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The University of Southampton

Research project: High strength aluminium alloys for aerospace applications

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Due to their low density and continued improvements in mechanical properties, aluminium alloys have continued to be a key material for aerospace applications. Research at Southampton on these alloys has been led by Profs. Marco J Starink and Ian Sinclair through a series of projects.

Aluminium alloys of the 7xxx (Al-Zn-Mg-Cu), 2x9x (Al-Li), 2xxx (Al-Cu-Mg) and 6xxx classes of alloys are used extensively in aircraft. In collaboration with Airbus, Alcan, Alcoa, Dunlop Aerospace, Cabot Engineering and QinetiQ, these alloys have been studied in a series of projects. The work in Southampton has focussed on microstructure-strength relations, strength modelling, embrittlement, quench sensitivity, fatigue and toughness analysis, encompassing all of the major aerospace Al alloy systems. Also welds have been analysed.

Synchrotron tomography
Synchrotron tomography

Synchrotron tomography images showing initiation of cracks ahead of a crack tip in a T6 Al-6156 aerospace alloy under monotonically increasing load. Arrows indicate main loading direction. Figures a and b represent the same section; in (b) the grain boundaries are revealed by Ga wetting.


Book Chapter

  • Starink, M. J., Wang, S. C., & Sinclair, I. (2005). A model for local proof strength of 2xxx welds. In K. J. Jata, M. W. Mahoney, & R. S. Mishra (Eds.), Friction stir welding and processing III (pp. 223-243). The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society.


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