Alvant, a leader in Aluminium Matrix Composites (AMCs), has unveiled how the materials technology can challenge traditional materials in the design and manufacture of lightweight strong parts.
Selected by Safran Landing Systems to participate in the £28M ‘Large Landing Gear of the Future’ initiative to reduce emissions and fuel consumption in the aerospace industry, lowering the whole-life ownership cost of commercial airliners.
AMCs are advanced composite materials in which the aluminium is reinforced with a secondary high-performance material, typically a long fibre, short fibre, or particles, and are manufactured using an Advanced Liquid Pressure Forming (ALPF) process.
Compared to unreinforced metals, AMCs can have higher strength, greater stiffness, lower weight, superior wear resistance and lower coefficients of thermal and electrical conductivity.
The opportunities it offers has led to Alvant also receiving orders to supply the ‘Breakthrough Aerospace Materials’ project with Rolls Royce, while the next step it to look at using the materials in other applications, including lightweight electric motors.
“The aerospace industry faces the challenge of finding suitable materials that will reduce weight and improve efficiency whilst maintaining reliability and lowering whole-life ownership costs,” said Alvant technical director Gemma Christian.
“AMCs offer an exciting potential to an industry that needs a step-change in performance to meet ever stringent market and legislative demands. We believe AMCs can offer reductions in weight of approximately 25 per cent compared to titanium components of similar design.”
Alvant’s work will be on show in the Innovation Area of Farnborough International Airshow on 18 July, with the current project funded by a £513,000 grant from Innovate UK.