An EU-funded project, titled AlForAMA, is underway to develop an aluminium alloy for aircraft structural parts manufactured using metal Additive Manufacturing technology. The main goal of the project is to develop an innovative high strength aluminium alloy suitable for powder bed selective laser melting (SLM) systems, with improved weldability and increased mechanical and corrosion resistance in comparison to the cast grades Al alloys currently employed.
According to the project brief, the alloy’s development will focus primarily on tailoring its chemical composition to improve the processability and/or mechanical responses of well-established commercial aluminium alloys, and on defining the processing of the raw powder material.
Raw materials for SLM, produced in a powder form, will be obtained by an atomisation process or by a mixing procedure of different starting powders. After SLM processing, a suitable heat treatment will be defined for the new alloy by considering its specific microstructural characteristics.
The manufacturing process will then be further developed to ensure defect-free material manufacture, with deep characterisation of the new material to be carried out including mechanical, chemical and corrosion aspects. Finally, the manufacturing process will be validated at component level.
The AlForAMA project is being coordinated by Lortek in Ordizia, Spain with the participation of the Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies of Materials (IMDEA Materials) and the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium.