New project investigates PM for space applications

TWI, along with Airbus Defence and Space, Nammo Westcott Ltd, ESR Technology and the University of Birmingham, is focusing on a new project to investigate the use of powder metallurgy (PM) for space applications.

The two year project, entitled ‘Powder Metallurgy Based Materials for High Wear Resistance, High Hardness and High Temperature,’ has a budget of €600,000 and will help develop systems to provide more efficient equipment for use by the next generation of spacecraft during launch and through longer in-orbit missions. Some of the proposed improvements would be in areas such as higher ISP Liquid Apogee Engines and thrusters as well as in the mechanisms for deploying, controlling and rotating payloads or mission equipment.

While Airbus Defence and Space and Nammo Westcott will identify applications and components that could be enhanced through the use of PM-based materials, ESR Technology will offer knowledge related to materials for high wear resistance, high hardness and high temperature.

The partners will also give information on current materials, conventional fabrication components and any operating limitations so that the potential for using a PM-based approach can be assessed.

TWI and the University of Birmingham plan to jointly develop and test suitable PM-based materials for high wear resistance, high hardness and high temperature use. The use of powder metallurgy will allow for complex shapes to be produced without extensive machining and with a reduction in material wastage.

Applications could include mechanisms, ultra-stable structures, mirrors, gears and bearings, telescopes, detectors, optical elements, nozzles and valves, as well as damping structures.

This story is reprinted from material from TWIwith editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.