Metal Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace Applications

A special issue of Aerospace (ISSN 2226-4310).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2023) | Viewed by 29601

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Guest Editor
Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor), School of Engineering, University of Limerick, V94 T9PX Limerick, Ireland
Interests: metal plasticity; low cycle fatigue; constitutive modelling; metal additive manufacturing; airworthiness
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Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

The use of additively manufactured metals by the aerospace industry has enjoyed a continuous, fast growth over the past ten years. In effect, this has substantially increased the research and development activity across a wide array of topics, such as:

  • Development of new aerospace metal alloys for fabrication via additive manufacturing (AM) methods (laser powder bed fusion, direct energy deposition, jet binding, fused filament fabrication, etc.);
  • Characterization of the mechanical and physical properties of aerospace AM alloys;
  • Modelling and prediction of the mechanical performance of aerospace AM alloys (static strength, high and low cycle fatigue, anisotropy, etc.);
  • Design and optimization of the mechanical properties, geometry, and weight of aircraft and spacecraft parts fabricated via metal AM;
  • Qualification and certification of AM alloys and parts for use in aircraft and spacecraft;
  • Development and optimization of metal AM methods aiming to improve quality and productivity in aerospace manufacturing;
  • Development of metal AM solutions for the sustainment of civil and military aircraft.

This Special Issue on “Metal Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace Applications” aims to identify key advances achieved by the research and industry community in the various fields associated with these topics. Original research papers and comprehensive reviews, including case studies on aerospace applications, are welcomed.

We are looking forward to receiving your submissions.

