Materials Preparation Center Creates Stronger, Lighter Aluminum Alloy
The next generation of jet fighter aircraft could fly farther and faster thanks to a new high-strength aluminum alloy prepared at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. The new alloy is one material being developed for use in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a cutting-edge aircraft that will see widespread use as the primary fighter for the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Marines as well as U.S. allies abroad.
Researchers at Ames Laboratory’s Materials Preparation Center will produce about 400 pounds of an aluminum-yttrium-nickel alloy over the next few months that will serve as a benchmark for testing and to help refine commercial production techniques. The material is being developed in conjunction with aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney and a number of other 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.
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