Tag: Aluminum in Aviation

Aluminum in Transportation: Automotive, Aviation, Rail Systems

Aluminum In Transportation Automotive, Aviation, Rail Systems

What are the applications of aluminum in the transportation system?

  1. Aviation and aerospace
  2. Automotive
  3. Rail


From simple aluminum by One Sky to the most intricate designs of aircraft specialists. Wherever we go, we’ll always come into contact with aluminum or aluminum made products. Aluminum has played a vital role in the development of our transportation systems.

From aircrafts to trains, aluminum is the preferred material to boost overall efficiency and safety. The use of aluminum has been one of the best solutions for improved transportation. Throughout history, we have been searching for the best materials for transportation innovations.


Aviation and Aerospace

Aviation And Aerospace

Aluminum and aviation have had a long history and it has been the best choice of material to use for aircraft. Prior to using any form of metal in airplanes, wood was used to build the first airplane. It was only until the late 30s to early 40s when aluminum became the number 1 material for aircraft construction. But before the 30s and 40s, German aircraft designer Hugo Junkers built the world’s first full metal airplane in 1917. He used an aluminum alloy known as duralumin.

With the rapid development of aviation technology, the goal of aircraft composition remains the same, build lightweight aircrafts that can carry heavy loads in the air. This goal was made possible with the use of aluminum and the improvements of aluminum alloys that engineers currently develop. Today’s aircrafts are composed of almost 80% aluminum. Aviation technology has stretched the development of aluminum by leaps and bounds, with alloys that have the strength and resilience that is comparable to steel and yet only weighing a third of steel mass equivalents.

Aircrafts are typically made of 7075 aluminum alloy sheets or pressed panels that are held together by rivets. Though composite materials are said to be the future of aircraft design, aluminum is still the best choice of aircraft designers due to the cost and recyclability of aluminum. And in terms of safety, aluminum still has the advantage over composites. Aluminum is not only prominent in aircrafts but in space crafts as well. Many modern space crafts are composed of 60%-90% aluminum.



Unlike the aviation industry, aluminum use in automobiles isn’t as widely used. Though we are seeing a higher demand for aluminum use in vehicles. This is due to the rising attention for better fuel economy and increased vehicular performance. In 2014, 2.87 million tons of aluminum was used in the production of vehicles around the world. Every gram of aluminum used in the production of a vehicle in replacement of steel reduces the overall weight of a vehicle.

Replacing steel for aluminum, you can shave more than 40% of a vehicle’s weight. A lighter car can perform better than a heavier car. With the advancements of aluminum technology, almost every component of is made of aluminum alloy; the radiator, body panels, engine block, cylinder head, engine internals, transmission, and even suspension components. The first aluminum car ever built was the Durkopp sports car, constructed in 1899. What was once a premium material for vehicles is quickly becoming available in economy vehicles.

Aluminum is also amazing at absorbing impact and distributing shock. It’s much better at absorbing impact compared to steel. When aluminum deforms or bends, the area of impact will be localized while the rest of the body will retain its shape. This improves an aluminum constructed vehicle’s overall safety.




The incorporation of aluminum in rail transport can be traced back to 1894, when John Pierpont Morgan, owner of a rail company started producing lightweight passenger seats made of aluminum for trains. Then in 1931, the first all-aluminum freight car was made. This has boosted the rolling efficiency of freight cars by miles.

In modern times, aluminum freights are used to transport coal, minerals, and various resources via the rail system. Aluminum rail carts are a third lighter than their steel counterparts. This allows them to carry heavier loads and resist corrosion. There are aluminum freight carts that have been in service for over 40 years. With proper maintenance, these carts can still perform like brand new.

High-speed trains make use of aluminum because it is easy to form and manipulate. Allowing train designers to create truly aerodynamic shapes. The malleability of aluminum allows designers to work maximum flexibility and free play with minimal protruding parts or awkward sections and reduce the bends in rails to reduce resistance from friction.


Key Takeaway

Aluminum has greatly improved the technology of the world’s transportation systems. These advances allow our vehicles to achieve better safety, efficiency, and improved performance. But the developments don’t stop here, aluminum is still being widely used and is still in the process of evolution. For any of your aluminum needs, you can click here to view One Sky aluminum products and services.

The History of Aluminum in Aircraft

The History Of Aluminum In Aircrafts

What was the history of aluminum in aircraft?

  1. The First Airplane
  2. World War I
  3. The Golden Age of Flight
  4. World War II
  5. Modern Era


Unbeknownst to many, aluminum is still being used and regarded as the best material for aircraft production. Usually, aluminum is known as a material that is used for cars, bikes, and other household materials.

