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Why Are Aluminum Sheets Are Used In Aerospace Industry?
According to the Aluminum Association, the history of air & space flight parallels the history of aluminum alloy advancement & production. Next to steel, aluminum sheet is the most commonly used & commercially available metal. Its soft, ductile surface has been moved with a number of various metals to create alloys that exhibit highly useful qualities that have served the aerospace industry for over 100 years. To know more about aerospace aluminum sheet, visit aluminum sheet supplier in India.
Aluminum's lightweight & high strength-to-weight ratio make it a good choice for aircraft, which is probably why the Wright brothers chose it to build parts of the engine used for their ground-breaking successful flight back in 1903.
Though the initial primitive airplanes were made of lightweight wood, the disadvantage of wood is that it's susceptible to rot. For that reason – and as it became readily available – aluminum sheets ...
... became the go-to construction material for aircraft by the beginning of WWI.
Rise of the Aluminum Industry
A generation later during WWII, the U.S. built almost 300,000 aircraft, both for itself & our allies – with the help of a flourishing aluminum industry.
After the war, the foundation of spaceflight was achieved with the help of aluminum. For example, the Titan family of rockets used to launch the manned Gemini craft into orbit in the 1960s was made of aluminum.
In use from the 1960s to the 1990s, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance plane – one of the fastest aircraft ever built – had an internal aluminum frame
From 1969 to 2003, aluminum-skinned supersonic Concorde passenger jets flew over the Atlantic at twice the speed of sound.
The Space Shuttle Discovery, which flew astronauts round the Earth from 1984-2011, had a backbone of aluminum alloy plate & had an external fuel tank made of aluminum.
Modern Age of Aluminum
Still one of the world's most popular jet planes, the Boeing 737 is approximately 80% aluminum, with different alloys used for different parts of the aircraft. For example, the fuselage skin, slats, & flaps are made of Aluminum 2024 (alloy of aluminum & copper), chosen for its good fatigue performance, fracture toughness, & slow crack propagation rate. Meanwhile, the wing upper skin, spars & beams are made of Aluminum 7075 (aluminum alloyed with zinc, magnesium, & copper), known for its high compressive strength-to-weight ratio.
The main structure of NASA's Orion spacecraft, the next-generation space exploration vehicle which will soon transport people to Mars, is built of an aluminum alloy.
Aluminum: The Cost-Effective Solution
Though not as strong as titanium or carbon-alloy steel, & heavier than composites, aluminum costs less & has a good balance of strength & low weight that make it a great fit for aircraft. When alloyed with other materials, aluminum exhibits many additional properties beneficial to flight, such as stress corrosion cracking resistance & high tensile strength. Aluminum sheet & plate is as durable as steel at a fraction of the weight. Aluminum sheet & plate is also extremely resistant to corrosion, which adds to its overall value. As manufacturing technologies developes, aluminum is sure to stay in the front of air & space craft for the foreseeable future.
For more information about aluminum metal supplies, contact Plus Metals today.
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