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July 5, 2007

Alcoa Wins Prestigious R&D Award for New Lightweight, High Strength, Damage-Tolerant Alloy

NEW YORK--Alcoa (NYSE:AA) announced today that a team of its research scientists and engineers has received an R&D 100 Award for the development of a new generation of aluminum-lithium alloys for the aerospace industry. The R&D 100 Awards are given annually in recognition of the world's most significant technological innovations.

"Alcoa's investment in science and technology has historically set our company apart," said Dr. Mohammad A. Zaidi, executive vice president, Market Strategy, Technology & Quality. "I congratulate our dedicated team for a job well done. Alcoa's investment and commitment to research and development, spurred by the needs of our customers, has enabled our innovative technical community to bring to highly-valued new products and processes to the marketplace."

Alcoa has received more than one dozen R&D 100 awards throughout the years. The award-winning product, aluminum alloy 2099, has characteristics that have played a pivotal role in helping the aerospace industry meet the increasingly stringent mission requirements for structural efficiency, weight-reduction, sustainability and cost.

Since its commercial arrival in 2006, aluminum alloy 2099 products are creating significant benefits for aerospace industry stakeholders, our environment, and air travelers by:
  • enabling increased fuel efficiency and producing less CO2 emissions;
  • reducing the cost of ownership and use; and
  • improving the durability, reliability, and safety performance of aircraft.

The commercialization of aluminum alloy 2099 required coordination between Alcoa’s global technology organization and Alcoa’s production facilities to meet aggressive customer timelines, demonstrating Alcoa’s ability to take technology from the lab through operating plants to deliver a product to the customer.

Widely recognized by industry, government and academia as a mark of excellence for the most innovative ideas of the year, the R&D 100 Awards are the only industry-wide competition for practical applications of science. The award-winning technologies and products are selected by the editors of R&D Magazine and a panel of outside experts. Awards are based on each achievement’s technical significance, uniqueness and usefulness compared to competing projects and technologies. Past winners include the automated teller machine (1973), the fax machine (1975), the Nicoderm antismoking patch (1992), and HDTV (1998). This year's winners will be recognized in the September issue of R&D Magazine and during a ceremony in October.

Aluminum Alloy 2099 Extruded Shapes and Plate

Aluminum alloy 2099 extruded shapes and plate products reduce weight because of the alloy's lower density and improved mechanical properties. The weight of aircraft floor beams and seat tracks made from 2099-T83 extrusions, lower wing stringers made from 2099-T8E67 extrusions, and aircraft components made from 2099-T8E77 plate is 7-17% lighter than the alloys/products conventionally used in these applications. The lower weight translates into highly desirable reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Aluminum alloy 2099 also improves reliability, as the expected lifetime of aircraft components made from aluminum alloy 2099 extruded shapes and plate products is 1.5 to 3 times higher than the alloys/products conventionally used. By controlling and refining the composition, temper, and microstructure, aluminum alloy 2099 product exhibits improved resistance to corrosion and crack propagation. Because aircraft parts made from 2099 extruded-shape and plate products are more reliable, they can withstand more fatigue damage and last longer than parts made with other alloys. These improvements in durability and damage tolerance - which are measured by resistance to the growth of fatigue-induced cracks, fracture toughness, and resistance to stress corrosion cracking - ultimately produce an aircraft that is safer and less costly to maintain.

About Alcoa Technology

Alcoa’s global technology organization is comprised of thousands of scientists, engineers and researchers around the world dedicated to discovering and developing the next-generation of Alcoa products, processes and services. Alcoa’s scientific community is connected globally to research centers and universities in Russia, China, India, Europe and the United States. Founded on the innovative spirit of Charles Martin Hall and his patent that sparked the entire aluminum industry, Alcoa has more than 2,600 active patents today. The company also owns the world’s largest light metals research and development center. Alcoa annually invests approximately 1% of its revenues in R&D, which is helping to build a foundation for Alcoa’s future.

About Alcoa

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) is the world's leading producer and manager of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina facilities, and is active in all major aspects of the industry. Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa's businesses to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components including flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, Alcoa also markets Alcoa® wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment castings, structures and building systems. The company has 122,000 employees in 44 countries and has been named one of the top most sustainable corporations in the world at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More information can be found at