In aerospace industry, it’s clear that weight is a variable everyone want to drive down.
And most efforts in this regards goes to getting newer materials and alloys.
In this light, I am following development of aluminum lithium.
A couple of days back one of my favorite aviation blog had a post on this very material. You can read the full post here.
Here’s an extract on aluminum lithium alloys from the post.
Lower the weight of an airplane by up to 10% vs. composite-intensive planes; Lower the cost to manufacture, operate and repair planes by up to 30% vs. composite-intensive planes, and at significantly lower production risk; Allow for a 12% increase in fuel efficiency, on top of the 15% from new engines; and deliver passenger comfort features equivalent to composite-intensive planes, such as higher cabin pressure, large windows and higher humidity.
If you are interested in this aluminum alloy which is increasing seeing uses in aircraft including the Rafale and space shuttle external tanks, read this PDF report.
And if you are interested in a short history of composites in civil aircraft then click the link below.