The article mentioned brake calipers. Several years ago, I worked on a project with TARDEC to replace cast-iron brake calipers with high-strength aluminum brake calipers for a military vehicle (not this one). Doing so reduced the vehicle weight by literally hundreds of pounds.
I'm not sure where that project went, since I left the company soon after. My lab technician went on to get a master's degree out of the experience, while I'm still working (slowly!) on mine.
The idea of using aluminum alloys to make arm or plates is, in my view, particularly important because of 2 reasons. First, we all know that aluminum weighs a lot less than speed. Thus the humvees will be lighter and easier to transport. The greater strength of this allow is also great for battlefront scenarios. But, on the downside, the reduced weight means that other reinforcements have to be added if it is to withstand blasts without flipping the humvee.
Regarding both the 7085 alloy and possible armor construction, here's a 2002 press release describing the "new" alloy's use in blast-resistant (note that's *not* blast-proof) Fortress cargo containers for airlines: http://www.alcoa.com/global/en/news/news_detail.asp?newsYear=2002&pageID=222034673 "The Fortress Container uses hardened aluminum alloys for both the frame and skin." "The aluminum container structure is designed to resist pressure loads from an explosion, while an interior Kevlar lining provides protection from blast fragments. In designing the Fortress Container, Alcoa used its experience gained in developing aluminum armor for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the HMMWV (Humvee) and other military applications." How much this tells us about the armor plates, vs the cargo container panels, is an open question, but it sounds like their construction is similar. Here's some detailed info about the alloy. I couldn't extract the link, but if you Google this it should come up: ALCOA_7085-T7452_Die_Forging_green_letter_Ed_3_August_2006.pdf
The U.S. Navy also experienced problems with aluminum when the USS Stark (frigate ship) was struck by two Exocet missiles in the Persian Gulf in 1987...killing 37 sailors. The aluminum melted in many places affected by fire, including aluminum stairs and ladders, hampering escape and damage control.
All aluminum has a rather low melting point of around 1,200 degrees F (660 deg C), and the mechanical properties of aluminum are severely compromised by temperatures of only 400 degrees F (205 deg C).
In his keynote address at the RAPID 2015 conference last week, Made In Space CTO Jason Dunn gave an update on how far his company and co-development partner NASA have come in their quest to bring 3D printing to the space station -- and beyond.
On Memorial Day, Americans remember the sacrifices the US armed forces have made, and continue to make, in service to the country. All of us should also consider the developments in technological capabilities and equipment over the years that contribute to the success of our military operations.
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