Alloys for Aircraft Structures

  • Stefano Gialanella
  • Alessio Malandruccolo
Part of the Topics in Mining, Metallurgy and Materials Engineering book series (TMMME)


This chapter deals with the metallic materials used for structural aircraft components. The main features of fixed-wing aircrafts will be recalled, with a specific focus on the properties and relevant applications of the so-called light alloys. Aluminum and magnesium alloys will be considered, as concerns the main aspects of extraction metallurgy, material processing, and tempers. The applications in aircraft structures will be discussed, also to highlight the development in composition and processing routes that these two classes of alloys have undergone to meet the requirements of the new aircraft structures. In this regard, an important role has been played by laminate composites, using aluminum alloys as metallic component. For these materials too, the main processing steps will be presented, to demonstrate their influence on the mechanical properties of the final products. A separate chapter (Chap.  4) is dedicated to titanium alloys. This choice relies on the fact that, although part of the light alloys group, titanium alloys are used not only for structural parts but also for gas turbine aero-engines.


  1. Aleris Corporation (2015) Aerospace Aluminum A5028 AlMgSc – The Strong Lightweight. Available via DIALOG. Accessed 04 January 2018.
  2. APWORKS (2017) Material Data Sheet – Scalmalloy®. Available via DIALOG. Accessed 04 January 2018
  3. APWORKS (2017) Scalmalloy ®. Available via DIALOG. Accessed 04 January 2018
  4. ASM International (1991) ASM Handbook Vol. 2 – Properties and selection: Nonferrous Alloys and Special-Purpose Materials. ASM International, Materials Park, OhioGoogle Scholar
  5. ASM International (1992) ASM Handbook Vol. 3 – Alloy phase diagrams. ASM International, Materials Park, OhioGoogle Scholar
  6. ASM International (2003) ASM Handbook Vol. 13A – Corrosion: Fundamentals, Testing and Protection. ASM International, Materials Park, OhioGoogle Scholar
  7. ASM International (2015) ASM Subject Guide – Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys. ASM International, Materials Park, OhioGoogle Scholar
  8. Atrens A et al (2015) Review of Recent Developments in the Field of Magnesium Corrosion. Advanced Engineering Materials 17(4): 400–453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Belov et al (2002) Iron in Aluminium Alloys: Impurity and Alloying Element. CRC PressGoogle Scholar
  10. Benedyk J C (2010) International Temper Designation Systems for Wrought Aluminum Alloys: Part II – Thermally Treated (T Temper) Aluminum Alloys. Light Metal Age: 16–22Google Scholar
  11. Blawert C et al (2006) Anodizing Treatments for Magnesium Alloys and Their Effect on Corrosion Resistance in Various Environments. Advanced Engineering Materials 8 (6): 511–533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Boeing (2008) AERO Magazine 06. Available via DIALOG. Accessed 8 October 2017.
  13. Botelho E C et al (2006) A Review on the Development and Properties of Continuous fiber/epoxy/aluminum Hybrid Composites for Aircraft Structures. Materials Research 9 (3): 247–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Botelho E C et al (2007) Influence of Hygrothermal Conditioning on the Elastic Properties of Carall Laminates. Applied Composite Materials 14: 209–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Botelho E C, Da Silva D A, Rexende M C (2009) Hygrothermal Aging Effect on Fatigue Behavior of GLARE. Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composite Materials 28: 2487–2499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Buhl H (1992) Advanced Aerospace Materials. Springer Verlag, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cahn R et al (2005) Structure and Properties of Nonferrous Alloys. Materials Science and Technology 8–9. Wiley & sonsGoogle Scholar
  18. Cardarelli F (2008) Materials Handbook 2nd edn. Springer Verlag, LondonGoogle Scholar
  19. Carter C, Norton M (2007) Ceramic Materials – Science and Engineering. SpringerGoogle Scholar
  20. Czerwinski F (2011) Magnesium Alloys – Design, Processing and Properties. InTechGoogle Scholar
  21. Davis J R (2001) Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys. ASM InternationalGoogle Scholar
  22. Davy H (1808) Electro-Chemical Researches, on the Decomposition of the Earths: With Observations on the Metals Obtained from the Alkaline Earths, and on the Amalgam Procured from Ammonia. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 98: 333–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dieter G E (1988) Mechanical Metallurgy. McGraw HillGoogle Scholar
  24. Djukanovic G (2017) Are Aluminium-Scandium Alloys the Future? Accessed 1 January 2018
  25. Donachie M J (2000) Titanium – A Technical Guide. ASM International, Materials Park, OhioGoogle Scholar
  26. Dziubinska A, Gontarz A (2015) A new method for producing magnesium alloy twin-rib aircraft brackets. Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology: An International Journal 87(2): 180–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Dziubinska A, Gontarz A (2016) A new technology for producing AZ31 magnesium alloy aircraft brackets with a triangular outline. Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology: An International Journal 88(3): 452–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Esmaily M et al (2017) Fundamentals and advances in magnesium alloy corrosion. Progress in Materials Science 89: 92–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Federal Aviation Administration (2012) Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbook-Airframe Volume 1. Federal Aviation AdministrationGoogle Scholar
