Scientists at the National University of Science and Technology MISiS (NITU MISiS) explore additive manufacturing of aircraft parts designed with the help of topological optimization algorithms. Experimental jet engine brackets are 3D printed from locally made titanium alloy powders with 20 percent weight reduction compared to traditional designs.
“The work is aimed at solving the problem of reducing the weight of parts used in the aerospace industry. Scientists at the Thermal Deformation Processes Laboratory at NITU MISiS, led by Dr. Andrei Travyanov, have developed an innovative method of 3D printing a key aircraft component used to fasten measuring equipment inside an engine,” says university president Alevtina Chernikova.
In the original machined part a significant part of the material does not carry any functional load and therefore serves no purpose. The improved bracket was designed using topological optimization, which made it possible to get rid of excess material and reduce the mass of the product by more than twenty percent. Weight reduction improves fuel economy, resulting in increased flight range and payload, as well as reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
The staff of the Laboratory of Hybrid Additive Technologies at NITU MISiS has determined the technological parameters for 3D printing complex bionic parts with properties exceeding the requirements outlined in EASC technical standards. The ESI Additive Manufacturing software was used during the design stage to simulate thermal stresses and warping.
Complex geometrical properties precluded the possibility of using traditional manufacturing methods, such as casting, therefore topologically optimized parts were produced through 3D printing by selective laser melting (SLM) of titanium allow powders. Scientists claim that additive manufacturing of bionic parts allows for threefold reduction of powder feedstock consumption.
The pilot batch of engine brackets has already been tested and found to be in compliance with standards for cast parts. Source