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Aluminium extrusion 2
Aluminium Extrusion Process

History of aluminum in aerospace industry

  • Did you know that aluminium makes up 75-80% of modern aircraft? !
  • The history of aluminum in the aerospace industry goes back a long way. In fact, aluminum was used in aviation before airplanes were invented. In the late 19th century, Count Ferdinand Zeppelin used aluminum to make the frames of his famous Zeppelins.
  • Aluminum is light and strong, making it ideal for aircraft construction.  History of aluminum weighs about a third as much as steel, allowing planes to carry more weight or become more fuel efficient. In addition, aluminum’s high corrosion resistance ensures the safety of the aircraft and its passengers.

Common grade of aviation aluminum

2024 — Typically used for aircraft skins, fairings, aircraft structures. Also used for repair and repair.

3003 – This history of aluminum plate is widely used for fairing and baffle plating.

5052 — Often used to make fuel tanks. The 5052 has excellent corrosion resistance (especially in Marine applications).

6061 — Commonly used for aircraft landing pads and many other non-aeronautical structural end uses.

7075 — Usually used to strengthen aircraft structures. 7075 is a high-strength alloy and is one of the most commonly used grades in the aviation industry (second only to 2024).

History of aluminum in aerospace industry

The Wright brothers

  • On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers made the world’s first human flight in their airplane, the Wright Flyer.
  • At the time, car engines were too bulky to provide enough power to take off, so the Wright brothers built a special engine in which the cylinder block and other parts were made history of aluminum.
  • Since aluminum is not widely used and expensive, the plane itself is made of sitka spruce and a bamboo frame covered with canvas. Due to the aircraft’s low airspeed and limited lift generation capacity, keeping the frame extremely light is essential, with wood being the only feasible material light enough to fly but strong enough to carry the required load.
  • It will take more than a decade for aluminum use to become more common.
History of aluminum3

The First World War

  • Wooden aircraft made their mark in the early days of aviation, but during World War I, lightweight aluminum began to replace wood as an important part of aerospace manufacturing.
  • In 1915, German aircraft designer Hugo Junkers built the world’s first all-metal aircraft; The Junkers J 1 monoplane. Its body is made history of aluminum alloy containing copper, magnesium and manganese.
History of aluminum2

The golden Age of aviation

  • The period between World War I and World War II is known as the Golden Age of aviation
  • In the 1920s, Americans and Europeans competed in aircraft races, which led to innovations in design and performance. The biplane was replaced by a more streamlined monoplane and transitioned to an all-metal frame made of aluminium alloy.
  •  In 1925, the Ford Motor Company entered the airline industry. Henry Ford designed the 4-AT, a three-engine all-metal aircraft using corrugated aluminum. It was called “The Tin Goose” and became an instant hit with passengers and airlines.
  • By the mid-1930s, there was a new streamlined aircraft shape with multiple engines with tight covers, retractable landing gear, variable pitch propellers, and stress-skinned aluminum construction.
History of aluminum1

The Second World War

  • During World War II, aluminium was needed for many military applications — notably the construction of aircraft frames — which led to a surge in production.
  • The demand for aluminum was so great that in 1942, Wor-NYC aired a radio program, “Aluminum for Defense,” to encourage Americans to contribute scrap aluminum to the war effort. Aluminum recycling is encouraged, with “Tinfoil Drives” offering free movie tickets in exchange for aluminium foil balls.
  • From July 1940 to August 1945, the United States produced a staggering 296,000 aircraft. More than half are made mainly of aluminum. The US aerospace industry can meet the needs of the US military and its Allies, including the UK. At its peak in 1944, American aircraft factories were producing 11 planes an hour.
  • By the end of the war, the United States had the most powerful air force in the world.

The modern era

  • Since the end of the war, aluminium has become an integral part of aircraft manufacturing. Although the composition of aluminum alloy has improved, the advantages of aluminum remain the same. Aluminium allows designers to build aircraft that are as light as possible, can carry heavy loads, use the least fuel and do not rust.
  • Aluminum is ubiquitous in modern aircraft manufacturing. Concorde, which has been flying at more than twice the speed of sound for 27 years, is made of aluminum.
  • The Boeing 737, the best-selling commercial jetliner that made mass air travel a reality, is 80 percent aluminum.
  • Today’s aircraft use aluminum in the fuselage, wing panes, rudders, exhaust pipes, doors and floors, seats, engine turbines, and cockpit instrumentation.

To explore the universe

  • Aluminum is invaluable not only in aircraft, but also in spacecraft, where light weight and strength make it even more important. In 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first satellite made of aluminum alloy.
  • All modern spacecraft are made up of 50 to 90 percent aluminum alloy. Aluminum alloys have been widely used in the Apollo spacecraft, the Skylab space station, the Space shuttle and the International Space Station.
  • The Orion spacecraft currently under development is designed to allow humans to explore asteroids and Mars. Manufacturer Lockheed Martin chose an aluminum-lithium alloy as Orion’s main structural component.
History of aluminum