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Materials & Assembly

Materials Battle for Aircraft Bodies Heats Up

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Charles Murray
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Blogger
lithium alloys
Charles Murray   6/23/2011 5:56:06 PM
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Wow. Looking at the link to the information about these alloys, it makes you wonder why their use isn't more widespread: lower density; higher tensile strengths; higher elastic modulus. Where've these alloys been up to now?

Dave Palmer
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Platinum
Re: lithium alloys
Dave Palmer   6/24/2011 3:34:18 PM
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Alcoa calls this product a "third-generation" aluminum-lithium alloy.  The "second-generation" aluminum-lithium alloys have been around since at least the 1980s.  They are used fairly extensively in space applications, with the best-known being the Space Shuttle external tank.  They are also used in military aerospace applications (for example, the MiG-29M airframe).  However, they are less widely used in commercial applications.  I think the biggest reasons are cost and unfamiliarity.  Another issue is anisotropy of properties, although this is an issue with composites as well.  Alcoa claims to have addressed this with the new generation of alloys: http://www.alcoa.com/global/en/innovation/papers_patents/pdf/LMT2007_110.pdf

 

plasticmaster
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Silver
Re: lithium alloys
plasticmaster   7/5/2011 12:47:05 AM
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While I'v got an affection for plastics, I think it does have its limitations. There will need to be a lot more empirical testing of plastic in airplane body parts before the general public will be ready to fly in a plastic plane.

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