  30. Filatov Y A et al (2000) New Al-Mg-Sc alloys. Materials Science and Engineering A 280: 97–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gasik M (2013) Handbook of Ferroalloys: Theory and Technology. Butterworth HeinemannGoogle Scholar
  32. Gupta M, Gupta N (2017) The Promise of Magnesium Based Materials in Aerospace Sector. International Journal of Aeronautical Science & Aerospace Research 4 (1):141–149Google Scholar
  33. Gupta M, Gupta N (2017) Utilizing Magnesium based Materials to Reduce Green House Gas Emissions in Aerospace Sector. Aeronautics and Aerospace Open Access Journal 1 (1): 1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gutowski T G (1997) Advanced Composites Manufacturing 1st edn. John Wiley & Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  35. Hagenbeek M, Van Hengel C, Bosker O J, Vermeeren C A J R (2003) Static Properties of Fiber Metal Laminates. Applied Composite Materials 10: 207–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Heinz A et al. (2000) Recent developments in aluminum alloys for aerospace applications. Mat Sci Eng A 280: 102–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Horst F, Mordike B (2006) Magnesium Technology-Metallurgy, Design Data, Applications. Springer Verlag Berlin-HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  38. Hosford W F (2010) Mechanical Behavior of Materials. Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  39. Hull D (1981) An Introduction to Composites Materials. Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  40. Hull D, Bacon J (2011) Introduction to Dislocations. ElsevierGoogle Scholar
  41. Jensen B J et al (2009) Fiber Metal Laminates made by the VARTM process. In: 17th International Conference on Composite Materials, British Composite Society, Edinburgh, 27–31 July 2009Google Scholar
  42. Kaufmann G (2000) Introduction to Aluminum Alloys and Tempers. ASM InternationalGoogle Scholar
  43. Kettner M et al (2007) The InnMag Project – Processing Mg for Civil Aircraft Application. Advanced Engineering Materials 9(9): 813–819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Laliberte J F, Poon C, Straznicky P V(2000) Applications of fiber-metal laminates. Polymer Composites 21: 558–567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lanciotti A, Lazzeri L (2009) Fatigue resistance and residual strength of riveted joints in FML. Fatigue & Fracture of Engineering Materials & Structures 32: 837–846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lequeu P, Lassince P, Warner T (2007) Aluminum alloy development for the Airbus A380-Part 1 & 2. Adv Materials & Processes July: 33–35 & 41–44Google Scholar
  47. Lequeu P, Smith K P, Daniélou A (2010) Aluminium-Copper-Lithium Alloy 20150 Developed for Medium to Thick Plate. Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance 19: 841–847CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lumely R (2011) Fundamentals of Aluminium Metallurgy. Woodhead Publishing LtdGoogle Scholar
  49. Lyon P, Syed I, Heaney S (2007) Elektron 21 – An Aerospace Magnesium Alloy for Sand Cast and Investment Cast Applications. Advanced Engineering Materials 9(9): 793–798CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Magnesium Elektron (2012) Magnesium Alloy Welding Rod Datasheet. Available via DIALOG. Accessed 31 December 2017.
  51. Magnesium Elektron (2014) Elektron ® 675 Datasheet. Available via DIALOG. Accessed 28 November 2017.
  52. Magnesium Elektron (2014) Elektron ® ZREI Datasheet. Available via DIALOG. Accessed 31 December 2017)
  53. Magnesium Elektron (2015) Elektron ® QE22 Datasheet. Available via DIALOG. Accessed 28 November 2017.
  54. Magnesium Elektron (2016) Elektron ® 21 Datasheet. Available via DIALOG. Accessed 28 November 2017.
  55. Marker T R (2013) Evaluating the flammability of various magnesium alloys during laboratory and full-scale aircraft fire tests. US Department of TransportationGoogle Scholar
  56. McCafferty E (2010) Introduction to Corrosion Science. Springer Verlag, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Meyer G (2001) Die (ungleichen) Dydimium-Zwillinge. Chemie in unserer Zeit 35(2):116–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Nature Materials (2016) No Easy Solutions for Aerospace (editorial). Nature Materials 15 (8): 803CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Ostrovsky I, Henn Y (2007) Present state and future of magnesium application in aerospace industry. In: International Conference “New Challenges in Aeronautics” ASTEC’2007, Moscow, 19–22 August 2007Google Scholar
  60. Parker R L (1967) Data of Geochemistry – Composition of the Earth’s crust. US Government Printing OfficeGoogle Scholar
  61. Pekguleryuz M O, Celikin M (2010) Creep resistance in magnesium alloys. International Materials Science Reviews 55: 197–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Pepperhoff W, Acet M (2001) Constitution and Magnetism of Iron and its Alloys. Springer, Berlin HeidelbergCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Perkguleryuz M O, Kainer K U, Arslan Kaya A (2013) Fundamentals of Magnesium Alloy Metallurgy. Woodhead PublishingGoogle Scholar
