Recent developments in advanced aircraft aluminium alloys

Tolga Dursun, Costas Soutis

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Aluminium alloys have been the primary material for the structural parts of aircraft for more than 80. years because of their well known performance, well established design methods, manufacturing and reliable inspection techniques. Nearly for a decade composites have started to be used more widely in large commercial jet airliners for the fuselage, wing as well as other structural components in place of aluminium alloys due their high specific properties, reduced weight, fatigue performance and corrosion resistance. Although the increased use of composite materials reduced the role of aluminium up to some extent, high strength aluminium alloys remain important in airframe construction. Aluminium is a relatively low cost, light weight metal that can be heat treated and loaded to relatively high level of stresses, and it is one of the most easily produced of the high performance materials, which results in lower manufacturing and maintenance costs. There have been important recent advances in aluminium aircraft alloys that can effectively compete with modern composite materials. This study covers latest developments in enhanced mechanical properties of aluminium alloys, and high performance joining techniques. The mechanical properties on newly developed 2000, 7000 series aluminium alloys and new generation Al-Li alloys are compared with the traditional aluminium alloys. The advantages and disadvantages of the joining methods, laser beam welding and friction stir welding, are also discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)862-871
    Number of pages10
    JournalMaterials and Design
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • Aircraft structures
    • Al-Li alloys
    • Aluminium alloys
    • Composites
    • Mechanical properties


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