By Cameron Chai
Alcoa has developed new aluminum-based solutions that enable aerospace industry to produce ultra-lightweight, short-range airplanes at lower cost and minimum production risk when compared to composite-intensive planes.
The new portfolio of aluminum-based solutions, which feature sophisticated structural technologies and new alloys, utilize Alcoa’s products, including forgings, plate, sheet and hard alloy extrusion, for aircraft structures such as fuselage components and airplane wings.
Alcoa’s new solutions portfolio comprises third-generation aluminum lithium alloys and advanced alloys that offer superior corrosion resistance and can reduce density by up to 7% in critical structural applications. The aluminum lithium alloys, which offer superior performance, are being used in aircraft plate applications and on upcoming planes.
Alcoa’s skin sheet, with enhanced aerodynamic features, decreases skin friction drag by 6%. Moreover, the company’s latest sophisticated structural technologies that utilize its rolled, extruded and forged products facilitate augmented wing aspect ratio for enhanced fuel savings, enable augmented cabin pressurization for improved passenger comfort, and offer up to 10 fold the damage tolerance compared to conventional alloys.
The new solutions reduce the plane weight by up to 10% compared to composite-intensive planes. By using these solutions, cost of production, operation and maintenance can be reduced by up to 30%. They enhance fuel efficacy by 12% on top of the 15% fuel efficiency of the latest engines.