boeingbus
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Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 12:37 am

Why Aluminum-lithium For The A350?

Wed Nov 02, 2005 1:44 am

I have always been curious as to why Airbus chose to go with Aluminum-lithium for the body structure of the new and upcoming A350 and not GLARE or composites.

Found this quote:
http://www.e-composites.com/frontend/newspage.aspx?sno=1245

"Boeing told the company that aluminum still needed to lose some weight. Chicago-based Boeing announced plans to use more carbon fiber and other composite materials in place of aluminum on its new 250-seat 7E7 jetliner."

Question, why is this material that is rejected by Boeing but yet it is embraced by Airbus as being advanced? Not that everything Boeing decides is correct but... I wonder if Airbus is making a 5 billion gamble by not besting or at least meeting competitor in terms of weight savings.

I also question, the idea that Aluminum-lithium could be even considered advanced as Airbus advertises. After performing several searches on this Aluminum-lithium material I have come to the conclusion that this material is not so new nor is it advanced as it's currently being used on the 747-400 and the 777, which is a technology from the mid 80's developed in conjunction by Boeing and Alcoa. Indirectly, Boeing's research is helping Airbus with the A350.

hmm, things that make you think of how just how small this world is.
Airbus or Boeing - it's all good to me!
 
NoUFO
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RE: Why Aluminum-lithium For The A350?

Wed Nov 02, 2005 1:55 am

Airbus considered using GLARE for the A350, but from what I know, GLARE is expensive to produce and it may not be economically wise to use it on comparatively small areas. That said, I have always had the impression that GLARE, which still contains aluminium, is merely sort of an interims solution until newer composite materials are developed.
I support the right to arm bears
 
tomcat
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Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2000 4:14 am

RE: Why Aluminum-lithium For The A350?

Wed Nov 02, 2005 3:01 am

Aluminum-lithium has a slightly lower density than the usual aluminum (+/- 5% lower) and has very good fatigue properties, a must in many aerospace structural applications. It's main problem is it's cost, either to buy it or in the production process later on. So you've to use it in applications where you can make the best use of it's properties to justify the cost of using it.

I've never really dealt so far with Al-Li but I guess if you intend to make a more intensive use of Al-Li you can re-organize your manufacturing processes in a way that your factory will have more acceptance of Al-Li (for instance: concentrate Al-Li on selected machining centers that implies a minimum volume of production and so on...), hence minimizing the production cost impact.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Why Aluminum-lithium For The A350?

Wed Nov 02, 2005 3:07 am

I wonder what corrosion issues it will have in future.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
boeingbus
Posts: 1509
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 12:37 am

RE: Why Aluminum-lithium For The A350?

Wed Nov 02, 2005 3:17 am

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 3):
I wonder what corrosion issues it will have in future.

This has been tested on the 744 and 777. Boeing/Alcoa has used/tested this material in the past 20 years or so. So it's almost a guarantee it will be successful product when it comes to durability and corrosion. AIrbus coming out with idea its Advanced material is pure marketing.

Again, I maybe asking a very difficult question or maybe its obvious.... Maybe, it's just for an interim solution - who knows. With all the data from Boeing, I would have imagine Airbus would have gone with composites. Money is always an issue for all.

Thanks... but I'm hoping for more tidbits of info on the impact of this new material and whether it will meet expectations., etc...

Of course, size of the A350 comes to play but I dont think it will be the only saviour for Airbus.
Airbus or Boeing - it's all good to me!
 
atmx2000
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RE: Why Aluminum-lithium For The A350?

Wed Nov 02, 2005 3:45 am

Airbus market research has shown that a significant percentage of the passengers and crew on flights in Airbus aircraft suffer from manic episodes . Thus Airbus is introducing more lithium into the aircraft environment to treat this problem.  Wink

Seriously, I think AlLi is used because it allows A330 parts to be recast in a new lighter metal alloy, without significant reengineering and redesign of the aircraft structure like a composite fuselage might require.
ConcordeBoy is a twin supremacist!! He supports quadicide!!
 
Areopagus
Posts: 1327
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2001 12:31 pm

RE: Why Aluminum-lithium For The A350?

Wed Nov 02, 2005 3:50 am

By changing alloys, Airbus can reuse the design and manufacturing process without much change. Redoing in composites would involve a lot more redesign work and a different manufacturing process.

Why not use glare? Probably because the metal alloy can be laser- or friction-stir welded. I am a little puzzled, though, by the reports that they will use fsw on the 350, when they recently developed the art of laser welding for the 318 and are spreading its use to the other products.

How are glare panels attached -- by rivets, or adhesives?
 
PlaneDane
Posts: 347
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 3:08 am

RE: Why Aluminum-lithium For The A350?

Wed Nov 02, 2005 3:54 am

Quoting BoeingBus (Thread starter):
I have always been curious as to why Airbus chose to go with Aluminum-lithium for the body structure of the new and upcoming A350 and not GLARE or composites.

My speculation is that the time and cost of developing comparable composite technologies to what Boeing, the Japanese and Italians have come up with is just too much for Airbus to consider at this point. Also, going to a composite fuselage and a more fully composite wing would obsolete many existing facilities and workers throughout Europe.

So, while the weight savings from alloy with Lithium in it is very small, it is better than nothing and better than trying GLARE again.

Remember, this is just my opinion.

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