Materials

New aluminum alloy enables heat-resistant wire for air and rail

New aluminum alloy enables hea...
Scientists Torgom Akopyan and his colleagues have developed a new form of aluminum alloy
Scientists Torgom Akopyan and his colleagues have developed a new form of aluminum alloy that stays thermally stable at higher temperatures
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Scientists Torgom Akopyan and his colleagues have developed a new form of aluminum alloy
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Scientists Torgom Akopyan and his colleagues have developed a new form of aluminum alloy that stays thermally stable at higher temperatures
A new aluminum alloy was fashioned into a heat-resistant wire, which could find use in aircraft and rail transport
2/2
A new aluminum alloy was fashioned into a heat-resistant wire, which could find use in aircraft and rail transport

Scientists in Russia experimenting with advanced aluminum alloys have developed a new heat-resistant form of the material that can endure far higher temperatures. Fashioned into a thin wire, the researchers see it finding use as a replacement for heavier copper materials in aircraft and rail transport, serving as a cheaper and lighter alternative.

The research was led by materials scientists at Russia's National University of Science and Technology, who were investigating alternative recipes for aluminum alloys that might boost their performance. This involved innovative annealing techniques and electromagnetic casting, which allowed them to incorporate nanoparticles that contain copper, manganese and zirconium into the material.

A new aluminum alloy was fashioned into a heat-resistant wire, which could find use in aircraft and rail transport
A new aluminum alloy was fashioned into a heat-resistant wire, which could find use in aircraft and rail transport

This material was originally cast as a billet of metal around 10 mm in diameter, which was then reduced to a thin wire. In testing, this wire proved thermally stable at temperatures of up to 400 °C (752 °F), which is a marked improvement on existing aluminum alloys that typically only remain functional up to temperatures of around 250 to 300 °C (482 to 572 °F).

“We have been able to produce a high-strength heat-resistant wire from this alloy," says study author Torgom Akopyan. "We are now determining its physical and mechanical properties, and the first results are already very impressive. We are planning to patent the method of producing this type of wire."

According to the scientists, the heat-resistant and high-performance aluminum alloy wire offers the optimal combination of strength, thermal stability and electrical conductivity. This could see it used as a lighter and cheaper replacement for expensive and heavy copper conductors used in aircraft and high-speed rail transport, and possibly in the manufacturing of wrought products semi-finished in aluminum alloys.

The research was published in the journal Materials Letters.

Source: National University of Science and Technology

2 comments
2 comments
ScienceFan
Wonder if copper can also be made even more temperature resistant. Big issue with aluminium wire is the oxidation at the surface which increases resistance at connection points. Needs special care otherwise will cause fire due to additional heating at those connections.
HoppyHopkins
It probably only be a stop-gap material until they finally perfect above room temperature super conductors. They are close now, who knows what a couple more years will bring