producers are fighting hard to regain market share in the aircraft business
following the success of carbon-reinforced composites in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
One of the
biggest developments comes from Alcan Engineered Products, which is introducing a new
lightweight alloy that combines aluminum, copper, lithium, magnesium and silver
alloy. Called AIRWARE™, the new alloy is said to exhibit high strength, high
toughness and high corrosion resistance. According to Alcan, the new alloy also
features high crack extension before unstable fracture of wide pre-cracked
unit of Rio Tinto, rolled out the new alloy at the Farnsborough Air Show in
England, where Boeing also flew the Dreamliner across the Atlantic Ocean for the
ATI and Bombardier, a large aircraft manufacturer based in Quebec, have entered
into a long-term agreement for the exclusive supply of AIRWARE to provide
primary structure for the new CSeries aircraft. AIRWARE will comprise more than
20 percent of all materials used in the CSeries, which is now in the Detailed
Design Phase (DDP).
has begun releasing design datasets (drawings) to fabrication and production
for the first ground and flight test aircraft. The aircraft is expected to
commercially debut in 2013.
Built in China
aluminum-lithium fuselage test barrel was built in China and has already
successfully completed 60,000 fatigue cycles. The production fuselage for the
CSeries will be built in Shenyang, China by Shenyang Aircraft Corp. (SAC), a
subsidiary of the state-owned China Aviation Industry Corp. (AVIC).
says the CSeries is the only modern aircraft specifically designed for the 100-
to 149-seat market segment, and is already racking up significant orders.
CSeries aircraft program was announced in 2008, Bombardier has received orders
from Deutsche Lufthansa, Lease Corp. International and Republic Airways for a
total of 33 CS100 and 57 CS300 aircraft. Options have been placed on a total of
90 additional CSeries aircraft.
the use of the new-age aluminum, the pitch for the CSeries sounds a lot like
the pitch for the Dreamliner: The aircraft will emit 20 percent less carbon
dioxide and 50 percent less nitrogen oxide, fly four times quieter, and deliver
significant energy savings - 20-percent fuel burn advantage, as well as 15-percent
improved cash operating costs versus current in-production aircraft of similar
have one significant advantage over carbon composites: recyclability of
Is it Recyclable?
Alcan, material removed during machining can be "infinitely" recycled into new
aircraft parts, as can all components when an aircraft reaches the end of its
commercial life. Boeing says it is working
to develop commercial recycling
processes for its composite waste, both for economic and environmental reasons.
not the only metal technology in greater play for aircraft applications.
Technologies Inc. introduced its new titanium ATI 425®
Alloy to the
commercial aerospace industry at this year's Farnborough International Air Show
alloy's elements produce a material that can be hot or cold rolled and annealed
to produce sheet with strength comparable to conventional pack-rolled titanium
6-4 sheet, but with improved formability due to higher room-temperature
that ATI 425 Alloy sheet can be produced with superior gauge control and
improved surface finish, offering aircraft designers new opportunities for
improving manufacturability and weight-saving potential.
also has promise. Sheet made in a
liquid-forming process is said to provide 200 percent higher strength and
improved toughness compared to conventional magnesium, while also providing the
strength of carbon steel sheet at one-fourth the weight.
developing new aluminum fasteners which have played a major role in the
Dreamliner assembly, and is working on advanced hybrid structures
at its technical center near
Pittsburgh. Since Boeing launched the 787, Alcoa has developed three
generations of aluminum lithium alloys.
years ago, the industry consensus was that composites were the default material
of choice," says Dan Goodman, director of marketing, Alcoa Aerospace. "That is
no longer the case - particularly for narrow body aircraft. At a substantially
reduced risk, proprietary aluminum alloys and new aluminum-lithium alloys offer
improvements in weight savings and enhanced strength at a lower cost."
Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China are jointly exploring advanced aluminum
structural concepts, designs and alloys to create a 190-seat aircraft, the
C919. The aircraft will be assembled in Shanghai, but will source parts and
will be the largest passenger jet to be produced in China," says Wu Guanghui,
chief designer of the C919 program "Our goal is to design an efficient,
high-performance structure that will compete in the global aerospace market."
The C919 is expected to take its first flight in 2014 and enter service in
One of the
outcomes of stress test issues
with the composite wing on the
Dreamliner was a decision by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. to switch from a
composite to an aluminum wing on its the MRJ-21 regional jet. After weeks of
delays and new design development, Boeing cleared the Dreamliner for flight.
proponents such as Goodman also point to Lockheed Martin's choice of
aluminum-lithium on the primary structures of the Orion spacecraft.