Solid-State Spray Forming of Near-Net-Shape Structural Materials
Small Business Information
P.O. Box 8392, Las Cruces, NM, 88006
Ralph M. Tapphorn
AbstractThe objective of this research is to demonstrate the feasibility of spray forming aluminum Metal Matrix Composites (MMC) in the solid-state physical form as a light weight structural material. It is anticipated that this innovative manufacturing process will provide opportunities to fabricate near-net-shape spacecraft and interceptor structures with unique material properties. The process called Solid-State Spray-Forming (SSF) is an energy efficient and environmentally compliant process for fabricating metal and metal matrix composites into near net-shape components or strructures. Like conventional (liquid/near-liquid phase) spray forming, SSF is capable of producing finished components or structures that require a minimum of tooling and machining. Unlike conventional techniques, SSF does not consume energy to melt the metal matrix and, since the process is performed completely in the solid state, the resultant structures are expected to exhibit material properties closer to those of wrought, rather than cast alloys. Unstable or otherwise impractical strengthening phases (including intermetallics and nanophase particles) may be added by mixing powder forms of these materials with the feedstock. It is anticipated that a MMC comprised of standard aluminum alloy matrix and ceramic or intermetallic particles can be formed as finished or near net-shape components or structures. The benefits of the proposed Solid-State Spray Forming of aluminum metal-matrix composites include the fabrication of near net-shape components, parts, and structures for spacecraft and interceptor materials. The commerical applications of this process include the fabrication of light weight aluminum materials, structures, and thermal management materials for the automotive, aerospace,electronics industries.
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