When the first airplane took flight, it was mainly a wood and cloth affair – and you can be certain that aluminum did not figure prominently in its construction. However, as the aircraft industry became more advanced, it became clear that aluminum had attributes that would make it a great material for all kinds of aircraft parts, most particularly being light, strong and corrosion resistant. Different alloys have different qualities that make them particularly useful for the aircraft industry, especially in plate form.
Aluminum 2024 and 2124
These alloys are preferred for their machinability, but their corrosion resistance is only fair. The 2024 alloy is often used for aircraft skin and cowls. The 2124 alloy is a more pure form of 2024 and it is tougher and stronger. In the aircraft industry, plates made of 2124 tend to be used for structural elements as well as smaller fixtures and fittings.
If you need an aluminum plate that can operate in a wide temperature range, 2219 is the alloy to consider. It can be used effectively in temperatures from –450 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. It is very tough and resistant to fracture as well as corrosion and stress cracking. In aircraft and spacecraft, it is used for structural components, fuel tanks and aircraft skins.
Aluminum 6061 is a good “steel substitute.” It is as strong as some mild alloys of steel and it also features excellent corrosion resistance and ability to be welded and finished. Its machinability is also good. It is often used to make aircraft landing mats. Outside of the aerospace industry, this alloy is used to make tool and jig plate, traffic signs and storage tanks.
This alloy is often used to make thicker plates to take advantage of its higher strength. It can be welded by the resistance method only. It is a general-purpose plate material in the aircraft industry that might be used for structural elements or other objects that do not require precision machining or extensive working.
Aluminum 7075, 7175 and 7475
This family of aluminum alloys is known for extreme strength with fair workability and corrosion resistance. Aluminum plate made from these alloys might be used to make aircraft skins, cowls or structural elements.
Howard Precision Metals offers aluminum plate in many different alloys to help you with aircraft construction or any other application that could benefit from a light, strong, corrosion-resistant building material. Visit howardprecision.com to view the wide range of aluminum products available.