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Material Selection for

Aerospace Applications
Darren Pyfer, P.E.
Engineering Specialist Senior
October 16, 2001

Agenda
Vought Aircraft Industries Corporate Overview
Material Selection Criteria
Material Types
Material Forms
Examples

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Vought Aircraft Industries


Corporate Overview

Vought Company Overview

Largest Single Supplier of Aerostructures to Boeing:


- Producing More of the
747 Structure Than Any
Other Commercial
Supplier for Boeing

- Producing More of the


- 17 Structure Than Any
C
Other Military Supplier
for Boeing
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Vought Company Overview (cont.)

Largest Single Supplier of Aerostructures to


Gulfstream Aerospace
Designed and Build
Integrated Wing System
for the Gulfstream GV
As a Risk
- sharing Team
Member

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Vought Company Overview (cont.)

Largest Single Supplier of Aerostructures to


Northrop on the B
- 2Stealth Bomber Program
Designed and Built the
Intermediate Wing
Section of the B
- 2
Bomber including the
Engine and Landing
Gear Bays

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Vought Commercial Products

737
747

GV
777

757

CFM56
CF6

GIV
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767

HAWKER 800
CF34
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Vought Military Products

C-17

S-3

F/A-18E/F

F-14

E-8C/JSTARS

E-2C

EA-6B
V-22

Global Hawk

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P-3

T-38

Vought Product Line Summary


Empennage Fuselage Doors
737

747

757

767

777

GV

C-17

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Wings

Nacelle Control
Comp Surfaces

Material Selection Criteria

Static Strength
Material Must Support Ultimate Loads Without
Failure. Material Must Support Limit Loads Without
Permanent Deformation.
Initial Evaluation for Each Component
Usually Aluminum Is the Initial Material Selection
If Aluminum Cannot Support the Applied Load
Within the Size Limitation of the Component,
Higher Strength Materials Must Be Considered
(Titanium or Steel)
If Aluminum Is Too Heavy to Meet the
Performance Requirements, Graphite/Epoxy or
Next Generation Materials Should Be
Considered
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Stiffness
Deformation of Material at Limit Loads Must Not
Interfere With Safe Operation
There Are Cases Where Meeting the Static
Strength Requirement Results in a Component
That Has Unacceptable Deflections
If That Is the Case, The Component Is Said to Be a
Stiffness Design

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Fatigue (Crack Initiation)


The Ability of a Material to Resist Cracking Under
Cyclical Loading
Spectrum Dependant
Stress Concentration Factors
Component Is Limited to a Certain Stress Level
Based on the Required Life of the Airframe
Further Processing May Improve Fatigue
Properties Such As Shot Peening or Cold Working

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Damage Tolerance (Crack Growth)


The Ability of a Material to Resist Crack Propagation
Under Cyclical Loading
Slow Crack Growth Design
Use of Alloys With Increased Fracture Toughness

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Weight
Low Weight Is Critical to Meeting Aircraft
Performance Goals
Materials Are Tailored for Specific Requirements
to Minimize Weight
Materials With Higher Strength to Weight Ratios
Typically Have Higher Acquisition Costs but Lower
Life Cycle Costs (i.e. Lower Fuel Consumption)

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Corrosion
Surface Corrosion
Galvanic Corrosion of Dissimilar Metals (see
Chart)
Surface Treatments
Proper Drainage

Stress Corrosion Cracking


Certain Alloys Are More Susceptible to Stress
Corrosion Cracking (see Chart)
Especially Severe in the Short Transverse Grain
Direction

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Dissimilar Metal Chart

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Stress Corrosion Cracking (SCC) Chart

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Producibility
Commercial Availability
Lead Times
Fabrication Alternatives
Built Up
Machined From Plate
Machined From Forging
Casting

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Cost
Raw Material Cost Comparisons
Aluminum Plate = $2- $3 / lb.
Steel Plate = $5- $10 / lb.
Titanium Plate = $15 - $25 / lb.
Fiberglass/Epoxy Prepreg = $15- $25 / lb.
Graphite/Epoxy Prepreg = $50- $100 / lb.

