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QuesTek's high performance Ferrium M54 steel qualified for Navy T-45 aircraft hook shank production

Typical materials development and qualification times for flight critical components are in the range of 10-20 years, if successful at all. The Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) is focused on the key objectives of reduced development cost cutting in half the qualification-development time (to less than 10 years).

The QuesTek Innovations LLC Materials by Design® team was able to accelerate the material development of M54 steel from a clean sheet design to a fully-qualified, commercially-available alloy in just six years, under a U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Small Business Innovation Research funded project.

In late 2013, the Navy tested and qualified hook shank arresting gear components made from Ferrium M54 steel for the T-45 aircraft, in part because it provided more than twice the component life over the incumbent Hy-Tuf steel. Qualification life for the Hy-Tuf components was 1,020 arrests and for M54 was 2,300 arrests with the same geometry. The benefits of using Ferrium M54 steel include superior strength, toughness, fatigue resistance and stress corrosion cracking (SCC) resistance.

An order for 40 Ferrium M54 steel hook shanks has been authorized and QuesTek will manage the material procurement, forging, machining, heat treat and finishing processes. A preliminary Navy analysis of the procurement costs shows that the finished cost of Ferrium M54 steel hook shanks is only ˜10% more than hook shanks made with Hy-Tuf, but because of the greater lifetime of M54 hooks shanks, the cost savings to the Navy is expected to exceed $3 Million. Due to the fact that the M54 hook shanks were qualified with longer field life, fewer components will be consumed, thereby reducing waste and improving fleet logistics.

Given Ferrium M54's improved performance, the Navy has also agreed to allow Ferrium M54 steel to replace 300M steel on selected F/A-18 aircraft landing gear components, generally without requiring component level testing or full requalification.

Several other government agencies have provided funding over the years to help QuesTek develop the Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) tools and models necessary to design new materials, including The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Office (SERDP), US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

Press release issued by QuesTek Innovations LLC on August 19, 2014


 Contact details from our directory:
NAVAIR Research/Consulting Services
QuesTek Innovations LLC Steel, Cobalt, Aluminium, Titanium, Columbium, Copper, Metal Refractory Materials, Molybdenum, Superalloys


 Related aircraft programs:
Boeing T-45 Goshawk


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