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Airbus-Alcoa Deal - Consequences For Airbus Models  
User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4409 posts, RR: 2
Posted (3 years 6 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 5082 times:

I searched very long, but did not find anything here on something that could be as important to civil aviation as the usage of composites or the new generation engines.

Reference: http://www.miningweekly.com/article/...uminum-deal-with-airbus-2011-06-24

In short summary, Airbus and Alcoa have signed a contract in Paris that Alcoa will deliver its new AlLi and Airbus will use it on its planes.

Fair usage of the two last sentences:

"Alcoa's new aluminum- or aluminum-lithium based alloys and advanced structural technologies use sheet, plate, forgings and hard alloy extrusion products across aircraft structures, including airplane wings and fuselage elements.

The company says aircraft made from these materials can weigh up to 10 percent less than composite-intensive ones and allow for a 12 percent increase in fuel efficiency, on top of the 15 percent already gained from more efficient jet engines."

So what we see here is something that can give a boost in efficiency beyond the NEO discussion, of same magnitude, using existing lines and production methods. The article states that Airbus is going to use these materials on all aircraft families.

So If I add these 12% to the 15% saving of the A320 NEO, we get a 27% efficiency increase, which is a comfortable pole postition the 797 is aiming for.

Explicitely the article states it will be used on the A380, where a weight reduction of 20 tons would allow all dreams of range increase or stretching.

For the A350s, I already pointed out that the A358 and A3510 now are being designed around these new materials.

Is this the fresh blood needed to refresh the A330? If the A332 can be made lighter than the 788 is, it makes sense to hang new engines below it and to keep it in production for another 20 years. And with A320, A350 and A380 sold out for half a decade at least, I have no doubt it would sell very very well.

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineparapente From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 1664 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (3 years 6 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4906 times:

Nice post Burkhard.

AlLi Alloy has been in development for a long time.No doubt a difficult Al alloy to get right.The idea has been around since the 777 but has been hard to get right.It appears that it now is.

It appears that the new material can be "swapped in" for existing Al alloy products.As you say it will therefore be very useful on all aircraft.All meaning Boeing and anybody else. As you say it will/should definately help in furthering the weight loss on the 380 - but of course there is a fair amount of carbon on this aircraft and a whole lot more on aircraft such as the 350/787.

But yes the 320 and the 330 are Al planes so clearly weight savings can be made (don't know the comparitive cost of this new alloy vs existing alloys BTW).

But if (for instance) it gave the 321erNEO a further 5% range.Now that would be interesting I would have thought.

Clearly the existing (min change) NEO is now sold out through to 2018 so I suppose this could be the next improvement - perhaps from 2020 to 2025 when the replacement is roughfully due.

As for the 330.It really depends on what A has in mind for this aircraft - if anything. Being a serious shrink the 358 is always going to be heavy other than the longest routes. So perhaps a re engined 330 with this AlLi is possible.

The Gen-x 2B is I believe rated at around 70K thrust which is effectively the same as what is there at present.It has to be tempting I guess.At some time Boeing will have to release just what the performance of the 787 package is.Only then will Airbus know whether it is within reach or not I guess.


User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4409 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (3 years 6 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3923 times:

Quoting parapente (Reply 1):
As for the 330.It really depends on what A has in mind for this aircraft - if anything. Being a serious shrink the 358 is always going to be heavy other than the longest routes. So perhaps a re engined 330 with this AlLi is possible.

The Gen-x 2B is I believe rated at around 70K thrust which is effectively the same as what is there at present.It has to be tempting I guess.At some time Boeing will have to release just what the performance of the 787 package is.Only then will Airbus know whether it is within reach or not I guess.

A significant reduction of OEW would increase the payload especially of the A333 - which often is limited by max landing weight - and as example make an A333F interesting for normal cargo operators.


User currently offlinecv990coronado From South Africa, joined Nov 2007, 360 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 6 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3804 times:
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Could Boeing not use this? Surely it would have great benefits to the 777ER and any 777NG. If that is the case it could work against the 3510 in a strange way.


