Featured Image Caption: Aircraft Left Wing
Flights of fancy are made possible by the materials used to construct airplanes. While much of what goes into aviation technology is proprietary, some common materials are widely used in aircraft construction.
The most common material for airframes is aluminum, thanks to its lightweight, malleability, and corrosion resistance. Aluminum alloys are created for strength and durability, making them ideal for aircraft production. They are also used for various components like landing gear, engine housings, and propellers.
Silicone is a synthetic rubber polymer that has good flexibility and durability properties. It’s used extensively in aircraft construction as a sealant between parts and engine parts, fuel tanks, and other components. Silicone is also used to coat a plane’s exterior to make it more resistant to the elements and reduce drag. HT-800 silicone, in particular, is commonly used in aircraft construction due to its superior resistance to temperature extremes and chemical wear.
Titanium is a lightweight yet strong metal that is well-suited for aircraft construction. It can make components such as landing gear, engine components, and fuselage. It is corrosion-resistant and highly durable, allowing it to stand up against extreme temperatures, pressures, and environmental stressors. Titanium is also a heat-resistant metal, which can absorb and dissipate heat from engine exhausts. However, its high cost means that other metals are typically used in place of titanium, even though it offers superior performance.
Steel is a common material used in the production of commercial aircraft. It offers strength and durability while being relatively lightweight. The alloy steel used in aircraft production must be carefully treated to ensure that it is corrosion-resistant and has the desired strength. Steel is often used in aircraft components such as landing gear, fuel tanks, and fuselage.
Carbon fiber is a composite material made from carbon fibers woven together to form a fabric, then combined with resin to form strong and lightweight components. Carbon fiber is used extensively in modern aircraft, from the fuselage exterior to the interior components. When using carbon fiber in aircraft construction, the fabric must be carefully designed to minimize weight while still being rigid and strong enough for flight.
Fiberglass is a strong, lightweight material composed of thin strands of glass and resin. It is used as an alternative to aluminum in the outer panels of some aircraft. Since the material is strong and lightweight, it can reduce fuel costs. Fiberglass is also highly durable and resistant to corrosion, meaning that it can stand up to the elements and last for many years.
Nylon, a synthetic plastic polymer, is commonly found in aircraft parts such as propeller blades, fan blades, cowlings, and other components. Nylon is heat-resistant and highly durable, making it an excellent choice for aircraft parts that are exposed to high temperatures and need to withstand extreme forces. It is also lightweight, which helps to reduce the overall weight of the airplane.
Kevlar is a strong, light material made from aramid fibers. It has a high resistance to heat and impact, making it ideal for airplane construction. Kevlar-reinforced composites are used to make the body of the plane and its wing structures, as well as for certain parts of the tail and other components. Kevlar can make fire-resistant seat cushions, cabin linings, and other interior parts.
Polyurethane is a synthetic material with excellent properties for use in aircraft construction. It is strong, flexible, and lightweight, making it an ideal material for constructing plane bodies and wings. Polyurethane can be easily shaped and molded to fit any design, allowing various designs and customizations. Polyurethane is also resistant to water damage, making it beneficial for planes exposed to high humidity levels.
Polycarbonate is a thermoplastic material that is strong, lightweight, and resistant to environmental stressors. It can make aircraft windows, hatches, and even fuselage components. Polycarbonate is an excellent choice for aircraft because it can withstand high-stress levels and has excellent optical clarity.
Each of the materials discussed above plays an important role in making airplanes strong, lightweight, and resilient. Airplane designers must carefully consider the properties of each material to ensure they are selecting the best option for their specific application. Using a combination of materials, engineers can create a strong and safe vehicle capable of withstanding the forces of flight.
By Maggie Bloom
– graduated from Utah Valley University with a degree in communication and writing. In her spare time, she loves to dance, read, and bake. She also enjoys traveling and scouting out new brunch locations.
Member since November, 2021
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