Dr. Kyriakos I. Kourousis
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 11883 KiB  
Article
Electric Aerospace Actuator Manufactured by Laser Powder Bed Fusion
by Borja Lizarribar, Borja Prieto, Miren Aristizabal, Jose Manuel Martín, Miguel Martínez-Iturralde, Ekain San José, Ione Golvano and Sergio Montes
Aerospace 2023, 10(9), 813; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10090813 - 17 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1093
Abstract
Recent advances in manufacturing methods have accelerated the exploration of new materials and advantageous shapes that could not be produced by traditional methods. In this context, additive manufacturing is gaining strength among manufacturing methods for its versatility and freedom in the geometries that [...] Read more.
Recent advances in manufacturing methods have accelerated the exploration of new materials and advantageous shapes that could not be produced by traditional methods. In this context, additive manufacturing is gaining strength among manufacturing methods for its versatility and freedom in the geometries that can be produced. Taking advantage of these possibilities, this research presents a case study involving an electric aerospace actuator manufactured using additive manufacturing. The main objectives of this research work are to assess the feasibility of additively manufacturing electric actuators and to evaluate potential gains in terms of weight, volume, power consumption and cost over conventional manufacturing technologies. To do so and in order to optimise the actuator design, a thorough material study is conducted in which three different magnetic materials are gas-atomised (silicon iron, permendur and supermalloy) and test samples of the most promising materials (silicon iron and permendur) are processed by laser powder bed fusion. The final actuator design is additively manufactured in permendur for the stator and rotor iron parts and in 316L stainless steel for the housing. The electric actuator prototype is tested, showing compliance with design requirements in terms of torque production, power consumption and heating. Finally, a design intended to be manufactured via traditional methods (i.e., punching and stacking for the stator laminations and machining for the housing) is presented and compared to the additively manufactured design. The comparison shows that additive manufacturing is a viable alternative to traditional manufacturing for the application presented, as it highly reduces the weight of the actuator and facilitates the assembly, while the cost difference between the two designs is minimal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace Applications)
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14 pages, 15271 KiB  
Article
The Role of Additive Manufacturing in Reducing Demand Volatility in Aerospace: A Conceptual Framework
by Ageel Abdulaziz Alogla, Ateyah Alzahrani and Ahmad Alghamdi
Aerospace 2023, 10(4), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10040381 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2272
Abstract
The aerospace industry faces challenges in managing inventory effectively due to long product life cycles and unpredictable demand. Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a promising technology that enables the on-demand production of spare parts, potentially reducing inventory costs and improving supply chain efficiency. This [...] Read more.
The aerospace industry faces challenges in managing inventory effectively due to long product life cycles and unpredictable demand. Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a promising technology that enables the on-demand production of spare parts, potentially reducing inventory costs and improving supply chain efficiency. This paper proposes a novel conceptual framework for employing AM in the aerospace spare parts industry to isolate demand volatility. A conceptual approach is employed in this study, which involves a comprehensive literature review to identify the factors to consider when employing AM for spare parts and the methods for demand volatility isolation, followed by a structured framework development that outlines the decision-making steps for AM utilization based on the identified factors. The framework outlines a structured approach for using AM to produce spare parts and isolate demand volatility, which can help mitigate the impact of demand uncertainty on inventory management. The proposed approach provides a basis for future research and has the potential to transform how spare parts are produced and managed in the aerospace industry. Overall, this paper contributes to the emerging literature on AM in the aerospace industry by presenting a novel approach to improving inventory management and addressing demand uncertainty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace Applications)
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14 pages, 6042 KiB  
Article
Experimental Study of the Bending Behaviour of the Neovius Porous Structure Made Additively from Aluminium Alloy
by Katarina Monkova, Peter Pavol Monka, Milan Žaludek, Pavel Beňo, Romana Hricová and Anna Šmeringaiová
Aerospace 2023, 10(4), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10040361 - 09 Apr 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1411
Abstract
Porous materials bring components not only direct advantages in the form of lightening of constructions, saving of production materials, or improvement of physical properties, but also secondary advantages, which are manifested as a result of their daily use, e.g., in aviation and the [...] Read more.
Porous materials bring components not only direct advantages in the form of lightening of constructions, saving of production materials, or improvement of physical properties, but also secondary advantages, which are manifested as a result of their daily use, e.g., in aviation and the automotive industry, which is manifested in saving fuel and, thus, environmental protection. The aim of this article is to examine the influence of the volume ratio of a complex porous structure, the so-called Neovius, on bending properties. Samples with five different relative weights of 15, 20, 25, 30, and 50% (±1%) were fabricated from AlSi10Mg aluminum alloy by Direct Laser Metal Sintering (DLMS) technology. A three-point bending test until specimen failure was performed at ambient temperature on a Zwick/Roell 1456 universal testing machine. The dependences of the bending forces on the deflection were recorded. The maximum stresses, energy absorption, and ductility indexes were calculated to compare the bending behavior of beams filled with this type of complex cellular structure. The results showed that Neovius, with a relative weight of 50%, was much more brittle compared to the other samples, while the Neovius structure, with a relative weight of 30%, appeared to be the most suitable structure for bent components among those tested. This study is a contribution not only to the development of the space and aviation industry but also to the expansion of the knowledge base in the field of material sciences. This know-how can also provide a basis for defining boundary conditions in the simulation of behavior and numerical analyses of 3D-printed lightweight components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace Applications)
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18 pages, 6615 KiB  
Article
Design and Qualification of an Additively Manufactured Manifold for Aircraft Landing Gears Applications
by Maurizio Arena, Paolo Ambrogiani, Vincenzo Raiola, Francesco Bocchetto, Tommaso Tirelli and Martina Castaldo
Aerospace 2023, 10(1), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10010069 - 10 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3305
Abstract
The continuous pursuit of reducing weight and optimizing manufacturing processes is increasingly demanded in transportation vehicles, particularly in the aerospace field. In this context, additive manufacturing (AM) represents a well-known technique suitable for re-engineering traditional systems, minimizing the product’s weight/volume and print time. [...] Read more.
The continuous pursuit of reducing weight and optimizing manufacturing processes is increasingly demanded in transportation vehicles, particularly in the aerospace field. In this context, additive manufacturing (AM) represents a well-known technique suitable for re-engineering traditional systems, minimizing the product’s weight/volume and print time. The present research activity allowed for the exploration of the feasibility to replicate a conventional hydraulic manifold already certified for defence application with a lightweight and more compact issue through typical stringent aeronautical qualification steps. Computational modelling with lab test efforts made it possible to assess the compliance of the device with airworthiness certification requirements, giving a special focus to the fulfilment of structural requirements. In particular, the fatigue life characterization is still a crucial point to be well investigated in aeronautical components dfAM (designed for additive manufacturing) to demonstrate the maturity of the technology in the certification scenario. The new AM-driven design offers a more than 40 per cent weight reduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace Applications)
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16 pages, 3017 KiB  
Article
Design and Testing of Brushless DC Motor Components of A6 Steel Additively Manufactured by Selective Laser Sintering
by Sebastian-Marian Zaharia, Mihai Alin Pop, George Razvan Buican, Lucia-Antoneta Chicos, Valentin Marian Stamate, Ionut Stelian Pascariu and Camil Lancea
Aerospace 2023, 10(1), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10010060 - 06 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2959
Abstract
Metallic additive manufacturing technology is seeing increasing use from aviation companies manufacturing prototypes or components with complex geometric shapes, which are then tested and put into operation. This paper presents the design, fabrication via a selective laser sintering process, and testing of the [...] Read more.
Metallic additive manufacturing technology is seeing increasing use from aviation companies manufacturing prototypes or components with complex geometric shapes, which are then tested and put into operation. This paper presents the design, fabrication via a selective laser sintering process, and testing of the mechanical performance by performing three-point bending and tensile tests on A6 steel specimens. After performing the mechanical tests on specimens made from A6 steel manufactured via the SLS process, the following performances were obtained: the maximum three-point bending strength was 983.6 MPa and the maximum tensile strength was 398.6 MPa. In the microscopic analysis of the specimens manufactured by the selective laser sintering process, a homogeneous structure with defects specific to additive processes (voids) was revealed. Additionally, the feasibility of designing, manufacturing through the selective laser sintering process and subsequent testing of some components (rotor, right case, left case and motor mount) from a brushless motor made from A6 steel material was demonstrated. After testing the brushless motor, the main performances showed stable behavior of the motor and a linear dependence with the increase in electronic speed control signal or motor electrical speed, resulting in a maximum thrust force of 4.68 kgf at 7800 RPM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace Applications)
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18 pages, 9567 KiB  
Article
Multi-Scale Mechanical Property Prediction for Laser Metal Deposition
by Jiang Fan, Qinghao Yuan, Gaoxiang Chen, Huming Liao, Bo Li and Guangchen Bai
Aerospace 2022, 9(11), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace9110656 - 26 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1255
Abstract
The Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) involves extremely complex multi-scale multi-physics and multiple thermal cycles issues, making it difficult to accurately predict the resultant mechanical properties of fabricated components from given process parameters. This research, by proposing a cladding stacking model that uses the [...] Read more.
The Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) involves extremely complex multi-scale multi-physics and multiple thermal cycles issues, making it difficult to accurately predict the resultant mechanical properties of fabricated components from given process parameters. This research, by proposing a cladding stacking model that uses the structural evolution history of the heat-affected zone, predicts the overall structure of fabricated components, and establishes a process–structure–property multi-scale simulation framework based on this model, a general solution for the abovementioned difficulty. Based on the Hot Optimal Transportation Meshfree (HOTM) method, a platform ESCAAS is developed to simulate the meso-scale Ti-6Al-4V powder evolution process. Based on the Cellular Automaton (CA) method, the micro-scale grain structure in the molten pool is simulated. The macro-scale mechanical property of the fabricated component is calculated based on a polycrystalline Representative Volume Element (RVE) model and the homogenization technology. Experiments including LMD multilayer printings, metallographic observations, and static tension are designed to verify the accuracy of the model and simulations. The results are greatly consistent with the experimental data and the relative error of the final mechanical property prediction is within 5.18%. This work provides a basis for the quantitative analysis of the process–structure–property relationship and the optimization of process parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace Applications)
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12 pages, 6333 KiB  
Article
Structural and Aeroelastic Studies of Wing Model with Metal Additive Manufacturing for Transonic Wind Tunnel Test by NACA 0008 Example
by Natsuki Tsushima, Kenichi Saitoh, Hitoshi Arizono and Kazuyuki Nakakita
Aerospace 2021, 8(8), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8080200 - 25 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2278
Abstract
Additive manufacturing (AM) technology has a potential to improve manufacturing costs and may help to achieve high-performance aerospace structures. One of the application candidates would be a wind tunnel wing model. A wing tunnel model requires sophisticated designs and precise fabrications for accurate [...] Read more.
Additive manufacturing (AM) technology has a potential to improve manufacturing costs and may help to achieve high-performance aerospace structures. One of the application candidates would be a wind tunnel wing model. A wing tunnel model requires sophisticated designs and precise fabrications for accurate experiments, which frequently increase manufacturing costs. A flutter wind tunnel testing, especially, requires a significant cost due to strict requirements in terms of structural and aeroelastic characteristics avoiding structural failures and producing a flutter within the wind tunnel test environment. The additive manufacturing technique may help to reduce the expensive testing cost and allows investigation of aeroelastic characteristics of new designs in aerospace structures as needed. In this paper, a metal wing model made with the additive manufacturing technique for a transonic flutter test is studied. Structural/aeroelastic characteristics of an additively manufactured wing model are evaluated numerically and experimentally. The transonic wind tunnel experiment demonstrated the feasibility of the metal AM-based wings in a transonic flutter wind tunnel testing showing the capability to provide reliable experimental data, which was consistent with numerical solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace Applications)
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Review

