Engineers from the US Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) have successfully demonstrated the use of cold-spray additive technology for naval aviation as a new approach to aircraft repair.
The cold-spray technique aids the Naval Aviation Enterprise in saving time and money, while repairing aircraft components across the US Navy and Marine Corps, as well as helping return them to the fleet and enhancing readiness for future operations.
Cold-spray is an additive, solid-state thermal spray process, which can help restore critical dimensional features of components that may be lost due to corrosion, wear or mechanical damage.
The technique works by gathering powdered metal alloys used to repair a specific part and spraying them onto the metal of the damaged component, creating a mechanical bond.
Cold-spray processes develop a low-porous or nonporous surface without making any heat-induced changes to the substrate.
The technology helps bond metal to metal in a relatively low-heat environment, filling in any corrosive damage to machine parts.
Cold-spraying is a fast and inexpensive process that mitigates many of the health hazards posed when using traditional methods, allowing for less stringent safety precautions.
Parts repaired using the cold-spray process are stronger and less prone to faults, and are able to endure at least ten times more stress and impact than traditional components.
The applicability of cold-spray technique was researched by Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) secondary power Fleet Support Team (FST) engineer Conrad Macy through a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project.
Image: FRCSW engineers explain the use of cold spray additive technology to repair aircraft parts. Photo: courtesy of US Navy Photo (Released).