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Development of light-weight steel castings for efficient aircraft engines (LEAN)
Start date: Oct 1, 2011, End date: Sep 30, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The aim of the proposed project is to develop castable steel alloys for aero engine applications and to refine the process to be able to cast thin-walled, light-weight and durable cast steel components. Today, cast titanium components is the predominant choice over alternatives like nickel base alloys and stainless steels for critical components in the aero engine. The main downside of using cast titanium components is the additional cost accompanied with the material. Using a technically equivalent, but cheaper construction material leaves more economical headroom for using higher performing light-weight materials in other part of the air craft, thereby making it possible to manufacture lighter air crafts producing less emission during its active usage cycle. In the proposed project the possibility to cast thin-walled cast steel components will be investigated using an iterative process of performing casting trials and tuning simulation parameters for simplified geometries. After a successful methodology has been developed and validated, complex aerospace-engine components will be cast and simulated where section sizes down to 1 mm are combined with thicker sections. In this work the steel alloy 17-4PH will be investigated. This alloy is a common engineering material and is used in cast components today. Another important part of the proposed work is the investigation of the possibility to cast steel alloys which are not commonly cast today. These alloys possess material properties that make the suitable for aerospace applications, but are today only produced as forged components or sheet metal. The above mentioned tasks will be performed in collaboration between the research institutes Swerea SWECAST and FRI, Foundry Research Institute together with the investment casting foundry TPC Components AB. The participating institutes play active roles in European research networks, which will provide efficient communication paths for dissemination of the project results."

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