Development of spray forming technology

Tianjin Baienwei New Material Technology Co.,Ltd offers a portfolio of lightweight, high performance Si/Al alloys housings,carriers and system level packages(SIP) for applications in defence, aerospace, space, communications, radar and other leading-edge industries.

The Spray deposition technology as a kind of high technology,its products can be widely used in aerospace,military,automotive,chemical,marine and petroleum industries.

The application and development of spray deposition technology abroad mainly focus on round ingot billet and tube billet, but few of them are applied to plate products.At present, the rod material with a diameter of 450mm and a length of 2500mm can be produced, and the rate of harvest can be as high as 70% to 80%, the diameter of the tube blank produced is 150 to 1800mm, the length is 8000, and the rate of harvest is 80% to 90%.The main alloy is aluminum alloy, aluminum alloy, 2000 and 7,000 series of aluminum alloy, copper alloy, stainless steel and special alloy. These materials have been used in rocket shell, tail, turbine engine turbine disc, Marine corrosion in the pipeline (IN625 alloy), roll, conductive materials (Cu, Cr, Cu, Ni, Sn, etc.), automotive connecting rod, piston and sports equipment, etc. Peak has used the spray forming technology to mass produce eutectic Al-Si alloys since the late 1990’s. It is used for cylinder liner of German Daimler-Benz car engine. It has become a standard part of the most advanced V6 and V8 car engines in the world. Again, e.g. Japan's Sumitomo metals (Sumitomo Light Metal) company starting in the ninetys with the injection forming technology to produce maximum size for Ф 250 mm x 1400 mm hypereutectic Al-Si alloy round ingot, the annual output has reached more than 1000 tons, mainly supply Mazda company manufacturing cars some key parts of the engine. In addition, the ford motor company of the United States, South Korea's DAEWOO cars, such as, respectively, with the university of California and South Korea KIST central institute and other units cooperation developed Al - Si alloy, used in the production of engine cylinder liner materials, etc., have been mass production. 

The research and development of spray forming technology started relatively late in domestic,Beijing Institute of Aeronautical Materials successful development of vacuum induction melting of multifunctional spray forming device.and carry out the study of spray forming of high temperature alloy. Since then, some domestic research institutes and universities have also carried out many basic and applied researches and obtained many research results. For example, since the 1990s,Zhongnan University Of Technology has studied the preparation of rapid solidification aluminum alloy by the spray forming process. Now, it can prepare 400mm * 400mm * 20mm sheet metal material,also can prepare pipes with diameters of 140~350mm and lengths of 200~400mm. The relative density of Al-8.5Fe-1.3V-1.75Si alloy tube billet with inner diameter(ID) of 153mm is more than 97%. In addition, the university has successfully prepared al-alloy tubes with Al-7.5 Si-0.4 Cu-1.0 Mg, and conducted research on the preparation of particle-enhanced fast-setting aluminum alloys with spray forming technology.

China’s spray forming technology research and product development is relatively backward than industrial countries, but after nearly twenty years of research and development, has made great progress, especially in recent years introduced a number of advanced spray forming equipments  and technologies from abroad, it should be said that there has been a good foundation and conditions for product development and industrialization, but it is rarely used in products.From the analysis of research and application in various countries, the spray forming technology can be applied in the following aspects:  

(1) High strength, high rigidity and high damping large size torpedo shell made by spray forming technology is the most suitable application object of this technology, which plays an important role in improving material performance and reducing cost.  
(2) The preparation of engine aluminum alloy components for various armored vehicles by spray forming technology has the advantages of uniform chemical composition,fine metallographic structure, less impurity and purification materials etc, which is very beneficial for improving the strength of materials, improving the fatigue performance and anti-corrosion performance.  

(3) By spray forming process can be directly forming missile hull aluminum lithium alloy large size thin-walled shell parts, this will greatly reduce the manufacturing cost of the missile, for the development of a new generation of high performance missile has very important significance.

(4) The production of spiral slurry and spray pipe of various ships and amphibious armored vehicles by spray forming technology can greatly reduce the cost and improve the corrosion resistance of materials to seawater and salt fog.   

Spray forming technology’s development trend of industrialization 

The most important condition for the industrialization of spray forming technology is that this technology must reach a certain level of economic and technical indicators in controlling the shape, size tolerance, reducing tissue looseness, improving surface quality and improving alloy yield, and make it have enough competitiveness compared with other preparation technologies in terms of efficiency cost ratio. At the same time, considering the process characteristics of  spray forming technology itself, we should focus on developing some products with special application value. In the following part, we will introduce several industrial products.

