Choosing exactly the right aluminium alloy for a new impeller design recently posed quite a problem for one of TWI's Industrial Members.
The business in question manufactures high performance turbochargers for the automotive industry. As part of its product development process it wanted its impellers to achieve better corrosion performance, and be less expensive than the original design.
So they turned to TWI.
As an Industrial Member organisation, it asked for the suitability of a new alloy to be investigated with corrosion performance and manufacturing cost to be borne in mind as priorities.
TWI set about the task by performing salt spray tests using an environmental test cabinet to compare the corrosion resistances of the new and old alloys.
The comparative tests worked well.
They were successful in reproducing the types of service degradation mechanism that the impeller had to endure without the need for more expensive and extensive testing in actual diesel engines.
The results of the project showed the two alloys had comparable corrosion behaviour, and this gave the client confidence to make the desired change of material.
TWI also investigated the fatigue behaviour of samples that had undergone exposure in a salt spray environment.
This multi-disciplinary approach enabled the client to predict the expected life of the component.
Material selection is an important part of product design and development. It requires detailed knowledge of the inherent properties and in-service performance of the material.
In this case, during product development the necessary corrosion performance data for the material was not available, so testing was essential before a judgement could be made. The job highlights how TWI can help you, if you're an Industrial Member, in the process of product development and furthering reliability, whilst at the same time reducing cost and providing added value.
TWI continues to work with this client on other programmes related to research and product development.
For information about TWI's capabilities please contact us.