Fortius Metals awarded $1.25M contract to qualify IN625-RAM2 wire for large-scale hypersonic applications

April 5, 2024

Fortius Metals, Lafayette, Colorado, USA, has been awarded an AFWERX Direct-to-Phase II SBIR contract in the amount of $1.25M focused on qualifying Fortius Metals IN625-RAM2 nickel-based superalloy wire for large-scale Additive Manufacturing of components used in hypersonic applications.

Fortius Metals’ Reactive Additive Manufacturing (RAM) technology is said to improve alloy grain structure to double IN625 yield strength at room temperature and increase yield strength up to 50% at 800ºC, reportedly without sacrificing ductility or toughness.

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Hypersonic applications place high demands on materials, requiring next-generation alloys to solve complex engineering design issues. Fortius will additively manufacture large-format hypersonic prototypes using its wire-based Directed Energy Deposition (DED) robotic welding cells.

IN625-RAM2 has already been commercialised in metal powder by Fortius Metals’ sister company, Elementum 3D, used with Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) Additive Manufacturing. Material properties have been established for PBF-LB and similar results are expected with wire DED. Fortius is developing wire alloy manufacturing at scale and has active commercial contracts to advance its capabilities.

Emphasising the impact of the project to commercialise advanced materials for use in Additive Manufacturing for defence applications, Jeff Lints, Fortius founder and CEO, stated, “AFWERX’s push to advance AM materials is critical to meet the rapid and evolving defence environment. It stimulates confidence in high-strength nickel superalloys and helps prove out challenging hypersonic applications. The foundational effort to qualify IN625-RAM2 for production will also benefit dual-use capabilities for industrial tooling and space propulsion.”

The Air Force Research Laboratory and AFWERX have partnered to streamline the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) process by accelerating the small business experience through faster proposal to award timelines, changing the pool of potential applicants by expanding opportunities to small business and eliminating bureaucratic overhead by continually implementing process improvement changes in contract execution.

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