Issue Date: April 23, 2012
Navy To Construct First Titanium Hull
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.
- Chemical & Engineering News
- ISSN 0009-2347
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