Keeping up to date with the gold standard of materials reference data

John Downing

Technical Marketing Communications Specialist

plane-thumbnailThe world of materials never stands still. New technological challenges constantly drive the need to explore new materials that offer properties that no existing material can deliver. It is vital to maintain a single, up-to-date source of materials property data, to keep abreast of all these new developments. How else can you ensure that your designers and engineers have the data they need for materials selection, product design, simulation,                                     qualification, and more?

While new materials are constantly appearing, they may have spent many years in the development pipeline. For example, the size, loads and targeted weight of the Airbus A380 – the world’s largest passenger airliner with a wingspan of almost 80 metres and a capacity for 544 passengers – demanded a complete series of new aluminum alloys for the wing and fuselage. Development, qualification, and production of these advanced alloys took seven years.

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The Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger airliner. (© Airbus SAS 2016).

Focusing on just one part of the aircraft structure, the lower fuselage, the design criteria included static strength, buckling stability, and corrosion resistance. An aluminum alloy 6156 was developed for this application. Because the alloy needed high strength, a T6 temper was required, and it had to be clad to avoid intergranular corrosion. When compared to a similar sheet alloy, the new 6156 Clad-T62 was shown to have a 10% toughness benefit.

When considering new materials, it is important to understand potential challenges in using them, as well as their benefits. The property chart, created with Granta’s CES Selector™, is one way to do this—plotting tensile strength against elongation shows that the high strength and toughness of 6156 Clad-T62 alloy is achieved at the expense of a lower elongation, meaning the material will be more difficult to form than other materials. Because CES Selector draws on an up-to-date source of metals property data, it enables a complete analysis of these new materials, comparing them to existing materials and understanding both their benefits and disadvantages.

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Plotting tensile strength against elongation shows the strength and toughness benefits of the 6156 Clad-T62 alloy are accompanied by a reduction in elongation, indicating that forming may be more difficult.

New materials occupying new parts of the material space are being developed as we continuously push the boundaries of engineering – and, keeping pace, Granta’s reference data is updated constantly with information from widely-used and respected sources. The recently-released metals data library is the most comprehensive yet, covering thousands of metal standards, specifications, and grades, and includes a digital version of the MMPDS-10 aerospace alloy data.

Dr Sarah Egan, Product Manager for Data Product Solutions at Granta, explains the motivation for Granta’s data project: “Whether it’s engineering driving materials development, or materials development driving engineering, it is always exciting to learn about how modern materials are enabling new technologies. But, more importantly, our customers need up-to-date and high-quality data on those materials to support their engineering processes.”

The new metals data also includes the latest Register of European Steels, sheet steels data, and enhanced international equivalency information to help find a local grade, for example, for use in an international manufacturing facility. Users of the GRANTA MI™ material information management system can access the data modules alongside proprietary data to create a complete materials information source for their engineering process.

Along with metals data, GRANTA MI and CES Selector users can access extensive data on plastics, ceramics, and composites, enabling comparisons and analysis across all material classes. With all of this up-to-date materials data easily accessible in one place, to search, analyze, and manipulate, users have the gold standard of materials reference data at their fingertips.

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