Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute
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TsAGI Masters and Implements Additive Technology for Manufacturing Aerodynamic Models

21 June 2022

Air inlets for advanced aircraft

The Science and Technical Centre of TsAGI Science and Production Complex (TsAGI is a part of NRC “Zhukovsky Institute”) mastered and implemented the technology of manufacturing parts of aerodynamic models by selective laser fusion of metal powders in the main model production.

This manufacturing method focuses mainly on geometrically complex parts that cannot be done with traditional mechanical machinery or are too labor intensive to manufacture. Domestic powder compositions similar in their mechanical characteristics to traditional high-strength steels are used in manufacturing the parts of aerodynamic models.

The technology consists in successive “growing” of the product by means of layer-by-layer (section-by-section) fusion of metal powder using a laser beam. For better heat dissipation and stronger connection with the support possessed by the Institute’s manufacturing facilities, each part is ‘grown’ on the support which is made from the same material. Afterwards, the product is proceeded thermally and is finished with machinery tools.

The facility enables a simultaneous production of a group of parts with different configurations. Relevant tests have confirmed the high strength and mechanical performance of the products.

‘The SLM additive technology that we have mastered allows for manufacturing not only prototypes but also original metal products. It also allows us to save a lot of time and manufacturing resources. For example, an aerodynamic model includes hundreds of different parts: flaps, winglets, ailerons, brackets, etc. To manufacture each part with traditional technology, there is need to choose a cutting tool, to prepare a CNC machine control program, and to develop and make the tooling. all this usually takes quite a lot of time at test production. We can “grow” a number of parts simultaneously within the least amount of time, from several days to several hours with continuously operating facility and with the least possible involvement of an operator. Most importantly, the technology allows for making the most ambitious design solutions where a single unit has several complex elements, curved inner channels and cavities integrated without assembly. To make them lighter, the parts can be produced as shells reinforced with honeycomb structures,’ Valery Zinyaev, Head of Sector (Science and Technical Centre, TsAGI Science and Production Complex), Leading Specialist for Additive Technologies.

Mastering and implementing the SLM additive technology into model manufacturing allowed TsAGI specialists to manufacture within the shortest time period the details for supersonic transport models, for next-generation turbojet engine, etc. The Institute plans to actively develop this advanced technology, which is becoming increasingly popular in production, by expanding the range of facilities and mastering new materials as well.

TsAGI Press Service
+7 (495) 556-40-38

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