The properties of advanced alumimium alloy systems

  • Frank L. Haddleton

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


2XXX and 7XXX series aluminium alloys have been the accepted materials for airframe construction for many decades. However, only minor improvements in properties have been possible by the development of these alloys since the early 1970's. The constant need to reduce weight in aircraft has therefore led to a resurgence in the research for higher performance aluminium alloys.
The reason for this investigation was to evaluate possible alternatives for the existing conventional aluminium alloy 2014 for aircraft wheel applications. Three new technologies in alloy development were considered: a metal matrix composite, an aluminium-lithium
alloy and a powder metallurgical alloy.
The basic mechanical properties of these advanced materials have already been established to an extent, but their fatigue behaviour has yet to be fully understood. The purpose of this work was to investigate the fatigue properties of the materials concerned, in
both air and an aerated 3.5% NaCl solution, and compare these properties to 2014-T6. As well as the basic mechanical properties, fatigue crack propagation data is presented for all of the materials concerned. Additionally, fatigue crack initiation data is presented for the aluminium-lithium alloy and 2014. The D.C. electrical potential method was used to monitor crack growth.
Of the materials investigated, the most promising was the aluminium-lithium alloy. However, short transverse properties need to be increased and the commercial cost of the material needs to be decreased before it can be considered as a direct replacement for 2014 for aircraft structural applications. It was considered that the cost of the powder metallurgical alloy would limit its further use. The metal matrix composite material proved to be unsuitable for most ambient temperature applications
Date of AwardOct 1987
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJ.T. Barnby (Supervisor) & S. Murphy (Supervisor)


  • alumimium alloys
  • metal matrix composites
  • fatigue
  • corrosion fatigue

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