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Alternative Manufacturing Methods and Materials for Gun-Launched Components



OBJECTIVE: Research innovative manufacturing processes to create reduced-weight components that can survive high temperature and high compressive (g loading) environments. 

DESCRIPTION: The US Army is in need of weight reduction for components used in gun-launched environments. In order to achieve the desired weight reduction, manufacturing processes other than the traditional subtractive types need to be explored. This project will investigate innovative materials, designs, and manufacturing methods to minimize production cost, minimize weight, and maintain the relevant performance requirements. Weight reduction of at least 50 percent as compared to the traditional component equivalent is the goal, while surviving long term temperatures storage requirements of up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and short term instantaneous temperature exposure of 900 degrees Fahrenheit while surviving shock loading up to 45,000 g’s. Components can vary in both size and shape with a volume not to exceed 16.5 cubic inches. Specific design targets will be provided at project kickoff. 

PHASE I: Investigate the feasibility and cost effectiveness of various alternate manufacturing processes and material combinations capable of surviving the gun-launch environment while significantly reducing the weight of the identified components. Define and execute a modeling and simulation test plan that will optimize component designs and material selections, and inform on the decision to switch to new manufacturing processes as well as the associated business case to do so. The best value of material/process/time is the objective. Success of Phase I will be the measured by a 50% weight reduction compared to traditional manufacturing methods utilizing the same material. Submission of a cost analysis is required but will not be used as a measure of success for Phase I. 

PHASE II: Based on successful results of Phase I, develop, demonstrate, and fabricate a well-defined solution that is reproducible, and exhibits confidence in transition to both military and commercial markets. The objective is to conduct further development and optimization of the design and materials that provide the best balance to achieve the requirements, specifications, and metrics listed in this topic. The Phase II effort will significantly improve upon the performance and efficiency of the conceptual design developed under Phase I. This will include performance testing in the contractor’s facility as well as simulated environment testing at a government location. 

PHASE III: A full size prototype (drawings will be provided by the government for production of prototype component) of the best performer whose metrics include weight reduction, strength, and cost from Phase II will be delivered to the Government and integrated into a full-scale demonstration. A full TDP outlining the manufacturing process as well as material selection will be provided upon completion of Phase III. Commercial applications include automotive and aircraft engines. 


1: Umetani and Schmidt (2013) Umetani N., Schmidt R.

2:  Cross-sectional structural analysis for 3d printing optimization

3:  Lu et al. (2014) Lu L., Sharf A., Zhao H., Wei Y., Fan Q., Chen X., Savoye Y., Tu C., Cohen-Or D., Chen B.

4:  Build-to-last: strength to weight 3d printed objects

5:  Stava et al. (2012) Stava O., Vanek J., Benes B., Carr N., Měch R.

6:  Stress relief: improving structural strength of 3d printable objects

7:  E. Jelis, M. Hespos and N. Ravindra, "Process Evaluation of AISI 4340 Steel Manufactured by Laser Powder Bed Fusion," Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance, vol. 27, no. 1, p. 63–71, 2017

KEYWORDS: Additive Manufacturing, Alternate Manufacturing Process, Light Weight, High Temperature, High Strength, 3D Printing, Metal Matrix, Alternate Materials 

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