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Aluminium alloys in the aerospace industry

05 July 2018

Aluminium has a long and successful history in the aerospace industry. As far back as the 19th century, Count Ferdinand Zeppelin made the frames of his iconic airships from it. Aluminium was chosen as it is lightweight, strong, and has a high resistance to corrosion.

In this article, Marta Danylenko, marketing manager at online materials database Matmatch, explains the common alloys used in aerospace engineering and their applications, as well as some less well-known ones, and what the future holds for aerospace materials.

A brief history

The Wright brothers chose aluminium for the cylinder block and other engine parts for their first manned flight in 1903. It was also the first time an aluminium alloy had been heat-strengthened. This discovery prompted the preference for aluminium in aerospace engineering.

Over the years, the aerospace industry has become more demanding in what it needs from materials. The advent of jumbo jets and long-haul international flights meant that the shell and engine parts had to be extremely durable and resistant to fatigue. This has led to the development and use of many different types of aluminium alloys.

Read the rest of the article in the July issue of DPA




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