Aluminum profile suppliers in the Philippines help create aluminum frames for various uses. Companies such as One Sky in the Philippines, provide aluminum as raw materials. But not many know that aluminum is king in the production of aircraft. Let’s take a brief look at how they were used throughout the course of airplane history.


The First Airplane

In 1903, the first airplane to ever take to the sky was created by the Wright brothers. Their aircraft design was primarily made up of wood. The fuselage, wings, and tail were all crafted from wood.

The only thing that was made from aluminum was its engine block. This was done to shed some weight due to the low power delivery of modern automobile engines of the time. The special aluminum block the Wright brothers created had increased the power to weight ratio of their wooden framed aircraft which was enough for it to take flight.

At the time, aluminum was extremely expensive and it was not widely produced as it is today. The Wright brothers had to make use of spruce wood and bamboo to keep the weight as light as possible and strong enough to carry some load.


World War I

World War I

It wasn’t until World War I when aircrafts started to use metal as a vital component, specifically on December 12, 1915. German aircraft designer Hugo Junkers built the first ever full metal aircraft, the J1 monoplane. At the time, everyone disliked the idea of using metal as a main component for aircraft as they thought of them as “too heavy” and impossible to take flight. But the men behind the creation of the J1 had to process 0.1 to 0.1 millimeters of steel sheets in order to achieve the desired weight needed to fly. In 1917, Hugo Junkers changed the landscape of aircraft design with his great innovation of incorporating the use of aluminum in building the fuselage of his new J7 aircraft.


The 1920s

The 1920s was the start of the Golden Age of Flight. It was the era when Americans and Europeans began competing in airplane racing. People were crazy about aircraft during the 20s until the next decade. These lead aircraft designers to stretch the edge of aerodynamics in aircraft performance. The 20s saw the extinction of the production of biplanes and the popularization of monoplanes. The more streamlined design made a transition from all metal frames to the use of aluminum alloys and other lightweight metals.

Aircraft was used for racing, breaking world distance and speed records, business travel, and exploration. The Golden Age of Flight also saw dozens of aircraft innovations. From Henry Ford’s 4-AT Tri-Motor to the Lockheed Sirius, the 20s to the 30s saw the dawn of streamlined aircraft, aircraft with multiple engines, retracting landing gear, stressed-skin aluminum construction, and variable-pitch propellers.


World War II

World War Ii

From 1939 to 1945, the demand for aluminum greatly increased for various military applications, mainly for the production of aircraft. This soaring demand for aluminum brought about around 296,000 U.S. aircraft produced. In 1942, American radio station WOR-NYC broadcasted a radio show called “Aluminum for Defense” to encourage Americans to contribute aluminum scraps to help in the country’s war efforts. They would offer free movie tickets in exchange for aluminum.

This was a time when aircraft technology took a rapid evolution. Most aircraft engines were supercharged and designs were sleeker than ever before. This resulted in planes that reached speeds previously unchartered by pilots. An increase of firepower and various armaments were equipped to many of the fighter, bomber, and reconnaissance planes. The greatest planes of the time that took to the skies were the iconic German BF109, British Spitfire, and the American P-51 Mustang.

The British, American, and German military started experimenting with a totally new powertrain for these aircrafts to gain a significant advantage on the sky. Jet-powered technology was on its way during World War 2. On August 27, 1940, the Germans have developed the first jet-powered aircraft, the Heinkel He 178. The radical new design had planes with no propellers and a more air-cutting slipstreamed design. These new jet-powered aircraft still made use of aluminum alloys as the main component of their fuselage.


Modern Era

Aluminum became a key component in the construction of aircraft. After the war, the availability of aluminum increased. The composition of aluminum alloys has improved, leading to better aircraft developments. Today, 80% of what a modern aircraft is composed of is aluminum.

Due to its light weight, ability to carry heavy loads, malleability, and corrosion resistance, it is still the ideal aircraft material. Many commercial planes make use of an aluminum fuselage, wing, flaps, rudder, and engine turbine.


Key Takeaway

Aluminum has been very important for the development of aircraft and aviation as a whole. Today, we have an abundance of the materials and you can find tons of aluminum profile suppliers in the Philippines and companies such as One Sky Philippines, that provide aluminum for various uses.

Aircraft manufacturers can turn to their suppliers to develop the latest aircraft. There is no longer a scarcity and high-cost to this amazing metal. The rich history of these machines could not have been possible without the use of aluminum.