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How to Reduce Weight in Aircraft using Lightweight Metals

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Weight reduction of aircraft is a major concern for the aerospace industry.  Reducing an aircraft’s weight can enhance its fuel efficiency, increase its payload capacity, and boost its overall performance.  Utilizing lightweight metals is one of the most effective means of achieving aircraft weight reduction.  This essay will examine the various methods in which lightweight metals can be utilized to reduce aircraft weight.

In the aerospace industry, aluminum is one of the most commonly employed lightweight metals.   It is an ideal material for numerous aircraft components due to its low density, high strength, and exceptional corrosion resistance.  The use of aluminum alloys in the aerospace industry has been around for several decades, and it has proven to be a reliable material for many applications.  Aluminum alloys are utilized by aircraft manufacturers for the construction of wings, fuselage, and other structural components.

Titanium is another light metal utilized extensively in the aerospace industry.  It has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than aluminum, making it an ideal material for applications with significant stresses.  Its resistance to corrosion and efficacy at high temperatures make it an ideal material for engine components.  Titanium is utilized by aircraft manufacturers to construct engine components, landing gear, and other high-stress areas.

Magnesium is an additional lightweight metal used in the aerospace industry.  It has the lowest density of all structural metals, making it optimal for reducing aircraft weight.  Magnesium is used to construct a variety of aircraft elements, including rotor hubs, engine components, and landing gear.  However, compared to other lightweight metals, its low strength limits its structural applications.

Utilizing lightweight metals in the aerospace industry has numerous advantages.  First, it reduces the aircraft’s weight, thereby increasing its fuel efficiency and payload capacity.  The exceptional strength-to-weight ratios of lightweight metals make them ideal for high-stress applications.  Thirdly, lightweight metals have superior corrosion resistance, which reduces maintenance costs and extends the aircraft’s lifespan.

To accomplish weight reduction in aircraft using lightweight metals, aircraft manufacturers must employ various design strategies.  Utilizing multiple materials is one of the most effective design techniques.  By utilizing various materials for various aircraft components, manufacturers can optimize the aircraft’s weight while preserving its structural integrity.  For instance, aluminum can be utilized for the fuselage, whereas titanium can be utilized for engine components and landing gear.

Using advanced manufacturing techniques is a further effective design strategy.  Complex aircraft components with reduced weight and increased strength can be produced using advanced manufacturing techniques, such as additive manufacturing.  Using computer-controlled processes to build up the material layer by layer, additive manufacturing permits precise control over the shape and properties of the final product.

In conclusion, aircraft weight reduction is essential for the aerospace industry to improve fuel efficiency, payload capacity, and performance.  The use of lightweight metals such as aluminum, titanium, and magnesium provides an excellent opportunity to accomplish this objective.  To optimize weight reduction, aircraft manufacturers must employ multiple design strategies, including a combination of materials and advanced manufacturing techniques.  By doing so, the aerospace industry can continue to innovate and create aircraft with greater efficiency and performance in the future.

Aerospace Titanium

Why Would You Employ Alloys Made of Titanium?

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Why Would You Employ Alloys Made of Titanium?

Despite being discovered in 1790, titanium wasn’t purified until the early 1900s.  Furthermore, it took until the second half of the twentieth century for the metal to become widely used.  Yet now that titanium has been used in modern industrial practice and design for about 50 years, its use is supported.  A large portion of this use has been for military purposes in gas turbine engines or airplanes like the SR71 (Fig. 1.1). (Fig. 1.2).  Golf clubs and bicycles have been used more recently, among other things.  Because to its special density, corrosion resistance, and relative strength advantages over rival materials like aluminum, steels, and superalloys, titanium has established a niche in a variety of industries.   The following notable facts and/or substantial advantages provided by titanium alloys illustrate the rationale behind titanium’s current widespread use:

• The tensile strength (as an alloy) of titanium can be equivalent to lower-strength martensitic stainless and is better than that of austenitic or ferritic stainless.

• The density of titanium is only around 60% that of steel or nickel-base superalloys.

• The commercial titanium alloys are useful at temperatures up to roughly 538 °C to 595 °C (1000 °F to 1100 °F), depending on composition. Alloys can have ultimate strengths comparable to iron- base superalloys, such as A286, or cobalt- base alloys, such as L606.
Over this temperature, some alloy systems, such as titanium aluminumides, may have useful strengths.

• Although titanium costs around four times as much as stainless steel, they are comparable to superalloys.

