New Metal Alloys Are Shaking Up Aerospace

The number and types of lightweight metals available for building military and aerospace components are expanding. Not only are aircraft structures and components making use of lightweight aluminum alloys, but also alloys of titanium, and other metals previously considered too exotic like beryllium. These materials help vehicles meet tougher fuel consumption standards by shedding hundreds of pounds. About 50% of the aerospace materials market by volume consists of aluminum, according to a MarketsandMarkets research report. The potential weight that can be shed by using titanium for aircraft components has spurred the growing use of this material in next-generation planes, which the report forecasts will drive up titanium demand through 2019. Lightweight alloys of several kinds are the focus of the Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow(LIFT) consortium operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII). The institute’s goal is to accelerate the transition of technologies already developed by industry and research organizations from the applied development stage to fully-fledged production-line-ready processes.


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