Rusal, a leading aluminium producer headquartered in Moscow, Russia, has launched ScАlution, a new brand for its aluminium-scandium products. Under the new range, the company will produce a number of aluminium-scandium products, including master alloys, slabs and billets, as well as wire and powders for Additive Manufacturing.
The brand name ScAlution is composed of scandium, aluminium, and solution. Rusal has developed and patented aluminium-scandium lean alloys of the following grades: AA 5081 containing up to 0.10% of scandium for the aerospace industry; AA 5181 containing up to 0.03% of scandium for transport engineering, including shipbuilding; and RS 553 powder for AM.
According to Rusal, ScAlution alloys contribute to lighter vehicles, as well as lower fuel consumption and air emissions due to their technological, physical and mechanical properties. Such alloys are said to be in high demand across all aluminium-based industries.
“RUSAL’s engineers have managed to develop a brand-new scientific and industrial approach to creating aluminium-scandium lean alloys, through its casting and thermo-mechanical treatment technology,” stated Victor Mann, Chief Technical Officer at Rusal. “As a result, ScAlution alloys have 40–50% higher mechanical properties compared to alloys without scandium. Applying ScAlution to the production process helps towards countering the current challenges of the global industry. For example, applying our alloys makes it possible to deliver 300 kg more of useful cargo to the orbit or reduce the weight of a sea ship by up to 20%.”
Until now, aluminium-scandium alloys have primarily been used in the aerospace and sports industries. Their widespread application across industries was restrained by three key factors: high concentration of scandium – up to 0.25%, the significant cost of scandium oxide – up to $2,000 per kilogramme, and no large and reliable producer of scandium oxide.
Rusal reports that it was the first in the world to create the looped production chain – from the production of scandium oxide to the output of finished products. The consumption of aluminium-scandium lean alloys could reportedly reach 300,000 tonnes per year by 2035, according to companies in the transport and aerospace industries.