Ultrafine grained tungsten-based kinetic energy penetrators
Agency / Branch:
DOD / ARMY
Phase I work demonstrated that ultrafine grained tungsten-based materials, which are an alternative to depleted uranium (DU) used in kinetic energy (KE) penetrators, can be synthesized by consolidating nanostructured powders. This was made possible due to innovations in synthesis and processing of nanostructured tungsten-based powders. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time ever that an average grain size of a few hundred nanometers has been obtained in high density tungsten samples through a powder consolidation approach. Such ultrafine grained tungsten-based materials have the potential to display exceptional dynamic mechanical behavior that is most ideal for armor piercing penetrators. These results provide the basis for a Phase II program, where the primary objective is to make available to the Army prototypes of a new generation of ultrafine grained tungsten-based KE penetrators. Our approach, which includes near net shape consolidation, is built upon aspects of powder metallurgy as practiced in the industry, thereby making the transition from laboratory scale to industrial scale realistic. One industrial manufacturer is partnered with NEI in the Phase II program to enable rapid commercialization.
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