An aluminum alloy designated 7085 developed by Alcoa is getting a foothold in tough aircraft and military applications.
The first application of 7085 was for large die forgings on the Airbus A380 wing spars. Higher zinc along with reduced copper and magnesium content give the aluminum alloy excellent strength and high fracture toughness. It’s used in the Boeing Dreamliner for wing spars and engine pylons. It’s also being evaluated for thick structural parts, such as blast shields, on military vehicles.
Engineers shifted from titanium to 7085 for large forgings that form the center section of the bulkhead of the multinational Joint Strike Fighter’s F-35B variant for the US Marines and Royal Navy. Reason: To save weight. Titanium is 60 percent more dense than the aluminum alloy.
At the JEC Europe 2015 composites show in Paris last month, makers of composite materials, software, and process equipment showed off their latest innovations. This year's show saw some announcements related to automotive applications, but many of the improvements came in the world of aerospace.
The DuPont-sponsored Plastics Industry Trends survey shows engineers want improved performance in a broad range of plastics and better recycling technology. These concerns top even processing enhancements that improve productivity.
Plastics leader SABIC recently announced a global initiative to help its customers take advantage of additive manufacturing (AM) and also advance 3D printing (3DP) technologies in several application areas. The company's plans go way beyond materials, and also include design, processing, and part performance.
A theme that was reflected in several ways at NPE 2015 was the use of 3D printing to assist in, or improve on, injection molding, as well as improvements in 3D printing materials and processes that are making better functional prototypes and end-use parts.
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