Aluminum Alloys: Go-to Materials for Automotive, Aerospace, and More

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Aluminum Alloys: Go-to Materials for Automotive, Aerospace, and More

Why is Aluminum So Popular?

Aluminum has a high strength-to-weight ratio, making it lightweight, yet strong and flexible. It’s also affordable, corrosion-resistant, and works well in a multitude of applications. 

Aluminum alloys are often used in cars because of the material’s versatility. Aluminum’s formability and corrosion resistance make it easy to work with and shape, but its structural soundness addresses the most important requirement for car bodies. Strength is important, but car bodies must be lightweight, affordable to produce, resistant to rust, and have the attractive qualities consumers seek, such as exceptional surface finishing characteristics. Aluminum nicely fits the bill. 

The same holds true with aerospace parts. Aluminum alloys are often a preferred material for aerospace designs and required by engineering, again because of aluminum’s corrosion-resistance properties and high strength capabilities. Compared to steel it is a lightweight option, and an ideal material for a wide range of aircraft components and aerospace applications. 

Lightweighting is a core need of both the automotive and aerospace industries. 

With cars, lightweighting helps reduce emissions and meet improved fuel economy standards.  

For aerospace, the use of aluminum alloys dramatically decreases the weight of an aircraft because it is significantly lighter than steel, allowing aircraft to either carry more weight or increase fuel efficiency. For instance, a 20% weight reduction in a Boeing 787 is expected to generate a 10–12% improvement in fuel efficiency. Along these lines, common applications in aerospace abound—many, but not all, of which, are metal: Fuel nozzles, heat exchangers, manifolds, turbo pumps, liquid and gas flow components, conformal cooling channels, fasteners, and more.