Have you ever wondered what an aircraft is made from? It is an interesting question because the materials have a huge impact on the plane’s quality. The materials have changed drastically over the years because of technology and research. The passengers’ safety is a top priority, so manufacturers are always aiming towards more secure designs. That’s why you should understand the different kinds of materials and how they contribute to making an aircraft fly without getting scratched.
Metal has always been the leading material in airplane crafting. They constitute more than 75% of the frame and other critical systems. Stainless steel is one of the metals used. However, it cannot be used on its own because its heaviness won’t allow the plane to fly properly. Accordingly, titanium is the metalloid of choice because of its lightweight. Since it is quite expensive, manufacturers add aluminum to decrease the cost. When it comes to the turbine, nickel alloys are great because they can withstand the combustion power.
Magnesium was used at some point, but it didn’t last for long because of its high combustion rate. However, manufacturers are always eager to use it again because it is lighter in weight and high ductility. That’s why, recently, it has been modified to decrease its flammability.
Companies are playing around with different metals to further improve the quality of aircraft. They are aiming towards weight reduction, better air resistance, lower corrosion rates, and stronger durability. Recent studies show that powder metallurgy has a wide array of processing, melting, and solidification options. That means that they can be better shaped into the desired plane.
When we say that an alloy was modified by the metal vitamin, then we are talking about indium. When we add a small amount of it, the properties of the alloy improve drastically. It also sticks chemically with other materials, that’s why it is used in soldering. Furthermore, manufacturers roll pure indium to produce indium foil, which is highly-ductile and has a low melting point. It is very stable and barely enters any oxidation or reduction reactions. That’s why it is used as an airplanes’ coating to increase their oxygen resistance, and in turn, slows down their deterioration.
Composites are used in aircraft manufacturing as well. It is an umbrella term for polymer matrix, ceramic matrix, and other types of fibers. They are used because they have high stiffness and better fracture resistance. They can be further reinforced if you added graphite or glass particles. Hybrid composites have improved tensile strength and higher damage-resistance. On the other hand, they are technique sensitive and require impressive adhesives, primers, and sealants to reach their full potential.
Manufacturing an aircraft is a huge responsibility that should be taken seriously. The lives of millions are in the hands of the aviation industry. That’s why the materials being used matter. They are responsible for keeping the plane in the air without any damage. The market introduced a lot of materials and the smart manufacturer mixes and matches between them to get the highest quality product.