Aluminum earns the recognition as the top choice of material in manufacturing aircraft structure and airframe with its lightweight properties.
High strength and lightweight materials are critical in aircraft and aerospace construction, so the discovery of aluminum alloys is one of the primary reasons for the boom of the aircraft industry and development of aviation.
With the discovery of these new metals, and the properties found in their elements, new strategies and machining operations have been created to use these materials for new applications, and of course, to improve existing ones.
Aluminum, generally speaking, is already used in multiple applications despite its expensive cost. What explains the sudden boom of these superalloys is that they possess such powerful properties. Aluminum alloys can withstand extremely high levels of temperature and various external stressors.
The Basics of Aluminum Alloy
Aluminum is the most abundant metal in Earth’s crust after silicon and oxygen. It has a silvery-white appearance and contains a lot of valuable mechanical properties. It possesses 60% of the electrical conductivity of copper, with much lower density, making it a lightweight material perfect for aircraft and aerospace construction.
Pure aluminum is soft and ductile, but it can be strengthened when it is alloyed with other elements like magnesium, copper, and silicon. Such alloys possess better corrosion resisting properties, with a protective oxide coating that is achieved and enhanced through the process of anodization. Their lightweight and non-toxic mechanical properties enable them to be easily machined and cast. One good thing about aluminum is that it is recyclable, which can save considerable amounts of energy. They only need to undergo a melting process in order for them to be reused.
Aluminum alloys have low density, therefore, they are lightweight which is one of the key factors to consider in constructing an aircraft and its vital parts. Other important properties they possess are malleability, high strength, easy machining, good electrical and thermal conductivity, and excellent corrosion resistance.
Aluminum in the Aviation Industry
80 percent of commercial transport aircraft frames are made up of aluminum. This alloy is the top choice for the construction of aircraft and parts like wings and fuselage. Most navy aircraft are mainly made of fabricated aluminum. The focus on aluminum casting technology is continuing to earn recognition with its countless advantages in forming complex parts for aircraft structure. With a low manufacturing cost, Aluminum Alloy is the top choice for incorporating innovative and complicated design concepts in the aviation industry.
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