Development of Aluminum Powder Metallurgy Alloys for Aerospace Applications
Chua, Allison Sueyi
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Currently, there is a high demand for lightweight aerospace materials, driven by the desire to provide enhanced fuel efficiency by reducing vehicular weight. Aluminum alloys are attractive due to their excellent mechanical properties and high strength to weight ratios. Powder metallurgy (PM), which converts metal powder into a high performance product, presents an alternative to traditional forming techniques, which are often unable to provide adequate dimensional tolerances. The challenge is to determine if aluminum PM alloys and technologies can be successfully employed within aerospace applications. This research focuses on the PM processing technologies (die compaction, cold isostatic pressing (CIP), and spark plasma sintering (SPS)) of two alloys, PM2024 and PM7075. Processing parameters were assessed using attributes such as density, hardness, and tensile properties. Both powders showed comparable densities and tensile properties to their wrought equivalents. Ultimately, the groundwork was laid for future research into these alloys and their processing methods.