Engineers at Picatinny Arsenal, the military research and manufacturing facility, have been experimenting with machine gun barrels made from cobalt alloys.
Army.mil reports …
During testing, the first rifled, cobalt-alloy machine gun barrel ever produced using the “flow forming” process consistently reached high temperatures without degraded performance.
The proof-of-concept barrel was made of an alloy that contains more than 50 percent of the metal cobalt. Cobalt alloys are erosion- and corrosion-resistant metals that are designed to retain high strength during long-term exposure to high temperatures.
Cobalt alloys are frequently used in the aerospace industry, such as the hot-gas section of turbine engines, explained Leto. Cobalt alloys are also used as short liners for machine gun barrels.
“If you look at steel in a machine gun environment, it gets very hot at a high rate of fire,” said Leto. “The benefit of the cobalt alloy is that it is designed to operate in high-temperature, high-stress environments. It has the added benefits of corrosion and erosion resistance.”
[ Many thanks to Lance for emailing me the link. ]