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Engineering Materials

Single-Piece Aluminum Tank Hull Will Resist IEDs

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Ship Al
Ann R. Thryft   11/6/2013 1:03:43 PM
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Watashi, thanks for telling us your experience. Interesting about the combination of fuel heating hot enough to burn aluminum. As we've pointed out here, the material being developed for use in military land vehicles is not the same as was being used in ships or other vehicles during earlier conflicts.

Watashi
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Ship Al
Watashi   11/5/2013 11:45:18 AM
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Speaking for the aluminum on ships – I served on the same class of Guided Missile Frigate (FFG) as the USS Stark that was nearly sunk by Iraqi Exocet missiles in 1987.  The biggest concern FFGs faced with the aluminum structures was its propensity to ignite and burn.  

The unspent rocket fuel from the missiles that hit the Stark burned hot enough to cause the aluminum to ignite.  This isn't an issue for blast protection purposes, but the ship aluminum was never intended to protect from blasts, just to protect from seawater.  Even at that, I sailed through storms that beat our ship bad enough to require yard work while steel ships survived (structurally) just fine.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Methodof Manufacture
Ann R. Thryft   11/4/2013 1:07:09 PM
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Tool_maker, I wish Alcoa was more forthcoming with those kinds of details, too, but they generally don't give them out.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: That is one big press!
Ann R. Thryft   11/4/2013 1:05:30 PM
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Thanks for your comment, Thinking_J. I agree, this breaks the boundaries of the sizes that can usually be forged. That's one reason I wrote about it.

Tool_maker
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Methodof Manufacture
Tool_maker   11/4/2013 12:46:53 PM
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I wish this article had gone into a little more depth as to how this forging will be accomplished. For example: Will it be done hot? What sort of manipulator will be used? How many press strokes will be required? With what sort of blank are they starting? How much variation between thickest and thinnest cross sections? What is the anticipated cycle time?

Thinking_J
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That is one big press!
Thinking_J   11/1/2013 5:07:21 PM
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I would have expected something like this to be cast.. not forged.

VERY tough to forge pieces this big with variable thickness walls (of significant wall thickness).

But forging does bring some additional structal benifits compared to casting.

 

Rob Spiegel
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Protecting the tanks
Rob Spiegel   10/31/2013 8:20:47 PM
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It's good to see the U.S. Army Research Lab and Alcoa are working to protect those service folks inside the tanks. This work will likely save many lives.

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