Advanced Metalworking Solutions for
Naval Systems that Go in Harm's Way
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Structural Aluminum Casting Technology for Navy Aircraft

Objective

Develop aluminum casting manufacturing technology needed to reduce cost through the widespread implementation of aluminum castings in Navy aircraft as a replacement for fabricated aluminum primary structures.

Technical Approach

Assess the state of the art in the manufacture of structural aluminum castings * Define the relationship between process, microstructure, and properties * Develop process modeling tools for predicting the microstructure and mechanical properties as a function of the casting process and thermal history * Integrate knowledge into a methodology for optimizing the casting process * Verify modeling tools by making components for the F/A-18E/F fighter aircraft in a commercial foundry

Benefits

Procurement cost of complex aluminum structural components, such as the gun bay door for the F/A-18E/F fighter aircraft, is projected to be reduced by approximately 50 percent. Elimination of fabricated structures should also reduce in-service corrosion leading to reduced sustainment costs.

Implementation

A final deliverable report was issued and delivered to the F/A-18E/F Program Office Stakeholder. The project objectives were achieved. The report detailed the results of sand and investment casting process assessment, process modeling, microstructure and mechanical properties characterization and the results of a prototype article demonstration.

Status

Completed