Aircraft Grade Aluminum

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Aircraft grade aluminum is a super high strength deformation aluminum alloy, which is widely used in the aviation industry.

What is Aircraft Grade Aluminum?

Aircraft grade aluminum is a super high strength deformation aluminum alloy, which is widely used in the aviation industry. Compared with ordinary aluminum alloys, aluminum alloys used in aircraft have higher requirements on strength, hardness, toughness, fatigue resistance and plasticity. Aircraft Grade Aluminum alloy has good mechanical and processing properties, and it has high strength and good toughness at 150 ℃ (or higher), which is ideal for Aircraft structure materials.

Aircraft Grade Aluminum

Aircraft Grade Aluminum

The most remarkable characteristic of aircraft grade aluminum alloy is that its strength can be improved by deformation heat treatment. Deformation heat treatment is a comprehensive process which combines the deformation strengthening of plastic deformation with the phase change strengthening during heat treatment to unify the forming process and forming properties.

During the plastic deformation of aircraft grade aluminum, the density of defects in the crystal increases, and these defects will lead to the change of microstructure in the material. In the process of plastic deformation of aero-aluminum alloy, the changes of crystal structure such as dynamic recovery, dynamic recrystallization, sub-dynamic recrystallization, static recrystallization, and static recovery will occur. If these crystal structure changes are controlled properly, the mechanical properties of the material will be improved significantly and the service life of the material will be enhanced.

What alloys are included in aircraft grade aluminum?

The aluminum grade you choose will depend on your specific aerospace application. Machinability and corrosion resistance are some of the key factors to consider when evaluating aluminum alloys for aerospace applications.

2024-T3

2024-T3 is made up of 4.5% copper, 0.6% manganese and 1.5% magnesium. This is a top tier high strength aluminium alloy and coupled with its fatigue resistance, it is one of the most common aircraft alloys. It doesn’t do well with welding but is a good option for repair works as it has an excellent finish. It is not heat treatable.

Aircraft Grade Aluminum For Airplane

Aircraft Grade Aluminum For Airplane

6061-T6

6061-T6 is made up of 0.25% copper, 0.6% silicon, 1.0% magnesium and 0.25% chromium. This alloy also has good finishing. In addition to that, it offers good corrosion resistance and is very good for welding. Its strength and workability are comparable to mild steel. It is heat treatable.

3003-H14

3003 H14 aluminum contains 1.2% manganese and is the most widely used aluminium alloy. It is very easy to work with as it can be extruded, brazed, machined and welded. It is not heat treatable but can develop increased strength from cold working.

5052-H32

5052-H32 is made up of 2.5% magnesium and 0.25% chromium. This alloy offers the highest strength in the non-heatable alloy series and can develop increased strength from cold working. It also has excellent fatigue strength, corrosion resistance and workability which makes it suitable for aviation and marine purposes.

7075-T6

7075-T6 is made up of 1.6% copper, 2.5% magnesium and 5.6% zinc. It is commonly used by aircraft manufacturers to strengthen the structure of the aircraft. It has poor weldability due to its copper content but it has great machinability. It is heat treatable.

7075 aluminum alloy is known for its excellent mechanical properties as well as its ductility, high strength, toughness and resistance to fatigue. 7075 aluminum sheet plate is so strong as to be comparable to lower alloyed stainless steel grades and its reliability has made it a favorite of the aircraft industry since WWII.

Recently, newer, higher performing alloys have been developed and overtaken 7075 as the most popular choice in some aerospace applications. One example is 2024, whose chemistry makes it ideal for instances where high cyclical fatigue resistance is a concern.

Other popular alloys for the aircraft industry include 6061, 6063, 2014, 5052, 7050, 7085 and 7068.

Why aluminum is used in the aircraft industry?

The two most prominent motives aluminum is so indispensible to the aerospace enterprise have already been referred to. As one of the metals with the best power to weight ratio, it’s fee to the aerospace industry is apparent. Airframes ought to be robust and durable enough to withstand the stresses of takeoffs and landings over the years. At the identical time, if the steel is too heavy, this could require greater fuel to be ate up during flights. Which means that aluminum is frequently the maximum value-powerful desire for aircraft.

