High strength stainless steel used in aircraft applications

We usually call tensile strength higher than 800MPa, yield strength higher than 500MPa stainless steel is high strength stainless steel, yield strength higher than 1380MPa stainless steel is called ultra high strength stainless steel. The development of the aviation industry has proved that the improvement of aircraft and aero-engine performance largely depends on metal materials. Due to the high strength, high toughness, high stress corrosion cracking resistance and good impact resistance of steel, some key structural components of aircraft such as landing gear, girder, high stress joints, fasteners and other high strength stainless steel are still used.

High strength stainless steel mainly includes Martensite precipitation hardening stainless steel and semi – Austenite precipitation hardening stainless steel. The strength of martensite precipitation hardening stainless steel is achieved by martensite transformation and precipitation hardening treatment, the advantage is high strength, at the same time due to low carbon, high chromium, high molybdenum and/or high copper, its corrosion resistance is generally not less than 18Cr-8Ni austenitic stainless steel; Free cutting, good welding ability, do not need local annealing after welding, heat treatment process is relatively simple. The main disadvantage is that even in annealed state, its structure is still low carbon martensite, so it is difficult to conduct deep deformation cold working. The typical steel grade is 17-4PH and PH13-8Mo, used for the manufacture of high strength corrosion resistant bearing components, such as engine bearing parts, fasteners, etc. working at 400℃. PH13-8Mo is widely used in aeronautical bearing corrosion resistant medium temperature structural parts.

The semi-Austenite precipitation hardened stainless steel can be machined, coldly deformed and welded in Austenite state, and then the martensite transformation and precipitation hardening can be controlled by adjusting aging to obtain different strengths and toughness coordination. The steel has good corrosion resistance and thermal strength, especially stress corrosion resistance, and is especially suitable for the manufacture of parts used below 540℃. The disadvantage is that the heat treatment process is complex, the heat treatment temperature control requirements are very accurate (±5℃); The work hardening tendency of steel is large, and many intermediate annealing times are often needed for deep deformation cold working. Typical grades are 17-7PH, PH15-7Mo, etc. This kind of steel is mainly used in the aviation industry to work at 400℃ below the corrosion bearing structure, such as all kinds of pipes, pipe joints, springs, fasteners, etc.


Aircraft landing gear

The materials used for the construction of aircraft landing gear are 30CrMnSiNi2A, 4340, 300M, Aermet100 and other aircraft landing gear and fasteners with higher requirements are mostly made of precipitation hardened stainless steel, such as 17-4PH for THE landing gear of F-15 aircraft, 15-5pH for the landing gear of B-767 aircraft. PH13-8mo steel has the potential to replace 17-4PH, 15-5PH, 17-7PH, PH15-7Mo and other steels due to its better stress corrosion resistance than precipitation hardened stainless steel of the same grade.

The plane bearing

German FAG company developed the nitrogen-added martensite stainless steel Cronidur30 (0.31%C-0.38%N-15% Cr-L %Mo), which is produced by PESR process of electroslag remelting under high pressure nitrogen atmosphere. It is a high temperature stainless steel with high nitrogen completely hardened, which is more resistant to corrosion than SUS440. It is not suitable for high DN value (D: bearing inner diameter/mm, N: shaft revolution/arin) because of its characteristics of full hardening type, the same Cronidur30 can satisfy the residual compressive stress and fracture toughness value of DN4 million at the same time through high-frequency quenching. But the tempering temperature is lower than 15O℃, it can not withstand the rise in bearing temperature caused by thermal shock after engine shutdown.

Aircraft bearing structural components

High-strength stainless steel in aircraft bearing structure is mainly 15-5PH, 17-4PH, PH13-8Mo, etc., including hatch cover latch, high-strength bolt, spring and other parts. Civil aircraft use such high-strength stainless steel for wing spars, such as 15-5PH steel for Boeing 737-600 wing spars; Type A340-300 wing SPAR PH13-8Mo steel. Ph13-8Mo is used for parts requiring high strength and toughness, especially for transverse performance, such as fuselage frames. More recently, Custom465 has been tested due to increased toughness and stress corrosion resistance. Custom465 was developed by Carpenter on the basis of Custom450 and Custom455 for the manufacture of aircraft flap guides, slat guides, transmissions, engine mounts, etc. The steel is currently included in the MMPDS-02, AMS5936 and ASTM A564 technical specifications. HSL180 high strength stainless steel (0.21C-12.5Cr-1.0Ni-15.5Co-2.0Mo) is used to manufacture the aircraft structure, which has the same strength of 1800MPa as low alloy steel such as 4340 and the same corrosion resistance and toughness as precipitation hardened stainless steel such as SUS630.


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