New Aluminum Structural Materials for the 1980's

by William F. Bates, Jr., (M.ASCE), Engr.; Advanced Structures Dept. Staff, Lockheed-Georgia Co., Marietta, Ga.,

Serial Information: Transportation Engineering Journal of ASCE, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 6, Pg. 845-853

Document Type: Journal Paper


These new materials are the result of recent innovations in powder metallurgy technology and materials engineering. New production processes have been developed to compact powdered aluminum into billets which can be extruded, forged, or rolled into aluminum mill products. These new aluminum powder metals are also being mechanically alloyed and reinforced with whiskers and fibers to produce very unique structural properties. These new materials are generally superior in quality and corrosion resistance to conventional ingot aluminum mill products. Fiber-reinforced aluminum materials are being produced that are stronger and stiffer than steel, yet they weigh only 1/3 as much as steel. This paper summarizes these recent developments for: (1)Aluminum powder metal products; (2)aluminum whisker composite products; and (3)aluminum fiber composite products. A brief description of the production processes for each of these products is given, and some typical material properties are shown for specific products. Estimated future production volumes and prices of these materials are also examined.

Subject Headings: Fiber reinforced composites | Aluminum (material) | Construction materials | Steel fibers | Materials processing | Innovation | Mechanical properties | Structural behavior

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