AluScaL project - New high-strength Aluminium-Scandium alloys

Rosswag Engineering, a leading supplier of special metal powders, high-quality components and qualification services in the field of Metal AM, participates in the R&D project AluScal: Lightweight design with high-strength aluminium-scandium alloys for hydrogen mobility, aviation and automotive applications

The partly planned switch to hydrogen as a source of energy in aviation, rail vehicle, ship and road transport requires constant innovations in order to take a leading role in global competition. This also includes the further development and qualification of new material solutions. Within the framework of the AluScaL project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection and supervised by Project Management Jülich, the potential of scandium (Sc) as a strength-increasing alloying element in aluminium alloys is to be investigated and demonstrated using the example of an application from hydrogen mobility.

Scandium is an alloying element that has been known for a long time and can greatly improve the mechanical properties of aluminium alloys, especially the strength properties. The high price of scandium and the monopoly position of individual countries in its supply have so far prevented the widespread use of aluminium-scandium alloys (Al-Sc alloys). Through Canadian, Australian, but also European initiatives, it has been possible in recent years to open up new deposits and develop new process routes for scandium extraction.

This is expected to lead to a significant reduction in the current price of scandium, which will open up broader fields of application.

The aim of the AluScaL project is to demonstrate the process chain from raw material extraction, alloy development and production to the component and to prove its suitability for lightweight construction and hydrogen applications. A hydrogen valve from Argo-Anleg GmbH serves as a pilot application. For the production of semi-finished products and powders, the so-called spray compacting will be examined in more detail by the company Gränges Powder Metallurgy GmbH. At the companies Rosswag GmbH and LEIBER Group GmbH & Co. KG, the actual production of components takes place. The valve is manufactured additively at Rosswag GmbH and a classic forging process is used for manufacturing at LEIBER Group. Gühring KG develops the appropriate cutting tools for the final machining process.

Scientific support for the project is provided by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH (HZB Berlin) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR, Institute of Vehicle Concepts). Both research institutions are members of the Helmholtz Association. HZB is responsible for alloy development and in-situ analyses. DLR is the consortium leader and is working on the characterisation and simulation of the newly developed Al alloys in the project. As associated partners, Rio Tinto Alcan International from Canada, Recaro Aircraft Seating GmbH & Co. KG and Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg GmbH are supporting the project. The Al-Sc-Master-Alloy is provided to the consortium by Rio Tinto. Furthermore, Rio Tinto supports the project with its expertise in the field of alloy development. For the partners Recaro Aircraft Seating and Liebherr-Aerospace, the focus is on the respective application and technology transfer to other industries.

This broadly positioned and efficient consortium enables a comprehensive examination and evaluation of the developed alloy systems and assemblies. In this way, new applications can be developed and the potential of Al-Sc alloys can be fully exploited across industries. In addition, an important contribution is being made to technological leadership in the field of hydrogen technologies in Germany.

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