Russian scientists and engineers from NUST MISIS have found a way to reduce the weight of aircraft engine parts by 20%. They say this weight reduction is fundamental to making the aircraft up to a ton lighter.
The weight reduction was enabled through the use of a bionic bracket which is created from titanium alloy using a 3D printing technique called selective laser melting.
Andrey Travyanov, head of the project and head of the NUST MISIS College of Environmentally Sound Technologies & Engineering, said: “The uniqueness of the product lies in the fact that the shape of the bracket was designed using computer topological optimisation – a special approach to the design which allows us to find the best distribution of the material in a given area for a given load and conditions – as well as bionic design.”
Saving weight, time and resources
According to the researchers, additive technologies will facilitate engines becoming at least 10% lighter. That would save approx. 200-250 kg on each aircraft engine, making planes lighter by up to a ton overall.
The researchers designed the bracket, from the idea to production documentation, in just a week. They say this process would have previously taken at least six months.
The process also resulted in reduced production costs as it dramatically reduces the amount of 3D printing powders required.
A pilot batch of the innovative brackets was successfully manufactured a Russian aircraft factory and has passed the bench test for quality, based on All Union State Standards’ requirements. Further testing is ongoing.