Benefits When You Maintain It
Advanced alloys being introduced by Alcoa are designed for better damage tolerance, taking protection that has been applied in today’s airliners to even higher levels. Being stronger and more resistant, they ensure slow growth if cracks do occur.
Combining these alloys with Alcoa’s advanced structural concepts – such as selective reinforcements using bonded fiber-metal laminates at frames and stringers – can provide up to 10 times improved damage tolerance when integrated in aircraft wings and fuselage structures.
With Alcoa’s new aluminum solutions, airlines will benefit from the advances in damage tolerance and corrosion resistance – allowing for increased time between inspections and longer service lives for jetliners, while also maintaining all of the proven repair procedures for metallic aircraft that are available at airports around the world.
Significantly enhanced resistance to corrosion is another feature of Alcoa’s portfolio of new solutions, which brings protection that is almost doubled with its third-generation aluminum-lithium alloys.
Other Alcoa innovations are focused on simple, but highly effective, structural health monitoring techniques. This includes aluminum-lithium extrusions that are produced with microcavities to allow the monitoring of crack growth and residual strength using vacuum or pressure. Measurements are made with commercially-available hand-held equipment, and can be teamed with Alcoa’s own connector and repair concepts.
As a result of these technologies, next-generation jetliners will have maintenance inspection intervals double those of aircraft in service today, while their overall useful lifetimes can be extended from current design goals of approximately 20 years to new levels of 30 years or more.