Future Naval Force May Use the Strength of Titanium

Thursday, April 05, 2012

ARLINGTON, Va. - Steel may have met its match: An Office of Naval Research (ONR)-funded project will produce a full-size ship hull section made entirely with marine-grade titanium, using a welding innovation which could help bring titanium into future Navy ship construction, officials announced.

The contractor team building this section recently completed the industry's longest friction-stir titanium alloy welds and aims to complete the ship hull section this summer. Friction-stir welds more than 17 feet long joined the titanium alloy plates for the section's deck.

"This fast, effective friction-stir weld technique is now an affordable manufacturing process, which takes advantage of titanium's properties," said Kelly Cooper, the program officer managing the project for ONR's Sea Warfare and Weapons Department.

Titanium metal and its alloys are desirable materials for ship hulls and other structures because of their high strength, light weight and corrosion-resistance.

If constructed in titanium, Navy ships would have lighter weight for the same size, allowing for a bigger payload, and virtually no corrosion. But because titanium costs up to nine times more than steel and is technically difficult and expensive to manufacture into marine vessel hulls, it has been avoided by the shipbuilding industry. But perhaps not for much longer.

Researchers at the University of New Orleans School of Naval Architecture and Textron Marine and Land Systems are demonstrating the feasibility of manufacturing titanium ship hull structures. Using lower- cost marine grades of titanium, they fabricated a 20-foot-long main deck panel, composed of six titanium plates, joined together by friction-stir welding, as part of technology studies for an experimental naval vessel, called Transformable Craft, or T-Craft.

Since antiquity, blacksmiths have joined iron or steel parts together by heating them in a forge, placing them on an anvil and striking the two pieces repeatedly with a heavy hammer. After several repetitions of heating and striking, the two pieces were "hammer-forged" or "forge-welded" together.

Friction-stir welding joins metals using the heat of friction, produced by a spinning pin tool, pressed down on both pieces of metal at their common joint. Friction heating produced by the high-speed rotation causes both metal pieces to heat up to a "plastic" condition, but not to melt. As the tool passes down the common joint line, the heated, plasticized metal from both pieces is kneaded together in the rotating tool's wake, forming the weld between them.

Friction-stir welding works well for most aluminum alloys. Titanium, however, is difficult to join by the same process because of the high temperatures required, and pin tool materials which erode and react with titanium, weakening the weld.

The researchers overcame that problem by using new titanium friction-stir welding methods, developed by Florida-based Keystone Synergistic Enterprises Inc., with funding from both ONR and the Air Force.

The processes were scaled up and transferred to the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing (NCAM), which is a partnership between the University of New Orleans, NASA and the state of Louisiana.

To fabricate the ship hull structure, more than 70 feet of welded linear joints were made, the longest known welds in titanium made with the friction-stir process.

This friction stir welding achievement showed a noticeable improvement from previous similar processes. It was made at a high linear speed, indicating reduced manufacturing time; showed excellent weld penetration, indicating a secure connection; and had no distortion of the titanium adjoining the weld.

Experts attribute the success to an effective design of the pin tool, process parameters that emphasized pin tool life and exact duplication of the process steps from facility to facility and machine to machine.
 

Maritime Reporter July 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Shipbuilding

BAE Systems Awards Software Contract to SENER

The Spanish company SENER, Ingeniería y Sistemas S.A has closed a contract with U.K.-based BAE Systems PLC for the integration between FORAN CAD/CAM System and

New Research Vessel for University of New Hampshire

All American Marine, Inc. (AAM) has entered into a contract with the University of New Hampshire (UNH) for the design and construction of a new aluminum catamaran research vessel.

Self-lubricating Bearing Polymer: Safe, Easy to Machine

Many plastics and metallic alloys present machining challenges as some deform and are difficult to maintain exacting tolerances, while others require strict and

Naval Architecture

BAE Systems Awards Software Contract to SENER

The Spanish company SENER, Ingeniería y Sistemas S.A has closed a contract with U.K.-based BAE Systems PLC for the integration between FORAN CAD/CAM System and

New Research Vessel for University of New Hampshire

All American Marine, Inc. (AAM) has entered into a contract with the University of New Hampshire (UNH) for the design and construction of a new aluminum catamaran research vessel.

Carnival’s Costa Brand Orders Two LNG Cruise Ships

Costa’s two new cruise ships will be the largest ever built based on guest capacity; Costa will join sister brand AIDA Cruises in building the first-ever cruise

News

Ghana to Roll out Shipping Training

Ghana is considering establishing modalities to compel shipping companies to introduce a training regime which ensures that their local staff gain professional qualifications in shipping.

Kayaktivists Poised To Launch Blockade Of Shell Icebreaker

A small group of protesters and activists are gathering at the Cathedral Park boat ramp in Portland, preparing to stay for a 24-hour vigil as they wait for Royal Dutch Shell Oil's ice-breaker ship,

New Productivity Record at Khalifa Port

Khalifa Port Container Terminal, KPCT, set a new productivity record by handling 2615 moves in just under 13 hours on the 9,365 TEU CMA CGM Thames which called into Khalifa Port on Tuesday 21st July.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Pipelines Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1863 sec (5 req/sec)