Hi, my name is Brooke, and I used to run the HR department in a factory. I filed a lot of injury reports and helped a tragic number of people make claims for workers' compensation or WorkCover. In many cases, the accidents involved convener belts. By seeing what not to do, I really learned what should be done in terms of conveyor safety. I love writing and wanted to convey some good will to the world through a blog – I also love puns. In this space, I plan to post on conveyor belt safety as well as other posts related to a range of industrial equipment. I hope these posts help to protect you and your workers.
The weight of an aeroplane is often a major issue of concern for aircraft manufacturers. This is because the weight of the plane is often directly proportional to its fuel efficiency.
Over the years, aircraft manufacturers have continued to develop practical ways to make lighter (therefore more fuel efficient) planes. As a student aeronautical engineer, you should reasonably expect to work with lighter materials once you're done with school. Here's why.
Magnesium Can Be Used As A Structural Material For Aeroplanes
For a long time, the aviation industry prohibited aircraft manufacturers from using magnesium and many of its alloys as a structural component in the interior of an aeroplane. This is because magnesium is flammable and using it as a structural component might increase the fire hazard within the plane.
However, magnesium alloys can now be used inside aeroplanes on one condition. These alloys have to be tested to ascertain that they meet the minimum requirements for flammability as dictated by regulators of the aviation industry.
Because magnesium alloys had been outlawed, aluminium has been used in the construction of aircraft seats. Aluminium is heavier than magnesium. Thanks to the less stringent regulations, it's likely that aircraft manufacturers will opt to replace the aluminum in aircraft seats with tested magnesium alloys. This is likely to reduce the weight of aeroplanes in future by a significant margin.
The "SRI" Process
SRI international is an American research institute that's working to develop an alternative process for producing titanium. Conventionally, titanium is extracted through the Kroll process. This process involves a number of steps and it's relatively complex. For this reason, titanium is often more expensive than many other metals.
The high cost of titanium might prompt manufacturers to use less of the metal in their aircraft in a bid to cut down on costs.
SRI international hopes to develop an alternative one-step process that will make the production of titanium cheaper. Hopefully, aircraft manufacturers will be able to make lighter jet turbines for plane engines using titanium without running into losses.
Fiber Reinforced Composite Materials
Fiber reinforced composite materials are increasingly being used as structural components on exterior components of aircraft (e.g. the wings). The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is perhaps the best evidence of this with a large portion of its frame made of fiber reinforced composites. The 787 Dreamliner has been touted as the most fuel efficient aircraft from this manufacturer and this is largely attributed to the reduced weight of fiber reinforced composite materials used in its construction.
If this is anything to go by, you can expect to put your engineering knowledge in practice on planes that are pre-dominantly made of fiber reinforced composite materials as opposed to metal.Share