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DRDO indigenously develops high strength titanium alloy to modernise aviation sector

India’s premier defence research firm, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has indigenously developed a ‘High Strength Metastable Beta Titanium Alloy’ containing Vanadium, Iron and Aluminium, Ti-10V-2Fe-3Al (non-ferrous near-beta titanium alloy) on industrial scale for applications in aerospace structural forgings.

Designed and developed by DRDO’s Hyderabad-based Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), the state-of-art alloys have been in use by many developed nations in recent times as a beneficial and cost-effective substitute for the relatively heavier traditional Ni-Cr-Mo structural steels to achieve weight savings.

Understanding the technology

The homegrown high strength titanium alloy is used in intricately configured components for aerospace applications. The higher strength, ductility, fatigue, and fracture toughness of the titanium alloy can replace steel and can lead to considerable weight savings. The components which may be forged from Beta Titanium Alloy include slat/flap tracks, landing gear, and drop link in landing gear among several others.

The high strength beta titanium alloys are unique due to design and durability, which makes them increasingly attractive for aircraft structural applications. Further, the lifetime cost of these are lower owing to their superior corrosion resistance as compared to steel

Notably, DMRL carried out a rigorous raw material selection, alloy melting, ultrasonics-based Non Destructive Evaluation (NDE), thermo-mechanical processing, heat treatment, type certification and mechanical characterization along with active collaboration with several organisations.

To aid, promote and modernise the aerospace sector, the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) has identified more than 15 steel components which may be replaced by the beta titanium alloy forgings in the near future along with a potential of 40 percent weight savings. Strategically important, the landing gear drop link was the first component forged successfully by ADA at HAL, Bengaluru with DMRL’s involvement.

Titanium Aerospace Forgings

The requirement of the highest standard of forged products in the aerospace industry is imperative. From rockets to satellites, these forged products provide reliability and durability to be more prevalent. It is not just the quality of forged products in the aerospace industry that matters. Traceability of parts from raw materials and at every stage of production through the final part is what makes an aircraft secure and sound.

Some of the popular alloys in the aerospace industry include:

Titanium Alloys
Aluminum Alloys
Copper Alloys
Stainless Steel
Superalloys
Other Specialty Alloys

 

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