A consortium comprising the world’s specialist in aircraft landing gear, a metals producer and two of the UK’s universities is currently working on a project aimed at the production of aerospace-grade titanium at an affordable price. The partners working on the FASTForge project are Safran Landing Systems (formerly Messier-Bugatti-Dowty), Metalysis, the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) and the University of Sheffield.
Through FASTForge the consortium is aiming to produce novel titanium alloy aerospace components in three steps from rutile sand – a mineral composed primarily of titanium dioxide (TiO2). The aim is to develop novel low cost titanium forging production process, unique to the UK. The production of this aerospace grade titanium at an affordable price will enable the introduction of more titanium on aerospace components.
The project will seek to develop the raw material process, establish how it can be embodied in a new UK supply chain, develop cost effective manufacturing techniques and prove the capability in a landing gear application. It will also enable the introduction or increased use of titanium, a light and non-corrosive material, in other industries such as rail, automotive, heavy duty construction and defence. The AFRC will also model and optimise the forging parameters and forge the final component shape. FASTForge is due to complete by mid-2018.