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Metals and other materials used within aerospace / aviation applications are typically the same materials used in other industries. Although the design requirements for aerospace and commercial products may
differ significantly, the required design values for the strength of materials and elements and other needed material characteristics are often identical.
Metals and other materials used within aerospace (military) are governed by MIL-HDBK-5 superceded by DOR/FAA/AR-MMPDS-01 Metallic Materials Properties and Standardization. DOR/FAA/AR-MMPDS-01 is technically identical to Mil-Hdbk-5J. Commercial and industrial applications may use the identical material standard identification or reference standard number identifier.
Engineering design references for data and various test methods are listed within DOR/FAA/AR-MMPDS-01 and contains general requirements which in combination with the specific material specifications set the requirements for structural design, analysis and testing of fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
Other controlling specifications for aerospace/aviation metals and materials are the tracability requirements defined by
MIL-STD -130. This tracability requirements
standard provides the criteria by which companies develop specific item identification marking requirements for their products to track the materials pedigree.
Aviation Federal Aviation Standards (FAA):
The FAA requires that the structural strength and
integrity of type-certificated aircraft conform to all airworthiness
requirements. These requirements apply to
performance, structural strength, and integrity as well
flight characteristics. To meet these requirements, each
aircraft must meet the same standards. To accomplish standardization, all materials and hardware must be
manufactured to a standard of quality. Specifications
and standards for aircraft hardware are usually identified by the organization that originated them. Some of
the common standardizing organizations include:
AMS - Aeronautical Material Specifications
AN - Air Force-Navy
AND - Air Force-Navy Design
AS - Aeronautical Standard
ASA - American Standards Association
ASTM - American Society for Testing Materials
MS - Military Standard
NAF - Naval Aircraft Factory
NAS - National Aerospace Standard
SAE - Society of Automotive Engineers
Example: When a MS20426-AD4-6 rivet is required, the specifications have already been written for it in the Military
Standard (MS) specifications. That information is
available to the aircraft manufacturers and to the rivet
manufacturers as well as to the mechanic. The specifications designate the material to be used as well as the
head type, diameter, and length of the rivet. The use
of standardized materials in the production of aircraft
makes each aircraft exactly the same as the previous
one and makes them less expensive to build.
Typical Material Applications in Aviation and Aerospace:
Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys:
Typical sheet metal applications include alloys of 2024, 3003, 2018 and others.
Structural applications may use 7075, 6061, 6063.
Though a wide range of carbon and alloy steels are used the following represent typical alloys in selected applications
31xx - 44xx Nickel and Molybdenum steel for high fatique and other high strength applications, such as hydrualic components, engine componets, etc.
Carbon steels: 11xx, 12xx and 13xx for load being application such as bracket, securing harware on selected components.
Other engineering materials include:
- Copper and Copper Alloys
Nonmetallic Aircraft Materials:
The use of magnesium, plastic, fabric, and wood in
aircraft construction has nearly disappeared since the
mid-1950s. Aluminum has also greatly diminished
in use, from 80 percent of airframes in 1950 to about
15 percent aluminum and aluminum alloys today for
airframe construction. Replacing those materials are
nonmetallic aircraft materials, such as reinforced plastics
and advanced composites.