Navy To Construct First Titanium Hull | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 17 | p. 26 | Concentrates
Issue Date: April 23, 2012

Navy To Construct First Titanium Hull

Department: Government & Policy
News Channels: Materials SCENE
Keywords: Office Of Naval Research, titanium, ship, military
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Navy ships, such as the USNS Bridge, have long been made with steel hulls.
Credit: U.S. Navy
USNS Bridge, one of Military Sealift Command's four Fast Combat Support Ships.
 
Navy ships, such as the USNS Bridge, have long been made with steel hulls.
Credit: U.S. Navy

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has ordered its first ship hull constructed entirely of titanium, a development made possible by a new welding technique. Titanium is lighter, stronger, and more corrosion resistant than steel, the traditional shipbuilding material. But it is also up to nine times as expensive and is difficult to weld without weakening the titanium, according to ONR. Researchers at the University of New Orleans and the company Textron Marine & Land Systems are using a titanium-specific friction stir welding technique, which allows the adjoining pieces of metal to soften rather than melt. Researchers sucessfully joined more than 70 linear feet of titanium plates needed for the ship’s structure. The company and university also used marine-grade titanium, which made the materials more affordable. “This fast, effective friction stir weld technique is now an affordable manufacturing process that takes advantage of titanium’s properties,” Kelly Cooper, the ONR program officer for the project, said in a statement. Construction on the ship hull is expected to be completed this summer.

 
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ISSN 0009-2347
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