  64. Polmear I J (2006) Light Alloys – From Traditional Alloys to Nanocrystals, 4th end. Butterworth-HeinemannGoogle Scholar
  65. Polmear I J et al. (2017) Light Alloys – Metallurgy of the Light Metals. Butterworth-HeinemannGoogle Scholar
  66. Porter D, Easterling K E, Sherif M Y (2009) Phase Transformations in Metals and Alloys, 3rd end. CRC PressGoogle Scholar
  67. Prasad E N, Gokhale R, Wanhill R (2014) Aluminum – Lithium Alloys. ElsevierGoogle Scholar
  68. Prasad E N, Wanhill R (2017) Aerospace Materials and Material Technologies. SpringerGoogle Scholar
  69. Rendigs K H (1994) Metallic structures used in aerospace during 25 years and prospects. In: 50 years of Advanced Materials or Back to the Future, Proceedings of the 15th International European Chapter Conference of the Society for the Advance of Material and Process Engineering, Toulouse, 1994Google Scholar
  70. Röyset J, Ryum N (2005) Scandium in Aluminium Alloys. International Materials Reviews 50 (1): 19–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Scandium International Mining Corp (2017) The Aluminum-Scandium Alloy Advantage. Available via DIALOG. Accessed 01 January 2018
  72. Sinmazçelik T et al (2011) A review: Fibre metal laminates, background, bonding types and applied test methods. Materials and Design 32: 3671–3685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Staley J T, Lege D J (1993) Advances in aluminum alloy products for structural applications in transportation. Journal of Physics IV, Colloque C7, 3: 179–190Google Scholar
  74. Starke Jr E A, Sanders Jr T H, Palmer I G (1981) New Approaches to Alloy Development in the Al-Li System. Journal of Materials Aug 1981: 24–33Google Scholar
  75. Starke Jr E A, Staley J T (1996) Application of modern aluminum alloys to aircraft. Progr Aerospace Sci 32: 131–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. The Aluminum Association (2015) International Alloy Designation and Chemical Composition Limits for Wrought Aluminum and Wrought Aluminum Alloys. The Aluminum Association Inc, ArlingtonGoogle Scholar
  77. The CM Group (2012) The Global Mg Industry in 2011 – The Impact of Chinese Production, Costs and Shipments. IMA Annual Conference, San Francisco, 21 May 2012Google Scholar
  78. Thompson G E et al (1999) Anodizing of Aluminium Alloys. Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology 71: 228–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Totten E G, MacKenzie S, Scott D (2003) Handbook of Aluminum Volume 1 – Physical Metallurgy and Processes. Marcel Dekker Inc.Google Scholar
  80. Vermeeren C A J R (2003) An Historic Overview of the Development of Fiber Metal Laminates. Applied Composite Materials 10: 189–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Vlot A, Gunnink J W (2001) Fibre Metal Laminates. Springer–Science+Business MediaGoogle Scholar
  82. Williams J C, Starke Jr E A (2003) Progress in structural materials for aerospace systems. Acta Materialia 51: 5775–5799CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Wu G, Yang J M (2005) The Mechanical Behavior of GLARE Laminates for Aircraft Structures. Journal of Materials 57(1): 72–79Google Scholar
  84. Wu R et al (2015) Recent progress in magnesium-lithium alloys. International Materials Review 60(2):65–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Wulandari W et al (2010) Magnesium: current and alternative production routes. Chemeca: Australasian Conference on Chemical Engineering. Available via DIALOG. Accessed 07 Nov 2017
  86. Xu W et al (2015) A high-specific-strength and corrosion-resistant magnesium alloy. Nature Materials 14: 1229–1237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Zhang J et al. (2013) Experimental study on strengthening of Mg-Li alloy by introducing long-period stacking ordered structure. Scripta Materialia 68: 675–678CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Zhu Y M, Morton A J, Nie J F (2010) The 18R and 14H long-period stacking ordered structures in Mg-Y-Zn alloys. Acta Materialia 58(8): 2936–2947CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Further Reading

  1. ASM International (1999) ASM Specialty Handbook: Magnesium and Magnesium Alloys. ASM International, Materials Park, OhioGoogle Scholar
  2. ASM International (2008) ASM Handbook Vol. 15 – Casting. ASM International, Materials Park OhioGoogle Scholar
  3. Baker et al (2004) Composite Materials for Aircraft Structures 2nd edn. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc.Google Scholar
  4. Davis J R (2001) ASM Specialty Handbook: Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys. ASM International, p 351–416Google Scholar
  5. Rana S, Fangueiro R (2016) Advanced Composite Materials for Aerospace Engineering: Processing, Properties and Applications. Woodhead Publishing LimitedGoogle Scholar
  1. Zhang S, Zhao D (2012) Aerospace Materials Handbook. CRC PressGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefano Gialanella
    • 1
  • Alessio Malandruccolo
    • 2
  1. 1.Industrial Engineering DepartmentUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly
  2. 2.Metallurgy Industrial ConsultantBolzanoItaly

Personalised recommendations