Boom Supersonic, Denver, Colorado, USA, a start-up which is designing a Mach 2.2 fifty-five-passenger supersonic jet, has selected metal Additive Manufacturing company Velo3D for the production of flight hardware for the XB-1, its supersonic demonstrator aircraft. Boom is expected to leverage Velo3D’s Intelligent Fusion technology, which enables significant process control, for the production of the required parts.
XB-1 is the first independently-developed supersonic jet and, as a demonstrator, is intended to prove the key technologies behind the planned supersonic jet Overture, set for launch in 2023. XB-1 is said to combine over 3,700 parts and some of the most advanced technologies including advanced carbon fibre composites, a refined delta wing planform, and an efficient variable-geometry propulsion system.
Travelling at Mach 2.2 (1,687mph), XB-1 has unique and demanding functional, performance and precision requirements. While some current AM solutions can be design restrictive, resulting in poor quality and inconsistent idea-to-build success, Velo3D’s Intelligent Fusion technology is reported to provide a level of control, design freedom and quality assurance that makes it ideal for challenging design environments such as supersonic aircraft performance. With Velo3D, Boom hopes to use metal Additive Manufacturing to accelerate aircraft development and improve system performance.
“High-speed air travel relies on technology that is proven to be safe, reliable, and efficient, and by partnering with Velo3D we’re aligning ourselves with a leader in Additive Manufacturing that will print the flight hardware for XB-1,” stated Mike Jagemann, Head of XB-1 Production, Boom Supersonic. “Velo3D helped us understand the capabilities and limitations of metal Additive Manufacturing and the positive impact it would potentially have on our supersonic aircraft. We look forward to sharing details about the aircraft development and improved system performance once XB-1 takes flight.”
Boom and Velo3D have already conducted validation trials, which reportedly performed accurately and to desired results. Now, Velo3D is said to be developing two titanium flight hardware parts for XB-1, which will be installed on the prototype aircraft in early 2020. These AM parts are installed as part of the ECS system and ensure the aircraft can achieve safe flight at all conditions.
“Boom is reimagining the entire commercial aircraft experience, from the design, build, and materials used,” explained Benny Buller, CEO, Velo3D. “Our technology is designed to help innovators like Boom rethink what’s possible, empower advanced designs with little or no post-processing, and enable an entirely new approach to production. Boom needed more than just prototypes and we’re thrilled to help them create the first 3D printed metal parts for an aircraft that will move faster than the speed of sound.”