GKN Aerospace is to lead a three year, £3.1 million collaborative research programme to develop titanium powder specifically formulated and blended to meet the needs of additive manufacturing (AM) of aerospace components. The programme, called TiPOW (Titanium Powder for net-shape component manufacture) will also commence work developing the techniques and equipment that will produce the powder consistently, in quantity and at a lower price than today’s material.
The TiPOW programme is backed by the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and the country’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. Consortium partners include UK companies Phoenix Scientific Industries Ltd and Metalysis and the University of Leeds. As programme leader, GKN’s aerospace business will also draw on the expertise of the GKN Powder Metallurgy division a world-leading supplier of metal powders and precision engineered components.
Today additive manufacturing uses alloys and powders that have not been developed for these processes and so are not optimized for this environment. Together the partners will investigate developing titanium alloys and powders with the characteristics that are specifically suited to AM.
Titanium is used in other additive manufacturing processes (like laser sintering) but more improement are needed for cost and material strength and quality