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.
The new composites manufacturing innovation center is intended to be a source of grand challenges for industry, like the kind that got us to the moon under JFK. These aren't the words its new CEO Craig Blue used, but that's the idea and the vision behind the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).
The 100% solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse 2 is prepping for its upcoming flight, becoming the first plane to fly around the world without using fuel. It's able to do so because of above-average performance by all of the technologies that go into it, especially materials.
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
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