Aluminum Alloys and Aerospace
Aluminum is an abundant metal and is used in many aspects of our daily lives. It may contain your favorite beverage or cook your favorite meal at dinnertime. However, one of the most important uses for aluminum is in the modern aerospace machine shop. The unique properties of this silver metal make it vital to commercial, military aircraft and space travel. Let’s check out the importance of aluminum to the aerospace industry today.
In the Beginning
Ever since the beginning of flight in the early 20th Century, aluminum has been a part of aerospace. The original plane that made its historic flights in Kitty Hawk, was made from wood. However, parts of the engine providing the power were made from aluminum.
The Japanese Zero from World War II was made mostly from a top secret aluminum alloy developed a few years before the start of the war. Aluminum and the aerospace machine shop became one of the most important parts of the war effort for the United States and this is where the aluminum recycling industry got its start.
Why Fly with Aluminum?
One of the most important aspects of aluminum is the weight factor. In flight, every ounce of weight can have an effect. It is cheaper to build strong steel frames, but they would be too heavy, making flight either very difficult or an impossibility. Here are more important benefits of aluminum for aerospace:
Steel easily rusts when exposed to the elements during air travel. Even painted or powder coated components can still corrode. Some aluminum alloys are highly resistant to corrosion and can be treated to become even more corrosion resistant.
Working with Aluminum
Today’s aerospace machine shop uses a lot of aluminum because it can be created in all kinds of shapes and sizes. With the right equipment, aluminum aircraft components can be machined with precision accuracy.