• Titanium is remarkably resistant to corrosion.

• In the majority of settings, it frequently outperforms stainless steel’s resistance, and inside the human body, it exhibits exceptional corrosion resistance.

• Titanium can be forged or worked using traditional methods.

• Titanium may be cast, with investment casting being the most popular technique.
(Titanium alloy investment cast structures are less expensive than titanium alloy forged/wrought structures.)

• P/M technology can be used to process titanium.
(Powder may be more expensive, but P/M may offer property and processing improvements in addition to a possibility for overall cost savings.)

• Fusion welding, brazing, adhesives, diffusion bonding, and fasteners are all methods that can be used to unite titanium.

• Titanium is available in a wide range of shapes and forms, is easily formable, and may be machined with reasonable care.

Metals Sheet Aluminum

2014 Aluminum Bar and Plate Applications

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As far as aluminum alloys go, few boast the impressive mechanical properties of Aluminum 2014. Admirable strength coupled with excellent corrosion resistance and thermal stability renders it an enticing material choice across many sectors. It has made significant strides in aviation technology where aircrafts continue to benefit from its lightweight nature alongside robustness in construction. Meanwhile, varied applications within automobile manufacturing make it a highly prized metal while numerous sports equipment manufacturers rely on its full potential to create top-of-the-line gear like baseball bats. The use of lightweight materials in high-stress applications like aircraft and automotive parts has become increasingly common in recent years. One material that fits this description is aluminum alloy 2014. Its remarkable combination of properties which give it desirable characteristics (mechincal properties noted below).  The application of this particular alloy in the construction industry is highly prioritized due to its exceptional structural properties. Moreover, this material can efficiently replace steel in certain industrial applications. Its effortless weldability, machinability and formability make it an exceptionally adaptable substance for various manufacturing processes.

  • Density: 2.78 g/cm3
  • Tensile strength: 462-517 MPa
  • Yield strength: 435-491 MPa
  • Modulus of elasticity: 69 GPa
  • Thermal conductivity: 170 W/mK
  • Electrical conductivity: 41.7% IACS

Aluminum Uses in the Aerospace Industry

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Aluminum is widely used in the aerospace industry due to its lightweight, strength, and resistance to corrosion. It has a density of about one-third that of steel, making it a popular choice for aircraft structures where weight is a critical factor.

Here are some of the most common uses of aluminum in aerospace:

  1. Airframes: Aluminum is used extensively in the construction of aircraft structures, including the fuselage, wings, and tail sections. It is an ideal material for airframes because of its strength and durability.
  2. Engine Components: Aluminum is also used in the manufacturing of engine components such as turbine blades, housings, and cylinder heads. Aluminum’s high thermal conductivity and ability to dissipate heat quickly make it an excellent choice for engine components that need to withstand high temperatures.
  3. Fuel Tanks: Aluminum is also used in the construction of fuel tanks for aircraft. Its corrosion resistance properties make it an ideal material for storing and transporting fuel.
  4. Interior Components: Aluminum is used in the manufacture of various interior components such as seating frames, overhead bins, and galley structures. Its lightweight and high strength make it ideal for these applications.

Overall, aluminum has become a crucial material in the aerospace industry due to its unique properties, and it’s expected to continue to play a significant role in future aircraft designs.   Flight Metals stocks various hard to find grades of aluminum including 2014, 7475, and others.

Various Applications of Titanium

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Titanium is a strong, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant metal with very strong mechanical characteristics. It has a number of useful properties, which make it suitable for a wide range of applications. Some common uses of titanium include:

  1. Aerospace and aircraft: Titanium is used in the construction of aircraft and spacecraft because it is strong, lightweight, and resistant to corrosion. It is also used in the production of jet engines and other aircraft components. One of the most important grades is Titanium 6Al-4V per AMS 4911 and AMS 4928.
  2. Medical implants: Titanium is biocompatible, which means that it is not rejected by the body. As a result, it is often used in the production of medical implants, such as hip replacements and dental implants.
  3. Construction: Titanium is used in the construction industry due to its strength and corrosion resistance. It is used in the production of roofing materials, window frames, and other building components.
  4. Military: Titanium is used in the production of military equipment, such as armored vehicles and body armor, due to its strength and durability.
  5. Sports equipment: Titanium is used in the production of sports equipment, such as golf clubs, tennis rackets, and bicycles, due to its strength and lightweight properties.
  6. Chemical processing: Titanium is resistant to corrosion and is therefore used in the production of chemical processing equipment, such as distillation columns and heat exchangers.
  7. Automotive: Titanium is used in the production of automotive parts, such as exhaust systems and valve springs, due to its strength and corrosion resistance

Titanium and Heat Treating

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Titanium Bars


Titanium is a strong, lightweight metal that is widely used in various industries due to its high strength-to-weight ratio and excellent corrosion resistance. Heat treatment is a process that is used to alter the microstructure of a material in order to improve its properties.

There are several methods that can be used to heat treat titanium, including:

  1. Annealing: This process involves heating the titanium to a temperature above its recrystallization temperature, and then slowly cooling it in order to reduce its hardness and increase its ductility.
  2. Solution annealing: This process involves heating the titanium to a high temperature in order to dissolve any impurities or precipitates that may be present in the material. The material is then cooled rapidly in order to “freeze” the impurities in a solid solution.
  3. Aging: This process involves heating the titanium to a temperature below its recrystallization temperature in order to promote the formation of precipitates within the material. This can increase the strength and hardness of the titanium.
  4. Quenching: This process involves heating the titanium to a high temperature and then rapidly cooling it in order to increase its strength and hardness. This is typically done by immersing the hot titanium in a quenching medium, such as water or oil.

It is important to carefully control the heating and cooling rates during the heat treatment process in order to achieve the desired microstructure and properties in the titanium.

Titanium Applications: A Look at the Many Ways Titanium is Used in Our Lives

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Titanium is used for everything from cars, to medical implants, to military equipment, and more. It’s the sixth most widely used metal in the world. Titanium is a lightweight, strong, stable, tough metal with excellent corrosion resistance. It is resistant to radiation, thermal extremes, oxygen and moisture. One of the most common grades of this metal is Titanium 6Al-4V also known as Titanium Grade 5. Titanium has properties that make it a very interesting metal to work with, as it is versatile and fairly affordable. One common use of Titanium is in aerospace. Its high strength to weight ratio makes it the best material for many military applications, such as bulletproof vests. It also has an excellent corrosion resistance, making it perfect for medical implants, like hip, shoulder, and knee replacements.

Aerospace Applications

Titanium is used in several different products throughout the aerospace industry. Titanium is extensively used in key parts of the new Boeing 787, which helps make up about 80% of the aircraft’s weight. Titanium is also used in the wings of Airbus A380. An aircraft’s wings are only 1/6 the weight of the body and body fairings and the airframe. They also account for about 80% of the weight of the aircraft.  Just imagine having a metal wing weighing 2.6 tons for a plane traveling 6,000 miles! That’s what all the design work and determination from the aircraft manufactures is about. The most popular grade used in aerospace is Titanium 6Al-4V in the annealed condition.  The specification for this grade are for round and rectangular bar and AMS 4911 for sheet and plate.  If the application requires additional strength, this grade can be heat treated creating Titanium 6Al-4V in the Solution Treated and Aged (STA) condition which meets the specs AMS 4965 and AMS 6930 for round and rectangle bar and AMS 4904 for plate.  Some of the other uses include for bulkheads, fuel tanks, landing gear, pylons, and other various structures.  Some examples include end bearings for the Ariane 5 rocket, brakes for supersonic transport aircraft, cabin heat shields for the Space Shuttle, and the face shield on NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

Aerospace Titanium

Medical Applications

Titanium is a versatile metal that has many applications in the medical industry, including surgical instruments and implants. Titanium’s durability makes it perfect for these circumstances as it will not rust or corrode. It also has strength properties that are comparable to steel but much lighter which make titanium the best option for surgical procedures. The unique properties of titanium make it an optimal material choice in the medical field, especially when you consider its cost effectiveness and lack of need for maintenance.  Titanium behaves better in the human body and that is surgeons choose to use this metal instead of other options like stainless steel or aluminum alloy.  The most common grade in the medical industry is Titanium 6Al-4V ELI or Extra Low Interstitials.  The main specification required for this grade is ASTM F136 which covers plate and round bar material.

Medical Titanium Applications

Automotive Applications

Titanium applications in the automotive industry are widespread and varied. Titanium is used in heavy-duty components such as aerodynamic parts in the aerodynamics of the race car, cooling system components in the thermal exhaust systems, engine components, heat shields, fuel cells, brake calipers, cooling housings for turbochargers, and many other parts and components.  The weight to performance ratio makes Titanium optimal for F1 racing and other high performance applications.


Sporting and Recreational Activities Applications

Titanium alloys are not only used in aerospace and automotive applications, but also as the material of choice for sporting and recreational activities. Titanium provides a durable, light weight and lightweight high performance material.  Some of the commercial grades of Titanium are the best choice for fishing rods, golf clubs, and other equipment.

Titanium Golf Clubs 

Titanium is used in a wide variety of applications. Whether its medical, aerospace, automotive, or general manufacturing, it’s likely in one of those fields. Titanium is a strong, lightweight and corrosion resistant metal that has been around for many decades.  This information stated in this article is informational and educational purposes only.

Materials in Aerospace

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Flight Metals is a leading converter and distributor of titanium, stainless steel, aluminum, nickel, and alloy steel metals in sheet, plate, hex bar, coil, round bar, flat bar, and other shapes and sizes. Corrosion-resistant and heat resistant alloys are our specialties. We value quality and customer service. Metals in a wide range of alloys, gauges, tempers, widths, and coil sizes are available. Flight Metals use materials such as titanium, alloy steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and nickel in various compositions and grades.

Inconel Bar

Aerospace Industry

Aerospace manufacturing, particularly aerospace engine manufacturing, is distinctive among other high-volume manufacturing industries. The engine is the most complex component of an airplane, housing the most individual components and determining fuel efficiency in the end. The introduction of lean-burn engines, which can reach temperatures of 3,800°F, has boosted the demand for novel materials. Given that current superalloys have a melting point of roughly 3,360°F, the challenge is discovering materials that can endure higher temperatures.

Materials Used in the Aerospace Industry

Heat-resistant superalloys (HRSAs), which include titanium alloys, nickel alloys, and even nonmetal composite materials like ceramics, are currently being used to meet temperature needs. Aluminum alloys, high-strength steels, titanium alloys, and composites are the most widely recognized commercial aerospace structural materials, accounting for more than 90% of the weight of airframes.


Titanium alloys capable of performing at temperatures ranging from sub-zero to 600°C are used in engines for shafts, blades, discs, and casings from the front fan to the last stage of the high-pressure compressor, as well as in lightly loaded fabrications like plug and nozzle assemblies at the rear end of the engine. Titanium currently accounts for up to 10% of the empty weight of aircraft such as the Boeing 777. Titanium is also used in engine applications such as compressor blades, rotors, and hydraulic system components.

Titanium’s properties make it an ideal material for usage in the aircraft industry. Aerospace applications, by their very nature, necessitate parts that are both light and strong. Titanium is highly corrosion-resistant in addition to having a favorable weight-to-strength ratio. Titanium generates a passive oxide coating when exposed to air or pure oxygen at high temperatures. The titanium is protected from oxidation and other forms of corrosion by this passivating coating.

Titanium Bars

Titanium Bars

Titanium 5553 (Ti-5553) is a relatively new metal in the aerospace industry, with high strength, lightweight, and excellent corrosion resistance. This titanium alloy is ideal for major structural components that need to be stronger and lighter than the previously employed stainless steel alloys.

Titanium 6Al-4v is one of the most used grades of Titanium in the aerospace market.   Depending on the application, various forms are available including plate and sheet (AMS 4911) and rectangular and round bar.

Flight Metals offer various grades of Titanium in a variety of shapes and sizes, including plate, round bar, block, sheet, and tube, as well as a variety of heat treatment conditions. We can provide the required grade with applications spanning from aerospace to automotive to desalination.


Aluminum tubing is used in the fuselage, hydraulic system, and fuel line of aircraft and automobiles. In the warehouse, Flight Metal has a complete line of aluminum bars, plates, rectangular bars, and sheet items. We can provide a quick turnaround for our customers’ customization.

Alloy Steel

Steel alloyed with elements such as silicon, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, nickel, vanadium, and boron is known as alloy steel. With alloy steels of various compositions, hundreds of products can be made: alloy steel pipes and tubes, alloy steel sheets, plates, and coils, alloy steel rods, bars, and wires, alloy steel buttweld fittings, alloy steel forged fittings, alloy steel, fasteners, flanges, and other alloy steel products. Automobiles, road construction, machinery and equipment, buildings, mining, railways, appliances, and off-shore applications are a few of the industries in which alloy steels are used.

Alloy Bars

Updated Website for Flight Metals

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At Flight Metals we like to keep things fresh.    Check out our new website with many added sections including metal weight calculator, blog, added product pages.  We are your best source for hard to find aluminum, nickel, titanium, cobalt, stainless and alloy steel requirements.