2006 High-strength, wear-resistant aluminum alloy Southeast

Award Year 

A team at Marshall Space Flight Cen-ter (MSFC) began work on the high-strength, wear-resistant aluminum alloy when a major automobile manufacturer approached NASA about developing a new, stronger, low-cost alternative to current materials used in automotive applications. Originally developed by NASA as a high-performance piston alloy to help meet U.S. automotive legislation re-quiring low-exhaust emission, the novel substance offers the dramatic increase in tensile strength at elevated tempera-tures (from 450 to 650oF) needed for many (more) applications. An ideal low-cost material for cast automotive compo-nents, the innovative alloy is enabling engine manufacturers to make engines that produce more horsepower at light-er weights and emit less pollutants. At high temperatures, it is four times stron-ger than conventional alloys now used in automobile engine manufacturing, and it can be produced at a cost of less than $1 per pound.The high-strength, wear-resistant aluminum al-loy was recently used in Bombardier Recreation-al Products’ (BRP) Evin-rude product line to meet the unique requirements of a direct-injected, two-stroke outboard engine with world-class emissions levels. The BRP en-gine design has led to the NASA alloy recently winning first place in the 2005 Environmental Excellence in Trans-portation (E2T) Awards, sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) and recognizing significant in-novations that reduce environmental impacts caused by the transportation industry.Applications for the high-strength, wear-resistant aluminum alloy continue to expand and evolve. NASA is investigating the alloy’s potential appli-cations for net shape casting of some propulsion systems in rocket-powered engines. Another application includes the pro-duction of high strength, thin aluminum sheet metal that could be used for the “skin” of certain aircrafts operating at high speed. (less)