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Aluminum in Aircraft & Aerospace

Alloys composed mostly of aluminum have been very important in aerospace manufacturing since the introduction of metal-skinned aircraft. Aluminum-magnesium alloys are both lighter than other aluminum alloys and much less flammable than alloys that contain a very high percentage of magnesium. Ever since aluminum alloys advanced in course of history, they revolutionized and ushered in a new era for advancement of aircraft and rocket technology as well.
Aluminum is abundantly available and one of the most common metals in the world, with an outreach which touches are lives almost everyday. From utensils to providing structural elements of an aircraft, aluminum‘s light weight and high strength make it ideal for many applications. While wood was initially used to build aircraft, ever since Wright brothers built their first plane, aluminum has been adopted all over the world for its features and performance.Wood is prone to rot and can splinter without proper maintenance, while steel has more strength, but is also heavy, thus due to its various beneficial properties aluminum has become an easy and reliable choice for selecting aluminum for several components in aerospace industry.  Today, like many industries, aerospace makes wide use of aluminum manufacturing. Due to its valuable properties, aluminum has become ideal for lowering costs of aircraft manufacturing while upholding stringent specifications required in the industry.
The advancement of aircraft and rocket technology is directly tied to the advancement and production of aluminum alloys. From the Wright brothers’ use of aluminum in the engine of their first biplane to NASA’s use of an aluminum-lithium alloy in the new Orion spacecraft—aluminum has created the potential for mankind to fly both around the Earth and into space.

List of aerospace aluminium alloys

The following aluminium alloys are commonly used in aircraft and other aerospace structures:

7068 aluminium
7075 aluminium
6061 aluminium
6063 aluminium
2024 aluminium
5052 aluminium
7050 aluminium

Note that the term aircraft aluminium or aerospace aluminium usually refers to 7075.

6063 aluminium alloys are heat treatable with moderately high strength, excellent corrosion resistance and good extrudability. They are regularly used as architectural and structural members.

The following list of aluminium alloys are currently produced, but less widely used:

2090 aluminium
2124 aluminium
2195 aluminium – Al-Li alloy, used in Space Shuttle Super Lightweight external tank, and the SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon 1e second stage launch vehicles.
2219 aluminium – Al-Cu alloy, used in the original Space Shuttle Standard Weight external tank
2324 aluminium
5059 aluminium – Used in experimental rocket cryogenic tanks
6013 aluminium
7050 aluminium
7055 aluminium
7150 aluminium
7475 aluminium


BHSPL in collaboration with Falcon Aerospace provides aerospace grade materials for use of Indian Industries in Aviation, Aerospace segment working to promote Make In India. You may view the list of various Aluminum Alloys available below: