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Extending Aircraft Life Using Cold Spray Technology

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12 May 2015
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CORSAIR cold spray system
The CORSAIR cold spray system

TWI will be presenting ground-breaking work completed as part of a project seeking to extend the life of ageing aircraft at two international conferences this year.

Since June 2013, the research and technology organisation has been part of a consortium of companies from across Europe working on a project entitled CORSAIR: Cold Spray Radical Solutions for Aeronautic Improved Repairs.

The project is investigating the opportunities for aircraft component repair presented by the cold spray technique, which involves firing powder particles at a substrate at extremely high velocities, depositing a coating at temperatures significantly below the substance's melting point.

CORSAIR, a project which has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration (Grant Agreement no. ACS3-GA-2013-605207), is examining every aspect of the cold spray process - from powder feedstock, through deposition system and spraying parameters, to post-processing - to optimise its utilisation for the repair of aerospace components.

Early results from the project are now ready to be presented to industry peers, and TWI scientists involved in the work will be attending two international conferences to do so this summer.

Developments will first be presented by Heidi Lovelock of TWI at Aeromat 2015, taking place this week, 11-14 May, in Long Beach, California. The presentation, entitled 'Effect of Powder Feedstock Properties on Ti-6Al-4V Cold Sprayed Coating Characteristics', details work relating to the optimisation of coatings on Ti-6Al-4V substrates, by the careful control of Ti-6Al-4V powder properties and spraying parameters.

In Europe, TWI's Roger Barnett will also present the work as a paper at the 4th International Conference of Engineering Against Failure (ICEAF IV), being held from 24-26 June in Skiathos, Greece. All papers from this conference will then be published in appropriate peer-reviewed journals.

Although considerable advances have been made in the development of composite materials over the last few decades, the aerospace industry still makes extensive use of aluminium, magnesium and titanium alloy components, mainly for structural components or engine parts. This continuing reliance on metal parts means that metal alloys are sure to remain a subject of critical importance in the aerospace industry for the foreseeable future.

As aerospace companies increasingly seek to update existing air fleets rather than purchase new stock, more reliable and economic life extension strategies are needed in order to safely continue operating ageing aircraft. The development of environmentally friendly, inexpensive, reliable and safe repair technologies is a key part of this process.

The surface repair technology being developed for the CORSAIR project has the potential to lead to significant life extension, reduce wastage and allow more efficient use of resources. For more information on CORSAIR, please get in touch with Heidi Lovelock via our Contact Us page or call +44 (0)1223 899000.

For more information please email:


contactus@twi.co.uk