With funding from the government, especially from the military, Chinese aviation laser technologists are making gains in producing titanium parts for the country's fifth generation of fighter jets, the J-20 and J-31, by lowering the cost and raising the jets' thrust-weight ratio, writes Liu Jiayi for ZDNet.

As much as 40 percent of the weight could be reduced if the forged titanium parts on an American F-22 were made using the Chinese 3D printing technology, according to a report on Chinese Web site Guancha Zhe.

The Northwestern Polytechnical University of China is also making five meter-long titanium wing beams for the C919 passenger plane, which is scheduled to be put into commercial operation in 2016.


Source: Guancha Zhe. This titanium beam was made in a Chinese university lab.

Huang Weidong, director of the university’s laboratory, told a local newspaper that as the technology develops, the components also are getting lighter and more complicated, but also need to have better mechanical properties, reports Jiayi.

Weidong also said it’s difficult to use traditional technologies to make such parts, “but 3D printing could just meet such demands.”