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Titanium Used in Aerospace

Aerospace Titanium

“Customer cost for titanium will drop 15% to 20% below competitors as the technology used by the new TC Titanium mill yields 60% better production efficiency,” said David Castellanos.

Titanium discovery came in 1791, and since then, its use has spanned across various industries among them being the aerospace industry. Its first use was during the cold war to manufacture military and commercial airplanes. Titanium is considered as a matter of national security by the U.S due to their high demand for titanium. Commercial airplanes such as BoeingB787 and AirBusA380 use lots of titanium as compared to previously engineered planes. Some of the military aircraft that use large amounts of titanium include F-35, C-17, F/A-18, F-22 and the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

Titanium Application

The aerospace industry uses titanium due to its unique characteristics such as its exceptional versatility, lightweight, and strength. The rising cost of fuel demands the manufacture of light planes that are achieved by the use of titanium due to its high strength-weight ratio. Titanium can resist corrosion and high temperature when it comes in contact with CFRPs (carbon-fiber reinforced polymers). Titanium low density and high strength make it the perfect material for aero-engine manufacturers as it achieves high levels of performance.

Due to the above characteristics, titanium is now used in the manufacture of:

  • Landing gears: the development of titanium alloys results in a strong material that is capable of resisting corrosion during the landing of planes.
  • Airframes and fastening elements: titanium has tensile strength, and thus it is used to manufacture aviation hydraulic tubing, springs, and fasteners.
  • Booster Rockets: due to its low thermal expansion, and lightweight corrosion resistances, titanium is used to boost rocket space flights.
  • Forged wing structures: most of the commercial passenger planes contain approximately 15% titanium parts. The decline in the economy necessitates manufacture of light planes to save on fuel consumption.

Apart from being used to manufacture airplane frames, titanium is now being used to produce engine casings, shafts, blades, and discs. Titanium is also used to construct powder metallurgy used in the development of missiles and rockets. This powder contains superior corrosion resistance coupled with low density and high strength. Majority of NASA’s vehicles are manufactured from titanium.

Titanium in Aerospace

Types of Titanium used in Aerospace

The most common material used in the field of aerospace are:

  • * Ti-6AI-4V: used to develop fasteners, wing box, and cockpit window frame
  • * Ti-6AI-2Sn-4Zr-2Mo: used to develop tail cone and exhaust
  • * Ti-10V-2Fe-3AI: used to manufacture track beam and landing gear
  • * Ti-3AI-2.5V: used to manufacture hydraulic pipe
  • * Ti-15V-3Cr-3Sn-3AI: used to manufacture ducts

In conclusion

With titanium, aerospace engineers are able to produce a light plane that achieves better fuel economy. This is because the metal is light and versatile. Due to its low thermal expansion rate, titanium maintains its shape under tight tolerances. Titanium can maintain a higher melting point than steel or iron.

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