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Aeronautical Application of Wrought Magnesium


The aluminium alloys used today for aerospace applications are already optimised as far as aeronautical requirements are concerned, such as strength, fatigue and damage tolerance properties. Magnesium, with a density of only 65% of that of aluminium, could be a breakthrough technology in the aerospace industry if used for cost-efficient, low-weight components and airframe structures. However, to use this low weight material the mechanical and technological properties have to be improved.

Project objectives

The technological objective is a weight reduction of fuselage parts, systems and interior components of up to 35%. The strategic objectives are a 10% increase in the operational capacity, a 10% reduction in direct operating cost and a 10% reduction in the fuel consumption, and therefore a reduced environmental impact with regard to emissions and noise.

Description of the work

The technical focus of the university-driven proposal, AEROMAG, which has been prepared in close collaboration with the Network of Universities ‘EASN’, is the development of new magnesium wrought products (sheets and extrusions), which provide significantly improved static and fatigue strength properties. The strength properties of these innovative materials are required to be as high as AA5083 for non-structural applications and as high as AA2024 for aluminium alloys for secondary structure applications.

At first new alloys will be developed and existing alloys will be tested. Appropriate manufacturing (rolling, extrusion), forming and joining technologies require development, simulation and validation for the innovative material and application. Corrosion is a problem that needs to be solved with the newly adapted and environmentally friendly surface protection systems and advanced design concepts. Flammability will be addressed with the addition of chemical elements and special surface treatments. A further essential task is the development of material models and failure criteria for the prediction of forming processes, plastic deformation and failure behaviour of components. Finally, material-adapted design and the evaluation of structural behaviour will be investigated to close the process and development chain for aeronautic components.

Expected results

Improved magnesium alloys; cost-efficient production routes for sheets and extrusions; a comprehensive material database; improved flammability behaviour; simulation tools and key parameters of forming processes; key parameters and properties of joining processes; environmentally friendly surface protection systems; definition of design rules; structural behaviour of magnesium components; weight specific cost analysis of typical components.