Why Are Steel Alloys Necessary in Aircraft Construction?

One of the main issues that have always confronted aircraft engineers is the use of highly durable materials in the manufacture of planes. Of course, the technology involved has steadily become more advanced over the years. While this is the case, so have the demands that are placed upon the metals and alloys used continued to prove challenging. This is particularly the case in times when heat resistance is a critical component for safety and aerodynamic performances. Therefore, a number of different materials are used to compensate for these risks. One such example can be seen in what is known in the industry as the Inconel 718 bar. So, what makes this bar unique and more importantly, why it is used so much in the aerospace industry?

A Unique Blend

First and foremost, it is important to note that this bar is actually a combination of several different metals. These metals include:

  • Molybdenum

  • Iron

  • Columbium

  • Niobium

  • Aluminium

  • Titanium

So, why would engineers require such an eclectic mixture of different metals? The main answer to this question revolves around the unique mechanical attributes that this alloy offers.

Strengths

The Inconel 718 bar is quite well known for its tensile and impact strength. In other words, it is much stronger than bars made of traditional iron or steel. There are also able to be easily welded to one another; a good benefit when used in complex aerospace components. Finally, this blend is excellent at withstanding varying degrees of heat and cold. It will remain it structural integrity at varying temperatures (these are often times associated with changes in altitude).

These reasons are some of the fundamental core values that allow this type of bar to be popular in aircraft usage. Additionally, this alloy is highly resistant to corrosion.

Uses for the Inconel 718 Bar

Some of the main uses of Inconel 718 bar can be in turbine blades, rocketry components, durable ball bearings and in numerous aircraft-related forgings. These metrics are obviously ideal for airplanes and other such vehicles that are regularly exposed to extremes in temperature, pressure and stress.

While such a material would have been rarely employed but a handful of years ago, this derivative is proving to be extremely popular from a safety and reliability standpoint. Currently, there are numerous online suppliers where such an alloy can be purchased at substantially discounted prices. Additionally, most suppliers will provide made-to-order parts which are designated for very specific uses.

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