Engineering and Construction
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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.


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. ...
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