SSC-707B727 737-741234SP757/762/3/772/WA300/10/319/2/1-342/3/6-880-DAM-VC10 TRD 111 Ju52-DC8/9/10/11-YS11-748-VCV DH4B L
User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4409 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (3 years 6 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3749 times:

Of couse they could use it, and the 737,747 and 777 are natural candidates for it. I didn't hear or read anything that Boeing has signed for the new material and is working on its implementation now. Any news from there would be as exciting as this material revolution.

A 77W equipped with new engines made out of AlLi3 would be fullly competitive against the A35J - as a GenX equipped A332 made out of AlLi might make life hard for the 788.

I think this is not an advantage in the discussion of A vs B - it is a game changer in the game Al vs composites, so it is bad news for the B787 and the CS100/300 .


User currently onlinescbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12897 posts, RR: 46
Reply 5, posted (3 years 6 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3722 times:
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While this is very interesting news, I'm sure I read that, for example, an existing Al panel can't simply be replaced with one made of the newer, lighter material as the whole construction methodology (i.e. frame and fastenings) had to be changed as well?

It will be a while before we know exactly how good these new materials are and how accurate Alcoa's claims for them are.

I have to admit though, it would be pretty amusing if the "game-changing, paradigm-shifting, Earth-shattering" 787 construction methods ended up only ever being used on the 787!  Wow!
Quoting cv990coronado (Reply 3):
Could Boeing not use this? Surely it would have great benefits to the 777ER and any 777NG

Of course. But, as above, I don't believe it's a simple like-for-like swap.



Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana! #44cHAMpion
User currently offlineEPA001 From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 4985 posts, RR: 41
Reply 6, posted (3 years 6 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3676 times:
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Quoting Burkhard (Thread starter):
For the A350s, I already pointed out that the A358 and A3510 now are being designed around these new materials.

Do you have a link about this information. AFAIK the A350 will be mostly CFRP built (> 52% IIRC), but it would be very interesting if Airbus uses the delay on the A350-XWB program on the A358 and A3510 to use these materials in order to further improve the performance. No doubt at a later stage these materials will also be introduced on the A359.  

In a recent thread around here I have read that Boeing is looking at these new materials, but is seems like Airbus is already acting on it. I wonder how much they can incorporate of this material into the A320-NEO design.  .


User currently offlineparapente From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 1664 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (3 years 6 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3622 times:

One thing is certain.Alcoa will not have signed any exclusivity agreement with Airbus !

I think that like so many claims "the devil is in the detail". Is this alloy totally "swap in swap out" with present Al alloys?

How much does it cost?

Where can it be used? etc etc.

Another question (for me) is" when" was it developed?

The 747-8 has not even finished testing yet there was no mention ever of using a new Al alloy. Was this because it was not nearly ready 3 plus years ago. Or did Boeing feel it was not worth it? Who knows.

As ststed so many times the 777 was origonally designed to be built with the first gen AlLi but "microfracturing" issues led it to be dropped quite late in the day.This does/might suggest that it can be "swapped back".

But if it is anything like as good as it is claimed then in theory we should be hearing alot more about it over the next year.

One thing is certail.With the price of oil perminanty over $100 the name of the game is fuel efficiency (and carbon footprint).The 340-600 was stillborn due to it's weight/fuel efficiency.

It looks like Airbus are considering re engining the 330.Now if this material is what they say it would be rather odd if it were not used in such a project.(A330 Lite)

Similarly the same would be true of a year 2020 320NEO "Lite".Built with said material.


User currently offlineMoltenRock From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (3 years 6 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3037 times:

The thing is with this press release and others it doesn't really specify the new alloys that will be used. The very new fuselage replacing alloy S-4 could be part of it, but it isn't clear. Alcoa also refers to its alloys 2099 and 2199 as "new" even though they have been out for a while now, as well as it's "evolving" and new 7xxx series alloys.

Given the less than specific details released about this $1 billion deal, who knows what alloys they really are purchasing. They could simply be step-change fittings, extrusions, etc... to help shave more weight off existing designs. Or perhaps more, who knows?

Here's a quick recap of the Alcoa alloys:

http://www.alcoa.com/aerospace/en/info_page/suite_alloys.asp


User currently offlineJack From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 116 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 6 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2885 times:

Sorry if I missed this above, but how much alloy does $1 billion buy you? Put another way, by value how much of the stuff is in a A320 for example, $5 million, would that be about right, I've no idea. As this is over a lifetime, it doesn't seem that much to me.

