The process was developed in the framework of the project to investigate low-cost materials and manufacturing processes for the cold-section components of a current turbojet engine for missiles. Two aluminum alloys were selected for printing, one low cost for low temperature and one using a nickel super alloy that is more expensive, but maintains properties above 200C. Among the advantages of this manufacturing process is no waste, he says, although “surface properties can be improved,” Attallah adds. The project is at TRL 3.
Limiting collateral damage caused by missiles changing their shape or the material they are made of, while maintaining penetration capability, is a key area of warhead research. Trials have been undertaken using composites and/or copper, the difficulty being that the weapons must also maintain insensitive properties, be easy to manufacture and low cost. The problem with copper warheads is that the copper stretched further than predicted and broke up.
MCM ITP also sidelines technologies. The concept of scalable volumetric detonation, which involves placing a pulse of electrical energy into a conductive cellular matrix that contains an energetic, will not be pursued, given that the potential penalties in mass, volume, complexity and price were not offset by increased performance.