Rapid Solidification Processing
- Spray forming
- Gas atomization
Rapid solidification processes allows the creation of new alloys. Some metals, when together in a melt, segregate.
By spraying or otherwise adding the metals in controlled amounts directly into the solid phase, new compositions can be fabricated. In some cases, these alloys have unusual temperature properties, or high strength.
Rapid solidification processing strengthens the industrial base for both commercial and military applications by improving the ability to work with difficult to shape materials. As a result, parts with better characteristics can be created in the longer term.
Both Europe and Japan are slightly behind the United States in rapid solidification processing, or powder metallurgy technology, and are expected to remain in that position over at least the next several years. Development of powder metal technology within Europe has been led by turbine engine manufacturers in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Capabilities have grown through a combination of indigenous development and acquisition of technology through joint ventures with U.S. companies. Japanese firms also have a strong powder metallurgy R&D program established for both the automotive and aerospace industries, with laboratory work rivaling that of the U.S. leaders. However, they tend to lag the United States in applications. The Japanese appear to be content to remain near the leading edge of technology, without undertaking the increased risk of pushing the technologies to new levels.