Advanced Metalworking Solutions for
Naval Systems that Go in Harm's Way

Optimized Flow-Formed Steel Cartridge Casings


Produce affordable, flow-formed 5-inch cartridge casings that can be fired successfully and reliably.

Technical Approach

A phased product/process development program was required to address the process and product development issues due to the interaction of product design, alloy selection, and processing parameters. The high level of material deformation involved in this process produces an extremely fine-grained structure and increases the response of the materials to hardening processes.

Phase I

  • Evaluate 4130 and 4340 alloy steels.
  • Optimize process parameters.
  • Demonstrate ballistic performance.
Phase II
  • Evaluate alternative (1040, 8620, and 9310) alloy steels.
  • Re-optimize process parameters for these materials.
  • Validate ballistic performance.
Phase III
  • Perform a final round of alloy selection (8620 and 94B1 5 alloy steel) to match the strength, heat-treat responsiveness, and ballistic performance to the product requirements.
  • Develop an improved mouth anneal process.
  • Produce a sample run for end-of-project demonstration.
  • Perform ballistic performance tests.
  • Document product and process parameters.


It is expected that, at a rate production of 20,000 cartridge casings per year, estimated savings of $2M per year can be achieved. This is both a cost avoidance (of the cost of restarting the deep-drawn process), and cost savings, due to lower, expected processing costs.


The National Center for Excellence in Metalworking Technology (NCEMT) has worked directly with industrial service providers on the solution of the issues. The NCEMT will document and transfer the necessary product and process specifics to NSWC-IHD for incorporation into procurement specifications of flow-formed steel cartridge casings.