Proto Labs Inc.

09/21/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/19/2020 18:05

Lightweight Yet Durable Titanium Great Option for Aerospace Parts

Properties and Specifications

At Protolabs we offer two titanium materials: Titanium Ti 6Al-4V for metal 3D printing, and Titanium Grade 5 6Al-4V for CNC milling and CNC turning. This post will focus on the grade 5 alloy available for machining projects. The wrought titanium alloy is the most widely used grade and is a two-phase, Alpha-Beta alloy with aluminum as the alpha stabilizer and vanadium as the beta stabilizer.

Titanium Grade 5 6Al-4V offers very high strength, durability, and corrosion-resistant properties and can be used at a wide array of temperatures from cryogenic (approximately -150 degrees C) all the way to 800 degrees F. These properties make it a good choice for a variety of applications, including fasteners, pressure vessels, and critical forgings requiring high strength-to-weight ratios.

Titanium's low thermal expansion, with a melting point of around 3,000 degrees F, means it maintains its form well when exposed to heat. The alloy is used in an annealed condition or solution and aged condition, registering 30-34 and 35-39 respectively on the HRC hardness scale. Find more detailed material specifications and comparisons to other metals on the material data sheet from Allegheny Technologies Incorporated published by UL Prospector.

Titanium and the Aerospace Industry

As the 2019 Global Aerospace and Defense Industry Outlook from Deloitte indicates, as upward growth continues to trend for aerospace and defense industries, production demand continues to rise as well. And, when designing for aerospace and defense applications, material selection is critical. For components leaving the earth, component reduction and lightweighting is key. Part designers and engineers in this space know how many ounces of fuel it takes to fly a gram of weight, so slight reductions drive major gains.

The fact that Titanium Grade 5 6Al-4V is light weight, while still offering high strength and temperature resistance, makes it especially popular in the aviation and aerospace industries. Common applications include compressor blades, discs, and rings for jet engines; airframe and space capsule components; rocket engine cases; and helicopter rotor hubs. However, as much as it boasts high temperature and corrosion resistance, titanium is an equally poor electrical conductor, making it a poor option in electrical applications. It is also more expensive compared to other lightweight metals, like aluminum.