The University of Southampton
Engineering and the Environment

Research project: High strength aluminium alloys for aerospace applications

Currently Active: 

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.

Project Overview

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 Alcan, Alcoa, Airbus 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 sensitivvity, fatigue and toughness analysis, of the many of the major aerospace Al alloy systems as well as welds.

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.

Related research groups

Engineering Materials


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