Specialty Materials, Inc.
NEW PRODUCT :
FIBER REINFORCED ALUMINUM- FRA™
Specialty Materials and technology developer Triton Systems, Inc., of Chelmsford, MA, have partnered for manufacturing scale-up of new lightweight fiber reinforced aluminum. Specialty Materials has completed the design for a new production line for FRA to be installed in its Lowell campus. Triton Systems will continue to make FRA available in billet sizes up to 9-inches in diameter until Specialty Materials production is on-line in late 2013. Specialty Materials new production line will provide a 20-fold increase in FRA capacity. Once the new production line is up and running at Specialty Materials, Triton Systems will support the team’s business development, technology improvement and application qualification functions.
FRA™ is a high strength aluminum alloy randomly reinforced with chopped ceramic (alumina-silicate) fibers. The ideal applications for FRA™ are those that capitalize on its excellent wear resistance, light weight and elevated temperature strength properties. Tests have proven that compared to steel and cast iron, this material has equivalent or better resistance to various forms of wear (abrasive, fretting, metal-to-metal sliding). However, FRA™ is 1/3 the density of ferrous alloys. Furthermore, compared to conventional high strength aluminum alloys, FRA™ has > 3X elevated temperature strength.
This unique combination of light weight, superior wear resistance and high temperature strength points to a number of promising applications including but not limited to:
- Light weight replacement for steel gear box bearing liners (rotorcraft, ground vehicles)
- Replace aluminum in high temperature heat exchangers (e.g., charge air coolers)
- “Hardpoint” inserts in aluminum pump and actuator housing castings
- Lightweight replacement for ferrous and copper – based bushings & wear inserts
- Replacement of aluminum and ferrous internal combustion engine components to extend performance and/or reduce weight