As planes become lighter and more composites come onto the market, what’s the upshot for the metals industry? We talked to Ametek Specialty Metal Products.

Brian Mercer of Ametek’s Specialty Metal Products told FINN: “For us, it’s an opportunity more than a challenge. The reality is that aircraft and aircraft engines are becoming lighter and more efficient.

“Engines becoming more efficient means hotter, and hotter at some point is always going to mean a specialised high-temperature metal – quite often a nickel alloy.”

“On the airframe side, where they still have hydraulic systems, there’s always the discussion about ‘fly by wire’ but the reality is there’s always going to be hydraulic systems where metals provide the assurance and back-up quality you need. In that sense, titanium is a material that’s here for the future” because of its strength to weight ratio, he said.

New materials

With these trends in mind, Ametek’s R&D efforts are focused on making next-generation alloys thinner and stronger.

Mercer added: “Or, how do we actually evolve the alloy so we have a new alloy in itself which can provide weight savings combined with mechanical strength?”

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter