aircraft parts are built in small production runs when compared to consumer components. AM is well suited to these low volume parts, allowing them to be manufactured without the need to setup and break down production lines, manufactured as they are needed at the point of consumption, thus reducing the number of expensive parts in the supply chain. Ultimately, the digital description of an aircraft component will be stored electronically and downloaded to an AM machine to print the needed part, rather than physically moving the parts around the globe. This quick turnaround will enhance the Navy�s readiness level and reduce costs. AM may also facilitate innovative design and the creation of complex parts that cannot be fabricated by conventional methods.

One issue that is currently limiting the utility of AM is the qualification of metal parts manufactured using AM techniques. The material properties of the parts manufactured using AM must be understood and must be repeatable if they are to be used in a safety critical aircraft environment. There is a need to understand how the AM material process variables (i.e. laser power, scanning speed, distance between scanning lines, thickness of deposited layers, energy density, build orientation, cooling rate, powder size and size distribution, later beam width, etc.) impact the microstructure and hence the related mechanical properties of the alloy.

The traditional building block approach (Ref 1-3) for material qualification will hinder AM�s widespread use due to its high cost and long timeline. An innovative approach to qualify Ti-6Al-4V metal AM parts for use on Naval aircraft is sought. For example, models may be developed that can dramatically shorten the traditional certification process, or new materials testing processes or methods may be developed to rapidly validate the reliability of metal AM part properties. Other approaches will also be considered.

PHASE I: Develop innovative concepts, processing methodologies and tools that contribute to the rapid qualification of Ti-6Al-4V metallic AM parts. The concept may provide a complete qualification technique, may contribute to a step in the qualification process, or may support qualification.

PHASE II: Further develop and finalize the concept, processing methodology and tool from Phase I. Demonstrate the concept and show how it contributes to the rapid verification of the material microstructure and mechanical properties of representative Ti-6Al-4V metallic AM parts.

PHASE III: Deliver a capability that contributes to the rapid qualification of a broad range of T-6Al-4V metallic AM parts for military aviation and civilian applications.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: These new approaches can be used to accelerate the FAA certification process as well as the NAVAIR process. Fast qualification will promote a wider acceptance of AM technology within both the military and commercial sector.

1. Frazier, W., Polakovics, D. & Koegel, W. (March 2001). Qualification of Metallic Materials and Structures for Aerospace Applications, JOM.2.

2. Wang, F. Williams, S. Colegrove, P. and Antonysamy, A.A.,(2013) Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Wire and Arc Additive Manufactured Ti-6Al-4V, Metall. Trans. A., 44A, p 968�977

3. Vilaro, T., Colin, C. and Bartout, J.D., (2011) AS-fabricated and Heat-Treated Microstructures of the Ti-6Al-4V Alloy Processed by Selective Laser Melting, Metall. Trans. A., 42A, p 3190�3199

KEYWORDS: Additive Manufacturing; Modeling; Metallic; Qualification; Microstructure; Materials Processing

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