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22 pages, 1061 KiB  
Review
Compressive Behaviour of Additively Manufactured Lattice Structures: A Review
by Solomon O. Obadimu and Kyriakos I. Kourousis
Aerospace 2021, 8(8), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8080207 - 30 Jul 2021
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 8888
Abstract
Additive manufacturing (AM) technology has undergone an evolutionary process from fabricating test products and prototypes to fabricating end-user products—a major contributing factor to this is the continuing research and development in this area. AM offers the unique opportunity to fabricate complex structures with [...] Read more.
Additive manufacturing (AM) technology has undergone an evolutionary process from fabricating test products and prototypes to fabricating end-user products—a major contributing factor to this is the continuing research and development in this area. AM offers the unique opportunity to fabricate complex structures with intricate geometry such as the lattice structures. These structures are made up of struts, unit cells, and nodes, and are being used not only in the aerospace industry, but also in the sports technology industry, owing to their superior mechanical properties and performance. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the mechanical properties and performance of both metallic and non-metallic lattice structures, focusing on compressive behaviour. In particular, optimisation techniques utilised to optimise their mechanical performance are examined, as well the primary factors influencing mechanical properties of lattices, and their failure mechanisms/modes. Important AM limitations regarding lattice structure fabrication are identified from this review, while the paucity of literature regarding material extruded metal-based lattice structures is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace Applications)
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