Detail Fabrication Costs


Assembly Costs
Life Cycle Costs
Cost of Weight (Loss of Payload, Increased Fuel
Consumption)
Cost of Maintenance
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Specialized Requirements
Temperature
Lightning and Static Electricity Dissipation
Erosion and Abrasion
Marine Environment
Impact Resistance
Fire Zones
Electrical Transparency

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Performance vs. Cost Dilemma


Highest Performance For The Lowest Cost Is the
Goal of Every Airplane Material Selection.
Mutually Exclusive
Compromise Is Required
Define the Cost of Weight to the Aircraft

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Material Types

Aluminum
Aluminum Accounts for ~80% of the Structural
Material of Most Commercial and Military Transport
Aircraft

Inexpensive and Easy to Form and Machine


Alloys Are Tailored to Specific Needs
2000 Series Alloys (Aluminum- copper- m
agnesium)
Are Medium to High Strength With Good Fatigue
Resistance but Low Stress Corrosion Cracking
Resistance.
2024
- T3 Is the Yardstick for Fatigue Properties

5000 and 6000 Series Alloys Are Low to Medium


Strength but Easily Welded
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Aluminum (cont.)
7000 Series Alloys (Aluminum-

zinc
- magnesium
copper) Are High Strength With Improved Stress
Corrosion Cracking Resistance but Most Have No
Better Fatigue Properties Than 2000 Series
7050 and 7075 Alloys Are Widely Used
7475 Alloy Provides Higher Fatigue Resistance
Similar to 2024
- T3

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Aluminum Tempers

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Aluminum Tempers (cont.)

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Aluminum Tempers (cont.)

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Aluminum Comparison Chart


Material
2024-T3,
T351,
T42

Typical Application
High Strength Tension Applications. Best
Fracture Toughness/Slow Crack Growth Rate
and Good Fatigue life. Thick Forms Have Low
Short Transverse Properties including Stress
Corrosion Cracking.
2324-T3
8% Improvement In Strength Over 2024-T3 With
Increased Fatigue And Toughness Properties.
7075-T6,
High Strength Compression Applications.
T651, Higher Strength Than 2024-T3, But Lower
T7351 Fracture Toughness. T7351 has Excellent
Stress Corrosion Cracking Resistance and
Better Fracture Toughness Than T6.
7050-T7451 Better Properties Than 7075-T7351 In Thicker
Sections.
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Titanium
Better Strength To Weight Ratio Than Aluminum or
Steel

Typically Comprises ~5% By Weight in Commercial


Aircraft and Up To ~25% By Weight For High
Performance Military Aircraft

Good Corrosion Resistance


Good Temperature Resistance
Good Fatigue And Damage Tolerance Properties In
The Annealed Form

Typical Alloy Is Ti 6Al-

4V Either Annealed or Solution

Treated and Aged

High Cost For Metals


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Steel
Steel May Be Selected When Tensile Strengths
Greater Than Titanium Are Necessary

Steel Is Usually Limited to a Few Highly Loaded


Components Such As Landing Gear

There Are Many Steel Alloys to Choose From (See


Chart); Select the One That Is Tailored for Your
Application.

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Steel (cont.)
Mil-

Hdbk
- 5List of Aerospace Steel Alloys:

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Composite
The Embedding of Small Diameter High Strength High
Modulus Fibers in a Homogeneous Matrix Material

Material Is Orthotropic (Much Stronger in the Fiber


Oriented Directions)

Fibers
Graphite (High Strength, Stiffness)
Fiberglass (Fair Strength, Low Cost, Secondary
Structure)
Kevlar (Damage Tolerant)

Matrix
Epoxy (Primary Matrix Material) to 250 F
Bismaleimide (High Temp Applications) to 350 F
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Material Properties Comparison


Material
2024-T3 Aluminum
7075-T6 Aluminum
6Al-4V Titanium
Annealed
6Al-4V Titanium
Solution Treated and
Aged
15-5PH Stainless
Steel (H1025)
Fiberglass Epoxy
(Unidirectional)
Graphite Epoxy
(Unidirectional)

Ftu
Fty
(ksi) (ksi)
64
47
78
71
134
126

Fcy
(ksi)
39
70
132

E
Density
6
3
(10 psi) (lb/in )
10.5
.101
10.3
.101
16.0
.160

150

140

145

16.0

.160

154

145

152

28.5

.283

80

60

.065

170

140

22

.056

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Next Generation Materials


Aluminum Lithium
GLARE (Fiberglass Reinforced Aluminum)
TiGr (Graphite Reinforced Titanium)
Thermoplastics
Resin Transfer Molding (RTM)
Stitched Resin Fusion Injected (Stitched RFI)

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Mil-Hnbk-5 Overview
Document Contains Design Information On The
Strength Properties of Metallic Materials and
Elements for Aerospace Vehicle Structures. All
Information and Data Contained in This Handbook
Have Been Coordinated With the Air Force, Army,
Navy, Federal Aviation Administration and Industry
Prior to Publication and Are Being Maintained As a
Joint Effort of the Department of Defense and the
Federal Aviation Administration.

