When you think about the aerospace industry, what comes to mind? Maybe you picture the sleek designs of airplanes soaring through the sky or the complex machinery that goes into constructing a space station.
No matter what you think of, all these designs have one major facet in common: the presence of metal parts. Metals are fundamental in aerospace design, providing the strength, durability, and flexibility necessary for success. Let’s explore the most common metals in the aerospace industry.
The most commonly used metal in aerospace design is aluminum. This lightweight metal is in everything from an airplane’s frame to a spacecraft’s outer shell. It’s highly conductive and non-magnetic. It’s also easy to form into various shapes. Because it’s so lightweight, aluminum aircraft need far less fuel to fly. As a result, it’s an excellent choice for airplanes and spacecraft. Furthermore, using aluminum is a cost-efficient way to produce aircraft since it’s much cheaper than other metals. Aerospace is just one of the common applications of aluminum in manufacturing, and its malleability makes it an excellent choice.
Another metal common in the aerospace industry is titanium. It’s much stronger and denser than aluminum, making it perfect for high-stress areas where durability is critical. Producing the aircraft’s engine components, landing gear, and structural parts out of this metal is common. Additionally, titanium has high corrosion resistance, allowing it to withstand harsh environments.
Steel is also widespread in the aerospace industry thanks to its exceptional strength, durability, and resistance to corrosion. Its primary purpose is to form the aircraft’s internal parts and structural components.
Magnesium is another metal that has seen increased use in the aerospace industry. Magnesium alloys have a high strength-to-weight ratio, making them an excellent choice for aviation design. Magnesium is usually in applications like gearbox housings and engine components where weight reduction is necessary.
Finally, nickel-based alloys are in aerospace design for their robust resistance to high-temperature environments. This characteristic makes them the perfect candidates for producing mechanical parts in the high-temperature regions of jet engines.
As the aerospace industry continues to grow and advance, the role of metals will become even more important. Each metal has something to offer in terms of design and function. By understanding these common metals’ benefits, aerospace industry engineers can make informed decisions about the materials to use in their designs.