G. Deacon, Civil Engineer, B.E(Bachelor of Engineering), Trenton, New Jersey
Answered Dec 11, 2019
The best materials for making aircraft are lightweight materials. Aluminum is a perfect example; aluminum is strong, and at the same time, it is a lightweight metal. Modern airplanes are built using this type of material. The various properties of aluminum are the reasons why most airplanes are being built with aluminum. Aluminum can be shaped, drawn, rolled very easily without breaking. Aluminum is impermeable, and it has the ability to resist corrosion. The material that was used for the first passenger airplane is aluminum.
Other metals like steel can also be used to build aircraft, but steel is a heavy metal compared to aluminum. Titanium can also be used, although it is still a heavy metal compared to aluminum, it is lighter than steel, and it can resist corrosion. For instance, Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, which is the fastest aircraft, is a product of titanium. It will interest you to know that wood and fabric can also be used to make airplanes.
Most aircraft are made from aluminum. Aluminum is a very strong yet lightweight metal. It is the 3rd most abundant element of the Earth’s crust. This makes aluminum the perfect material for the construction of aircraft.
In the early days, wood was used in making aircraft. Wood is also strong and lightweight, but it required lots of maintenance.
Other metals used in the construction of aircraft are titanium and steel. These two metals are as strong as aluminum but heavier.
Steel is often used to make certain components such as landing gear, which requires strength and hardness.
Titanium, although expensive, resist corrosion more than steel and aluminum. Modern aircraft have greater use of this material.
In summary, aluminum is the most used material in making an aircraft because it is strong and at the same time, lightweight.
Most airplanes today are made out of aluminum, a strong, yet lightweight metal. The first passenger plane, the Ford Tri-Motor from 1928, was made out of the material. It was considered to be lightweight, inexpensive, and state-of-the-art. In fact, as much as 70% of an aircraft was once made of aluminum. The modern Boeing 747 is an aluminum airplane as well.
Other metals, like steel and titanium, are sometimes used to build aircraft. However, steeel is heavy, therefore, not too much of it is used. Titanium is almost as strong as steel, has a medium weight, is heat resistant, and is corrosion resistant. The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the world’s fastest jet-propelled aircraft, is made of titanium.
Composite materials such as graphite-epoxy are strong, but can weigh half as much as aluminum. These lightweight, customizable materials are becoming more popular. More than half of the materials used to make the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are composites.