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CarTech alloy nears use in aerospace

Keywords: Tags  stainless steel, Carpenter Technology, aerospace, Custom 465, Airbus, Safran, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Carpenter Technology Corp.’s proprietary Custom 465 stainless steel is moving closer to use in aircraft landing gear.

The Wyomissing, Pa.-based specialty metals producer said it is participating in a European program to qualify Custom 465 for use in landing gear applications that currently incorporate ultra-high-strength steel. The alloy recently "passed a key development milestone" that could lead to eventual production of prototypes for flight testing in 2014, according to Carpenter.

Other participants in the program include European aircraft builder Airbus SAS; landing gear manufacturer Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, a subsidiary of France’s Safran SA; and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Center at Sheffield University in northern England. The program is supported by Britain’s Technology Strategy Board.

Carpenter said the use of stainless steel in landing gear would eliminate the need for cadmium plating as well as the "environmental issues associated with the plating process," while overall production costs would be reduced and landing gear service life would be extended.

Custom 465 has been used in medical instruments, small turbine engine shafts and sporting equipment, according to Carpenter’s website. In addition to landing gear, it also has potential for fasteners, aircraft actuators and upgrading the more widely used 13-8 stainless.

Carpenter is already active in the landing gear market. Last year, it signed a 10-year agreement with Goodrich Corp. to supply its AerMet 100 steel alloy for use in military aircraft landing gear components for the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The alloy was developed as a replacement for the popular 300M steel alloy.

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