Forging, like any other manufacturing process, has come a long way in the last 100 years. Forging at its core is much the same; shaping metal with pressure and heat. However, the alloys we forge, the processes, temperatures, thermal cycles, and machines have drastically changed to meet the demands.
Industrial forged parts are being made into critical components in a variety of equipment where conditions demand resilience and durability. Failure to do so would cause catastrophic outcomes. This is no different for the aerospace Industry.
“As the Aerospace advances forward, new demands require lighter, stronger, more heat resistant materials and forged parts.”
New alloys developed for the aerospace industry promise to be more efficient. They need to be lightweight, durable and survive ever higher temperatures.
In this process, metal alloys and other components are combined and mixed in powder form, then sheared together below solidus temperatures to form a solid piece. By combining metals and materials that cannot be melted together with thermal energy, this technique allows production of components that can be both more durable and lighter weight for aircraft and other aerospace end uses. Up till now the processing costs have been prohibitive but new techniques to convert powder to solid promise to break through the cost/price barrier.
Direct Powder to Solid Extrusion
One of the new techniques is called direct powder to solid extrusion, being developed out of the PNNL (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory). This process eliminates multiple steps typical in conventional extrusion; traditionally a process that is energy- and process-intense, into one step. It creates processes that make these materials faster, stronger, and better. They can be commercialized in ways that powder alloys have never been commercialized before.
Direct Powder to Solid Extrusion on Aluminum research shows:
- Better – Increased ductility (2 – 3 times) while maintaining strength
- Cheaper – reducing the process steps, greatly decreases the cost in manufacturing
- Greener – reduced heating required & less steps in the process
Queen City Forging, along with the entire forging industry has a wealth of knowledge on the forging process and the metallurgy it can produce. We seek to educate others to improve our shared understanding about the many variables that are part of the forging process and the way the products we make can serve the needs of machine designs yet to be invented.