Airplane Structure Display

Airplane Structure Display

Strength and weight are not the best benefits of aluminum; some other essential benefit of aircraft grade aluminum is their corrosion resistance. This is a major aspect within the sturdiness of an plane. Airplanes are continuously problem to the elements and regularly enjoy climactic extremes; freezing temperatures found at excessive altitudes and publicity to all kinds of precipitation, which includes snow and rainstorms. Aluminum is famous for its potential to resist environmental corrosion.

Moreover, aluminum additionally happens to be extremely formable. That is a blessing for the plane industry, which calls for a excessive degree of precision to make sure maximum aerodynamics, not to mention all of the small components that can be found on plane. Aluminum’s ease in fabrication and machining makes it some other vicinity in which it gives price savings over opportunity substances.

Aluminum is also aesthetically pleasing; at the same time as this is not the maximum critical attention, it doesn’t harm considering no person desires to fly in a car that isn’t visually appealing (with possibly the Millennium Falcon as the handiest exception).

Benefits of aircraft grade aluminum in the aircraft industry

  • Lightweight: Aluminum is a lightweight material, which is crucial for aircraft design. It helps reduce fuel consumption, increases payload capacity, and improves overall performance.
  • Strength: Despite being lightweight, aluminum offers excellent strength-to-weight ratio, making it ideal for structural components in aircraft.
  • Corrosion Resistance: Aluminum naturally forms a protective oxide layer when exposed to air, which helps protect it from corrosion. This is important for aircraft exposed to harsh environmental conditions.
  • Conductivity: Aluminum is a good conductor of heat and electricity, which is beneficial for various aircraft components, such as heat exchangers and electrical wiring.
  • Malleability: Aluminum is highly malleable, allowing it to be easily formed into complex shapes, which is important for aircraft manufacturing.
  • Recyclability: Aluminum is fully recyclable without losing its properties, making it a sustainable choice for aircraft production.

Applications of aluminum alloys in the Aircraft industry

Component Material Alloy elements Properties
Front legs of seat Al 2024  

Copper, Magnesium

Good machining, high strength, high fatigue strength, corrosion resistance
Wing leading edge Al 2024
Seat ejectors Al 2024
Backrests and armrests Al 6xxx Magnesium, Silicon High strength, good formability and weldability, corrosion resistance
Fuselage skins, stringers and bulkheads Al 7050, Al 7079
Wing skins, panels and covers Al 7075  

Zinc, Magnesium, Copper

 

 

Highest strength, high toughness, good formability

Rear legs of seat and seat spreaders Al 7075
Wing spars, ribs 7055-T77
Wheels and loading gear links 7055-T77
Horizontal and vertical stabilisers Al 7xxx
Upper and lower wing skins 2199-T8E80  

Lithium, Copper, Magnesium

 

Low density, excellent fatigue and toughness, crack growth resistance
Floor sections of the aircraft 2090-T83, 2090-T62
Sear structure 2090-T83
Supporting members of fuselage structure 8090-T651, 2090-T651
Aircraft Grade Aluminum For Aircraft Skin Aircraft Grade Aluminum For Aircraft Skin Aircraft Grade Aluminum For Aircraft Engines Aircraft Grade Aluminum For Aircraft Engines
Wing Of Aircraft Wing Of Aircraft 7075 Aluminum For Aircraft Skin 7075 Aluminum For Aircraft Skin

It’s been estimated that 80% of all metal content in aircraft today is aluminum

Future utilisation of aluminium in spacecraft

Aluminium is also in use in spacecraft, a field where aluminium’s unique properties would be of even greater importance. Indeed, all spacecraft are primarily made up of aluminium, up to 90%. Aluminium components not only make for spacecraft but also for space stations such as the Skylab and the International Space Station. The Orion spacecraft which is under development with an aluminium-lithium alloy is expected to open up new frontiers in the field of manned space exploration.

Aluminum For Spacecraft

Aluminum For Spacecraft

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