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Materials and Hardware - Essay Example

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Materials and Hardware

The Change from One Material to Another in Aircraft Development The method for the choice of materials for aircraft development has changed over the years. For the Flyer, the Wright brothers utilized the first cast aluminium engine block and the major drivers for the material chosen were static strength and weight. The materials used on the main airframe were wood covered with a fabric. Wood is a natural compound possessing long fibres of cellulose, which are held together by a weaker matrix of lignin. The use of wood as a material for the aircraft structure illustrates that the use of composite airframes is not new in the aircraft industry. After the creation of precipitation hardening and the technique to protect the aluminium surface by anodizing and cladding, aluminium has been the main material for aircraft development (Merati, 2010). The reason why aluminium has been used as the primary material for aircraft development is due to its high toughness, easily recyclable, no low temperature brittle fracture, long term performance, high specific strength (calculated by strength/density), ease of manufacture (particularly in extrusion), and readily joinable by mechanical riveting or welding. These advantages make aluminium the preferred metal for aircraft development. ...
The design method for materials utilized in aircraft structures were linked with sufficient strength and low weight (Schijve, 2009). As time evolved, there was need to develop aircrafts that were lighter and faster. This was mainly driven by the needs of the market. Aluminium was the next material that came into the minds of the developers. The material is light, very tough among other advantages. Longer lifecycle, safety, low maintenance cost and reliability are other factors that have triggered the change from one material to another in aircraft development. Why Aluminium Alloys Are Used Instead Of Pure Aluminium in Aircraft Development Pure aluminium produced commercially is a white lustrous metal that ranks top in its resistance to corrosion, sixth in ductility, and second in malleability scale. Aluminium in combination with various levels of other metals creates alloys, which are then used in aircraft development. The principal ingredients used in the aluminium alloys include magnesium, chromium, silicon, and manganese. These ingredients make the aluminium alloy resistant to corrosive environments. However, aluminium alloys with substantial levels of copper are vulnerable to corrosive action. The amount of the alloying elements is rarely more than 6 or 7% in the wrought alloys (Federal Aviation Administration [FAA], n.d.). Aluminium is the most widely used metal material in modern aircraft development or construction. It is important to the aviation industry because of its relative ease of fabrication and its high strength to weight ratio. The outstanding feature of aluminium is its lightweight (FAA, n.d.; Lye, 1989). The metal melts at relatively low temperature of around 1,250°F. It is an excellent conductor and nonmagnetic. The tensile ...Show more

Summary

Materials and Hardware Introduction The materials used in the aviation industry have evolved over the years and this has been driven by the need to have aircrafts that are faster and easy to maintain. This has led into innovation of the materials being used for aircraft construction…
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