(1)  Bi-metal composite pipes   

A typical example of this kind of metal composite pipe is the boiler evaporator water cooling wall and superheater steam pipe used in municipal refuse incinerator. This kind of pipe is in the ordinary carbon steel or low alloy steel pipe surface deposition layer of spray forming technique used in low carbon, high Cr, Mo, Si of nickel base alloy, its main chemical compositions (mass percent) : C0.02Si 0.40Mn 0.40Cr 21.0Mo 8.5Fe 5.0, the rest for Ni. This kind of tube can solve the serious corrosion problem caused by the participation of Cl ions in the flue gas of waste incinerator, and the economic benefit is considerable. If the company adopts Osprey Sweden Sandvik for navy Ф400 mm large diameter thick wall tube billet is conducted on a ton of spray forming special equipment production, the annual output reached one hundred tons.

(2) Aluminum alloy extrusion billet    

At present, the main application of spray forming technology in aluminum alloy production is the application of Al-Si alloy in automobile engine parts.For example,Germany JK company the aluminum alloy bar blank of 1400mm×1300mm obtained by the company with the scanning double-nozzle system and the optimized deposition process is close to the theoretical density, the radial dimension tolerance is less than 1%, and the extrusion processing can be carried out without any mechanical processing.The deposited billets of GHAI Si17Cu4Mg alloy are made of pipe material by extrusion and cold rolling and machined into finished parts for cylinder liner of the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz V8 and V12 engine. In order to meet production needs, Peak has built two sets of equipment with annual production capacity of 900 tons and 1500 tons respectively, forming an annual production capacity of more than 3,000 tons.        

(3) Aerospace ring parts

Typical example of another kind of industrialization is Howmer company, it is completely across the experimental research stage of the small billet directly from Osprey introduced mature device and technology, focus on product the final forming of the technology was studied,the metallurgical quality,the organization, the performance of the control,successfully adopted ring billet directly after hot isostatic pressing(HIP) and hot isostatic pressing (HIP)through two new ring rolling process, which not only greatly shorten the development cycle, and starting from high technology to achieve the rapid industrialization. At present, Howmet company has developed into a circular piece of a variety of different type engines, the maximum size of diameter of 850 mmx500 mm . In order to meet the demand of the market, Howmet joint venture with P&W company set up the spray forming international, inc., the original unit of capacity expansion to 400 kg, at the same time, has built a 3 tons capacity ring billet special spray deposition device, can provide maximum diameter is 1500mm ring billet, the annual output can reach 500 tons.        

(4) Copper alloy extrusion blank

The bronzed copper alloy was firstly used by the Osprey device for a small amount of small-scale tests, mainly for welding electrodes and a bronze of the beryllium bronze. The Wieland factory in Germany has been developing the technology of copper alloy spray forming since the 1990s.The microstructure of Cu-Cr-Zn alloy can be obtained uniform and fine, which greatly improves the performance of the electrode, and its service life is twice than that of the electrode prepared by continuous casting ingot method. In addition, the development of a composite electrode of the Cu- Cr-Zr+Al2O3, which is used to weld a zinc plate, is a result of the application of a partial alloy to the surface of the electrode's surface.At present, they can already production size is φ300mm×2200mm copper alloy bar, shift production capacity reaches 1 ton. In addition, Swissmetals in Switzerland has set up such a device, but they are mainly committed to developing special copper alloys, such as the new Cu-15Ni-8Sn alloy used to replace the expensive beryllium bronze Cu-2Be-Pb alloy, and found that after a short time annealing and aging treatment, the alloy can reach 1300MPa if it is maintained at 65%.At the same time, the firm also developed the high tin bronze, which can't be controlled by conventional process, and it has a high concentration of 14% of the tin, and is expected to the alloy for strength level is lower than beryllium bronze parts can be processed and higher than the traditional.           

(5) High temperature alloy turbine disc

The spray forming of high temperature alloy used for aviation engine turbine disc is one of the important direction of the spray forming technology industrialization.

As the turbine disc is the core component of aero-engine, besides requiring the material to meet a series of performance indicators, there are strict standards for microstructure and metallurgical quality that directly affect the reliability and safety life of use. High performance engine turbine disc is prepared by complex alloying high strength nickel base alloy. Due to severe component segregation and poor thermal processing performance of nickel base alloy, it cannot be formed by conventional deformation method.For this reason, GE engine company of the United States has invested a great amount of money to develop powder high-temperature alloy technology. For example, the rapid solidification powder technology of argon atomization is adopted to restrict the segregation of alloy elements within a single powder particle. However, due to the high price of this kind of turbine disc, in order to reduce the cost, major companies have carried out the research and development of the sprayforming turbine disc. With the improvement of the technology, the performance and quality of the spray forming turbine disc are equivalent to that of the powder metallurgy(PM) turbine disc at a lower cost.      


After years of continuous development and improvement, spray forming technology has gradually entered into the stage of industrialization. Developed countries in Europe and the United States have applied this technology to manufacture high-performance components, achieve remarkable technical effect and considerable economic benefits, and will become the pillar industry of high and new technology. China's research institutes and enterprises are currently working on the technology research and product development of spray forming technology, and have made remarkable technological progress and a large number of scientific research achievements. Some products have been applied in the automobile and military industrial products. It is expected that the spray forming technology will be widely used in China.

Contact Person: Ivy Liu

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