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April 2006 edition

High-strength alloy could herald new and faster aircraft generation

By Larry Jones

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory are getting ready to benchmark test a new highstrength aluminium alloy for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The test is designed to help ready the aluminium-yttrium-nickel alloy for commercial production techniques. The material is being developed with aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney and public and private partners to replace heavier or costlier components in the “cool” sections of jet engines. The material also could be used in other parts of an aircraft such as wing spars. The development, which could help ensure that the next generation of fighters fly faster and farther, will be of interest to every aircraft manufacture that wants to lower costs and cut journey times. Larry Jones says preliminary tests of the Material Preparation Centre’s Al-Y-Ni alloy shows it far exceeds anything commercially available.

Jones explains the alloy’s development in his technical appraisal.

He says it could make a potential real contribution to the entire aviation and aerospace industry.

The next generation of jet fighter aircraft could fly farther and faster thanks to a new high-strength aluminium alloy prepared at the US Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. The new alloy is one material being developed for use in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an aircraft that will see widespread use as the primary fighter for the US Navy, Air Force, and Marines as well as US allies abroad.

Researchers at Ames Laboratory’s Material....

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Ames Laboratory, USDOE Metal & Alloy Fabrications

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