TOULOUSE, France – Airbus, in partnership with Messier Bugatti Dowty, Carpenter Technology and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the University of Sheffield, are developing the maturity of a new corrosion-resistant stainless steel alloy known as “CRES” – for possible use in future landing gear components. As part of the collaborative evaluation, nine A320 main gear components have been forged in the new steel and used for further materials development, including establishing properties of the as-manufactured materials and define the optimum industrialisation route. Furthermore, two components are being manufactured to a ‘final finish’. In the future, the team hopes to assemble a fully CRES landing gear for in-service evaluation.
The new CRES steel, which avoids the need to use traditional cadmium and chromate coatings, confers intrinsic corrosion resistance and could become an alternative to both existing low-alloy carbon steels and titanium alloys for future aircraft landing gear. The strength is comparable to current steels and it could be available for less than half the price of titanium alloys. CRES steels also improve the cost of ownership due to the reduction of in-service corrosion. Moreover, thanks to a large improvement in fracture toughness and stress corrosion cracking resistance, they are much more environmentally robust.