Alex McCloskey, Research and Development Engineer, Northrop Grumman
Eric Barnes, Technical Fellow, Northrop Grumman
The current state-of-the-art for Additive Manufacturing (AM) aluminum alloys and processes is confined to selective laser melt (SLM) aluminum-silicon based systems with strength levels too low for many aerospace applications. In response to this need Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGAS) employed computational alloy design methods to pursue a low cost alloy/process combination with competitive strength and ductility relative to 6xxx and 7xxx series wrought aluminum. This pursuit resulted in a technology solution that is 48% stronger (TYS) than AM AlSi10Mg, stronger than 6061-T6, and approaching the strength of 7075-T73. In addition NGAS has begun the process of further optimizing the AM process and post process heat treatment for this alloy. NGAS is developing design properties, creating business cases, and performing component demonstrations for this technology.