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Basis of Properties
Material Property Selection Is Dependant on the
Criticality of the Structural Component
Critical Single Load Path Structure
A Basis (99% Probability of Exceeding)
S Basis (Agency Assured Minimum Value)
Other Primary Structure With Redundant Load
Paths
B Basis (90% Probability of Exceeding)
Without a Test, A or S Basis May Be Required
Secondary Structure
B Basis (90% Probability of Exceeding)

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Grain Direction

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Material Properties (Mil-Hdbk-5) Example


Type

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Material Forms

Sheet
Rolled Flat Metal Thickness Less Than .25
Fuselage Skin
Fuselage Frames
Rib and Spar Webs
Control Surfaces
Pressure Domes

Good Grain Orientation


Many Parts and Fasteners
Fit Problems
Straighten Operations
Shims
Warpage
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Plate
Rolled Flat Metal Thickness Greater Than .25
Wing and Tail Skins
Monolithic Spars and Ribs
Fittings

Unitized Structure; Fewer Fasteners


Grain Orientation Can Be a Problem
High Speed Machining Has Lowered Fab Costs

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Extrusion
Produced By Forcing Metal Through a Forming Die At
Elevated Temperature To Achieve The Desired Shape
Stringers
Rib and Spar Caps
Stiffeners

Grain Is Aligned in The Lengthwise Direction


Additional Forming and Machining Required
Used In Conjunction With Sheet Metal Webs

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Forging
Produced by Impacting or Pressing The Material Into
The Desired Shape
Large Fittings
Large Frames/Ribs
Odd Shapes
Control Grain
Orientation

Residual Stresses
Can Cause
Warpage

Tooling Can Be
Difficult
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Casting
Produced By Pouring Molten Metal Into A Die To
Achieve The Desired Shape
Nacelle/Engine Components
Complex Geometry

Dramatically Lowers Part and Fastener Counts


Poor Fatigue And Damage Tolerance Properties
High Tooling Costs

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Composite
Produced By Laying Fabric, Laying Tape, Winding,
Tow Placement and 3D Weaving or Stitching
Skins
Trailing Edge Surfaces
Interiors and Floors
Properties Can be
Oriented To Load Direction

Excellent Strength To
Weight Ratio

High Cost Of Material and


Processes

Poor Bearing Strength


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Examples

Upper Wing Cover


Skin-

7075
- T651 Aluminum

Plate

Stringers-

7075
- T6511
Aluminum Extrusion

After Machining; Age Creep


Formed To- T7351/- T73511

Compression Dominated
Reduces Compressive Yield
Strength

Greatly Increases Stress


Corrosion Resistance
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Lower Wing Cover


Skin-

2024
- T351 Aluminum

Plate

Tension Dominated
Good Ultimate Tensile
Strength

Very Good Fatigue and


Damage Tolerance Properties

Stringers-

7075
- T73511
Aluminum Extrusion

High Ultimate Tensile Strength


Good Damage Tolerance
Properties
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Spars
7050- T7451 Aluminum Plate
High Tensile and
Compressive Strength in
Thick Sections

Good Stress Corrosion


Resistance

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Fixed Trailing Edge Surface


Graphite/Epoxy Fabric
Aramid/Phenolic
Honeycomb

Fiberglass/Epoxy Fabric
Corrosion Barrier

Secondary Structure
Stiffness Design

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Leading Edge
2024- 0Clad Aluminum
Heat Treated to- T62 After Stretch Forming to Shape
Clad For Corrosion Resistance
Polished For Appearance
De- icing by Hot Air/Bird Strike Resistance

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Landing Gear Support Beam


Titanium 6Al-

4V Annealed

Forging

High Strength and Stiffness


Critical Lug Design
Height is Limited By Wing
Contours

Annealed Form
Is Good For
Fatigue And
Damage
Tolerance
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Wing to Body Attachments


PH13- 8Mo Cres Steel Bar
Critical Lug Design
High Strength
Requirement

Good Corrosion
Resistance

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Flap Tracks
PH13- 8Mo Cres Steel Bar
Geometry Is Very Limited
By Requirement To Be
Internal To The Wing

Results In Very High


Stress Levels

High Stiffness Is Required


To Meet Flutter and Flap
Geometry Criteria

Good Corrosion
Resistance
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