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The metal industry has the ubiquity of two metals with phenomenal performances. The stainless steel and aluminum are gyrating together in various industries. The metals and alloys are described and applied based on strength, malleability, finish, and tolerances. The preferential choice should be engaged with good competence. The efficiency and strength of stainless steel and aluminum are laudable. The applications of two are encircled from house ware to aircraft engineering.

The aviation industry has a tremendous correlation between global routes. The associated accountability has led the scientist into the economy. The aviation industry comprises airlines, aircraft, military aircraft, and research projects. stainless steel and aluminum are used differently in modern aircraft and jets

Aluminum is non-ferritic and abundant metal in the earth’s crust. The aluminum offers ductility, corrosion resistance, and high electrical conductivity. It is also associated with a high strength-to-weight ratio, formability, and recyclability. It is used in innumerable applications like transportation, electrical transmission, food packaging, and power generation.

Stainless steel is a superior alloy of chromium with at least a content of 10.5%. The stainless steel endows many shades of desired properties. It displays excellent corrosion resistance, high and low-temperature strength, welding, forming, and sustainability.


Stainless Steel versus Aluminum (properties)

The stainless steel and aluminum are contending and may look similar, but variant differences across the properties are considerable. The composition is entirely different. Stainless steel outperforms aluminum in the areas of weldability and non-reactivity and aluminum shows high malleability and machinability.


Differences between the various properties of stainless steel and aluminum:

  1. Strength to weight ratio- Aluminum shows a tensile strength of 276 Mpa with a density of 2.81 gm³ and stainless steel has a tensile strength of 505 Mpa with a density of 8 gm³. Aluminum is lighter than stainless steel. On the contrary stainless steel has more strength than aluminum. The strength to weight ratio is better for aluminum than stainless steel.
  2. Corrosion resistance- Stainless steel has alloying of chromium which provides excellent corrosion resistance. The aluminum also has a passivation layer and offers good corrosion resistance.
  3. Strength- Stainless steel has more strength than aluminum.
  4. Heat resistance- Stainless steel has a high scaling temperature whereas aluminum turns soft at high temperature.
  5. Electrical conductivity- Stainless steel is the bad conductor of electricity. Aluminum is a good conductor of electricity and widely used in high voltage power lines.
  6. Cost- The aluminum is quite cheaper than stainless steel.
  7. Reactivity- Aluminum can be reactive with food, but stainless steel is non-reactive in nature and widely used in food processing industries.


Aluminum use in Aviation Industry

Aluminum has a dominant and booming history in the field of aviation. The evolving aircraft designs and technology lead to the progressing of the use of aluminum alloys. The use of aluminum alloys in aerospace engineering applications is an efficient way to move towards technology.

Aluminum has some excellent integral properties which hold its pervasiveness in the aerospace market. It has a high strength-to-weight ratio, better ductility, and corrosion resistance. The aluminum alloys are improved versions of various compositions and properties. Practically, aluminum is used everywhere in the airplane.


Applications of aluminum in the aviation industry

The fuselages, stringers and bulkheads, panels and cover, wing panes, doors and floors, engine turbines, etc are all made up of aluminum alloys.


Grades of aluminum used in the aviation industry

The various aluminum grades used in aircraft as follows

  • 2021-The aluminum is alloyed with copper and is used in fuselage structures and aircraft structures.
  • 3003- It is used in cowls and baffles plating.
  • 5052 – It is used in the manufacturing of fuel tanks.
  • 6061-It can be welded easily and used for wings, landing mats, and general aviation applications.
  • 7050-It is proffered superior corrosion resistance and durability.
  • 7075-It is alloyed with zinc and posses good machinability.
  • 7068-It is the strongest aluminum alloy with a lightweight.


The stainless steel used in the aviation industry

In the aviation industry, Stainless steel can be used for all reasons. It has numerous advantages of ideal alloy. Stainless steel is an amalgamation of iron, chromium, nickel, and manganese. It offers superior corrosion resistance with excellent weldability and machinability. Also, it has good tensile strength, resistant to low and high temperature, ductility, and good impact resistance. Stainless steel is heat and fire-resistant.

The aircraft designing needs a secure material that can accomplish the standard and specification of the aviation industry. The duplex stainless steel alloys offer improves versions which make stainless steel to be optimally safe and durable for aircraft design in long run.


Application of stainless steel in the aviation industry

The many components of aircraft are manufactured with stainless steel alloys.

The fuel tanks, fasteners, engine and exhaust parts, landing gears, landing gear bolts, are made of different stainless steel alloys.


Grades of stainless steel used in the aviation industry

The various stainless steel grades used in aircraft as follows

  • Grade 304- It has 18% chromium and 8 % nickel as alloys.
  • Grade 321- it is alloyed with titanium.
  • Grade 316- its main alloy is molybdenum.
  • Grade 410- it has superior tensile strength.
  • Precipitation Hardening stainless steel grades are used in aircraft.


Stainless steel and Aluminum are creating space according to their niche. The preferential choice should be engaged in with the best fit. Aluminum has dominated the aerospace industry and proven to be successful. But stainless steel is also procuring a valuable fit in the future.

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