Computational Design of High-Strength Thermally-Stable Aluminum Alloy for Aircraft Wheel and Brake Applications

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8650-10-C-5202
Agency Tracking Number: F083-067-0043
Amount: $746,981.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: AF083-067
Solicitation Number: 2008.3
Small Business Information
1820 Ridge Avenue, Evanston, IL, -
DUNS: 088176961
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Abhijeet Misra
 Sr. Materials Design Engi
 (847) 425-8233
Business Contact
 Raymond Genellie, Jr.
Title: Vice President - Operatio
Phone: (847) 425-8211
Research Institution
Aircraft wheels are subject to high energy braking events and harsh operating conditions. Constant improvements are being sought in key material properties for this demanding application in order to enable component weight reductions and reduce life-cycle costs. In the Phase I SBIR program, QuesTek Innovations LLC, applied its Materials by Design® technology to the design and development of a new aircraft wheel alloy. Following its design methodology, QuesTek designed a low-cost alternative to 2014 having better strength and ductility, equivalent corrosion, and better expected fatigue performance. During the proposed Phase II SBIR program, QuesTek will optimize and finalize Phase I alloy designs for high performance aircraft wheels. To ensure a commercialization path for the technology developed during this SBIR, QuesTek’s alloy development program will involve an original aircraft wheel manufacturer (OEM), and an experienced aircraft wheel forging house. The potent partnership of an alloy designer (QuesTek), an aluminum forging supplier, and an OEM wheel manufacturer increases the potential for the commercial success and implementation of QuesTek’s new alloy. The Phase II program will culminate with the demonstration of substantial improvement in key material properties in full-scale die-forged wheels over incumbent alloy 2014 wheels to justify alloy adoption. BENEFIT: The inability of alloy 2014 to sustain mechanical strength after prolonged exposure to high temperatures during service is a critical issue. The new proprietary ALCOA alloy 2040 has better performance over alloy 2014, but its high-cost is a critical barrier to implementation. The anticipated outcome of the SBIR program is a new 2xxx-type aluminum alloy for aircraft wheel applications, with improved ambient strength, similar strength retention, better corrosion behavior, and better fatigue performance over incumbent alloy 2014, at same or similar cost. An alloy with better mechanical performance over alloy 2014, at same or similar cost, results in component weight reduction, and improved durability. The improved fatigue resistance of the new alloy enables reduced life-cycle costs. The low alloy cost will be achieved by using standard aluminum alloying additions, standard processing techniques, and by licensing the alloy to multiple suppliers. In addition to military aerospace applications, the commercial aviation sector, as well as the automotive sector will greatly benefit from a high-strength, thermally-stable aluminum alloy. Potential applications of QuesTek’s new alloy (in addition to aircraft wheels) will likely include other common uses of 2014, such as military vehicles, truck frames, truck hubs, tank wheels, transport bridges and other structural applications.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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