justloveplanes
Topic Author
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Would Aluminum Barrels Make Sense?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:15 am

Wondering if a new Al alloy comes along that on balance exceeds Composites as the fuselage material of choice for future airliners, what impact that will have for Boeing and Airbus.

Would Boeing want to stick with prestuffed barrels for assembly reasons? Are Al Barrels a good idea? The essentially make huge barrels for submarines out of welded panels.

What about large panels Airbus style?
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Would Aluminum Barrels Make Sense?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:29 am

Quoting justloveplanes (Thread starter):

Wondering if a new Al alloy comes along that on balance exceeds Composites as the fuselage material of choice for future airliners, what impact that will have for Boeing and Airbus.

I think Alcoa is marketing/spinning pretty hard by saying they exceed composites "on balance". They're physically incapable of being as good in fatigue or corrosion as composites and, for fuselage, those are your two biggest problems.

Quoting justloveplanes (Thread starter):
Would Boeing want to stick with prestuffed barrels for assembly reasons?

I think so...FAL's are expensive. Anything you can do away from the FAL is a good thing for assembly.

Quoting justloveplanes (Thread starter):
Are Al Barrels a good idea?

Only if you're willing to accept welded aluminum structure.

Quoting justloveplanes (Thread starter):
The essentially make huge barrels for submarines out of welded panels.

True, but submarines live primarily in compression (I think...astuteman?). Getting good fatigue (i.e. tension) performance out of welds has proven fairly tricky in the past.

Quoting justloveplanes (Thread starter):
What about large panels Airbus style?

Better than small panels for assembly but much more expensive...since aluminum construction is a cut-away, rather than build-up, process the price goes up quickly with larger final pieces since you need even larger starting pieces. The buy-to-fly ratio on aluminum can be 10:1 or worse.

Tom.
 
rcair1
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RE: Would Aluminum Barrels Make Sense?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:55 pm

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 1):
True, but submarines live primarily in compression (I think...astuteman?). Getting good fatigue (i.e. tension) performance out of welds has proven fairly tricky in the past.

I'm not astuteman - but yes - submarines live in compression - the pressure outside the hull is greater than the pressure inside. Oh - I'm sure you can over-pressure a sub at the surface, but not by much and not normally. And, no, they do not pressurize a sub hull when you dive - at least to any meaningful amount. (unlike a diving bell which does pressurize). If they did, a sub would have to follow decompression procedures when surfacing - just like a diver - or the crew would get the bends.

This is exactly opposite of an aircraft where the pressure inside is greater than outside.

This is one reason that one airport movie where the aircraft ends up underwater and 'holds' is so stupid. There ain't no way an aircraft fuselage would survive even a tiny amount of exterior pressure. It would crush like a paper bag. In firefighting, we use a rough guide of 2ft elevation per psi. That is not quite right - it is really ~85% of that - but a fire hose has pumping loss so that guide works.

An aircraft under 30 feet of water would have ~13psi - or 1872 lbs force per square foot (or for those metric folks - at 19m the aircraft would have 9100kg/sq meter)

Plus - the strength of the sub hull is far more than an aircraft. If you pretended that an aircraft could fly to vacuum and hold cabin pressure at sea level - the pressure on the aircraft fuselage would be about 10300 kg/sq meter. A sub at just over 30 feet has that much pressure.
rcair1
 
PolymerPlane
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RE: Would Aluminum Barrels Make Sense?

Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:37 am

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 1):
Only if you're willing to accept welded aluminum structure.

Also, because of the aluminum fatigue, the small panels are also helpful in limiting the fatigue skin failure. I remember watching the story about the Aloha flight, and small panels were designed to not let the propagation of skin tear. So, I don't know if large panel is even feasible.
One day there will be 100% polymer plane
 
Max Q
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RE: Would Aluminum Barrels Make Sense?

Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:52 am

No, but Aluminium ones might..
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
justloveplanes
Topic Author
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RE: Would Aluminum Barrels Make Sense?

Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:55 am

Thought I would revisit this thread for the 779 and see if there was anything new to add. I.E., what are aluminum alloy makers saying vis-a-vis composite now, what about Al barrels with the latest developments.
 
RussianJet
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RE: Would Aluminum Barrels Make Sense?

Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:20 am

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 1):
since aluminum construction is a cut-away, rather than build-up, process the price goes up quickly with larger final pieces since you need even larger starting pieces. The buy-to-fly ratio on aluminum can be 10:1 or worse.

Crikey, I'd never considered how much excess that would necessitate. It sounds like a horrendous amount, but surely the remainders are not completely lost in value. Metal is metal, one can always sell it. The losses might be hefty, but perhaps not quite as catastrophic as the headline principle suggests.
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