Characterisation of the consolidation process of functional titanium based structures

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering


The trend of the market in aerospace industry is moving towards widespread application of titanium. The aerospace industry is the single largest market for titanium products primarily due to the exceptional strength to weight ratio, elevated temperature performance and corrosion resistance. Titanium applications are most significant in jet engine and airframe components that are subjected to temperatures up to 1100 F and for other critical structural parts. Usage is widespread in most commercial and military aircraft. As the aerospace market for titanium has grown, the requirement for reduction of the cost of manufacturing and increase of flexibility and functionality has ever increased. Whilst embedding passive fibres could be used in reinforcing the metallic structure, the flexibility and functionality in the resultant composite could only be provided by addition of actuators and sensors. Among the many functional fibres/elements employed in adaptive composite applications, the three most common embedded functional fibres are optical fibre sensors, shape memory alloys and piezoelectric materials. Often the process of embedding of these elements inside the structure results in further damage and malfunction of the element. Therefore finding a suitable process which is cost effective and does not compromise the precision and quality of performance of these active fibres is essential. The ultrasonic process appears to be an excellent candidate for producing the functional hybrid materials based on titanium. Several features of the ultrasonic process are that it is fast and occurs at low temperature and relative low pressure. In this project we primarily suggest to characterise the process of UC for embedding reinforcement/sensor in titanium through both experimental and simulation approaches. Secondly as the titanium foils used during the UC process are very thin, we expect high deformation at small scale. Therefore we suggest to follow the flow and deformation in the material during the process through observation of the microstructure of the metal layers and tracking the changes. At the same time we would like to use the information obtained through microstructure study in simulation of deformation and flow at micro scale.


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