Scientists Create Composite Metal Foam to Use in Aircraft Wings

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 14:08

Afsaneh Rabiei, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State, in cooperation with other researchers have developed a kind of material which has more desirable characteristics for use as a leading-edge material than the aluminum currently in widespread use.

According to the NC State official website, researchers found out that a combination of steel composite metal foam (CMF) and epoxy resin has more desirable characteristics for use as a leading-edge material than the aluminum currently in widespread use.

“We call our hybrid material ‘infused CMF,’” says Afsaneh Rabiei, corresponding author of a paper. “And while infused CMF is about the same weight as aluminum, it is tougher and has other characteristics that make it more appealing from a flight performance, safety and fuel efficiency standpoint.”

CMF is a foam that consists of hollow, metallic spheres – made of materials such as stainless steel or titanium – embedded in a metallic matrix made of steel, aluminum or metallic alloys. For this study, the researchers used steel-steel CMF, meaning that both the spheres and the matrix were made of steel.

“Aluminum is currently the material of choice for making the leading edge of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft wings,” Rabiei says. “Our results suggest that infused CMF may be a valuable replacement, offering better performance at the same weight.

“By the same token, the results suggest that we could use different materials for the matrix or spheres to create a combination that perform as well as conventional aluminum at a fraction of the weight. Either way, you’re improving performance and fuel efficiency.”

The paper, “Polymer Infused Composite Metal Foam as a Potential Aircraft Leading Edge Material,” is published in the journal Applied Surface Science. First author of the paper is Jacob Marx, a Ph.D. student at NC State. The paper was co-authored by Samuel Robbins, Zane Grady, Frank Palmieri and Christopher J. Wohl of NASA Langley Research Center.

Opinions


Popular News

Latest News