Alcoa have revealed their new plan to develop advanced aluminium alloys for the next and future generation airliners.
The "20-20" initiative aims to provide a 20% weight decrease and a 20% cost reduction over the next twenty years for metallic aircraft components. Under the programme, changes will be introduced incrementally with new components and materials being made available for both current and future aircraft. This strategy provides a low risk approach, with aircraft manufacturers and owners being able to gradually phase in new components.
The aim of the programme is to change the current mindset pertaining to metallic aircraft materials, with respect to cost and weight, and in the process develop new materials for aircraft and aerospace applications.
The initiative was born from aircraft manufacturers requirement for more affordable materials that are more cost effective. The first components stemming from this programme are now on offer for use in passenger and cargo planes.
As part of the programme, Alcoa also unveiled a prototype fuselage skin made from aluminium alloy 6013, which had reinforcing stringers made from a 6000 series alloy which were attached via automated laser welding. The use of laser welding negated the need to drill holes usually required for fasteners. The curved structure was produced using a novel high temperature age/creep process. This technology produced a fuselage skin that is lighter, stronger, corrosion resistant and has excellent damage tolerance.
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