EUCLID, Ohio—Terves LLC is developing new high-strength, non-flammable, nanostructured magnesium alloys for light-weighting applications in cooperation with the U.S. Army and Missile Defense Agency.
“The very high strength, ductility, and mechanical durability at elevated temperatures of these nanostructured low-density magnesium alloys make them excellent candidates for aerospace, defense and transportation light-weighting initiatives,” said Terves CEO Andrew Sherman, in a press release.
Terves received Department of Defense (DoD) SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) support to enhance its patent-pending cast and wrought magnesium alloys, derived from its high-temperature, high-strength magnesium alloys currently used in oil and gas applications. The new alloys, with further development, are reported to show potential to save 30 percent or more in structural weight by replacing cast and wrought 2000, 6000, and 7000 series aluminum alloys in transportation, space, and defense applications.
Replacing steel with aluminum can lead to an approximate 40 percent weight savings, and using magnesium alloys instead of aluminum can lead to a further weight reduction of approximately30 percent, according to Terves. According to McKinsey’s report titled “Lightweight, Heavy Impact,” the use of lightweight materials in just three industries—automotive, aviation, and wind—will increase significantly in volume over the next two decades, creating a market impact of more than $400 billion.
Sherman said that Terves developed the alloy series based on newly understood “Long Period Stacking Order” (LPSO) nanostructured phases that Terves modified using reduced rare earth contents and further micro-alloying additions to control flammability and corrosion, and to strengthen the primary alpha phase.
“The resulting product is a lightweight magnesium alloy casting or wrought product with uniform high strength and ductility, directly comparable to the 7000 series aluminum alloys and a metal alternative to carbon fiber composites,” said Sherman in the release. “The efforts represent DoD-sponsored collaborations initiated through our LIFT (Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow) membership and networking efforts, and we want to recognize LIFT for that role.
Sherman said that the Missile Defense Agency’s support funds a collaboration with Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), which is helping Terves optimize thermomechanical processing for production of very high-strength thin-walled structures used in aerospace and defense structures.
The U.S. Army sponsored work will fund collaboration with The Ohio State University’s Dr. Alan Luo, who is working with a team to develop heat-treatable alloy variants for thick-section castings, die castings, plate, and forgings useful for helicopter and, potentially, armor applications.
“The casting alloys have the flexibility of being formed or heat treated to produce a final product or produced net shape (such as by high pressure die-casting),” Sherman added. “Numerous components on U.S. missile defense and fast response weapon platforms would benefit from the reduced weight of higher-strength wrought and cast magnesium alloys, while aerospace and transportation applications would also see benefits. If these high strength and ductility magnesium alloys can be produced at sufficiently low cost, which we believe they can be, there will be a high driving force to use these lightweight materials in many different industries.”
Terves (www.tervesinc.com) has more than a dozen issued and pending patent applications that cover different magnesium alloys, composites, manufacturing techniques, and methods and applications of controlled corrosion for use in freshwater, low and high temperature, and additional environments encountered in downhole and aerospace industries.