2

Aerospace materials: past, present and future

2.1 Introduction

The development of new materials and better utilisation of existing materials has been central to the advancement of aerospace engineering. Advances in the structural performance, safety, fuel economy, speed, range and operating life of aircraft has been reliant on improvements to the airframe and engine materials. Aircraft materials have changed greatly in terms of mechanical performance, durability, functionality and quality since the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903. Furthermore, the criteria which are used to select materials for aircraft have also changed over the past 100 years. Figure 2.1 presents a timeline for the approximate years when new criteria ...

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