User currently offline328JET From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (3 years 6 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2824 times:

The problem i see with introducing new AL materials is the mix of materials used in that aircraft.

It is a bit of a weight distribution problem as the aircraft today is in balance with all different materials used in specific areas.
If you change the weight of only one material (Al) in specific areas you are most probably out of balance as the other areas are not made with lighter materials.


I am not saying it is not possible to use the new Al, but it needs a lot of re-design of the whole existing airplane.


User currently offlinePart147 From Ireland, joined Dec 2008, 532 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 6 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2824 times:

Jack - if you search around the Alcoa website a bit - you'll find this http://www.alcoa.com/recycling/en/info_page/earn_cash_how_much.asp... I'm not interested enough to do the math for you  

Nice development between Airbus and Alcoa! ... It'll be interesting to see what Boeing does too...



It's better to ask a stupid question during training, rather than make a REALLY stupid mistake later on!
User currently offlinePart147 From Ireland, joined Dec 2008, 532 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 6 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2787 times:

Quoting 328JET (Reply 10):
If you change the weight of only one material (Al) in specific areas you are most probably out of balance as the other areas are not made with lighter materials.

That's why it's being introduced bit by bit - "Currently 2090-T83 sheet is being used for aircraft floor bulkhead stiffeners to take advantage of the high strength and lower density to achieve a substantial weight reduction.
Initial uses include wing leading and trailing edges, fuselage bulkhead webs and internal frame- work parts. Alloy 2090 is also being considered for many applications in advanced aircraft including wing structures." from http://www.alcoa.com/mill_products/c...log/pdf/alloy2090-t83techsheet.pdf



It's better to ask a stupid question during training, rather than make a REALLY stupid mistake later on!
User currently offlineEPA001 From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 4985 posts, RR: 41
Reply 13, posted (3 years 6 months 23 hours ago) and read 2571 times:
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Quoting Part147 (Reply 12):
That's why it's being introduced bit by bit

I am sure that when Airbus will introduce these materials, they will do so in a way that the balance of the aircraft is not negatively effected by it. The development and introduction will take time, but will ensure a stream of incremental improvements coming to several (maybe all) airliners Airbus is producing today and in the future.  . They are for sure not sitting on their hands, but looking forward with a imho very healthy vision.


User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4409 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (3 years 6 months 23 hours ago) and read 2506 times:

The price of raw aluminium is 2500 $/ton currently, Lithium 4500 $/ton. So the raw material prices are of low importance compare to the price of an aircraft.
For a billion you get 400 000 tons of aluminium, and if I estimate 20 tons in an A320 you can build 20 000 A320 from it.

Interestingly composites cost 100000$/ton, with optimist estimating 25 000 $/ton by 2020 ( requires new not yet found glues ).


User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 15, posted (3 years 6 months 19 hours ago) and read 2286 times:

Quoting Burkhard (Reply 14):
The price of raw aluminium is 2500 $/ton currently, Lithium 4500 $/ton. So the raw material prices are of low importance compare to the price of an aircraft.
For a billion you get 400 000 tons of aluminium, and if I estimate 20 tons in an A320 you can build 20 000 A320 from it.

You're missing the buy-to-fly ratio (how much material you have to purchase to get one unit of material flying). For aircraft that ratio is appallingly high (10 or 20 to 1, often more). To get 20 tons of flying metal you'll need to purchase 200-400 tons. This is because aviation uses so much substractive manufacturing (primarily machining and chemical milling).

Quoting Burkhard (Reply 14):
Interestingly composites cost 100000$/ton, with optimist estimating 25 000 $/ton by 2020 ( requires new not yet found glues ).

Because composite manufacturing is additive, the buy-to-fly ratio is far lower. When you factor that in composites are still expensive but the gap is nowhere near as large as the raw material cost might suggest.

Tom.


User currently offlinenomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1902 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 6 months 18 hours ago) and read 2154 times:

I'd be intrested in the flammability specs. I've seen lithium/aluminum vehicles go up like they were made of rocket fuel.
One of CFRPs advantages, despite the nitwits who insist it burns like gasoline, is the slower burn through rate in a fire.



Andy Goetsch
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