Titanium and its alloys have been used in the aerospace industry since many years. Commercially produced pure titanium and titanium alloys are globally denominated by the formula Ti-6Al-4V. These are primarily used in the manufacture of engine parts and airframe of the aircraft. Aircraft engines rapidly consume aviation fuel. In order to reduce fuel consumption, the weight of the aircraft and its engine should be low. Therefore, titanium and its alloys are used in aircraft to lower weight and improve fuel efficiency. Commercial manufacturing of aircraft entails highly advanced technology and high quality management practices.
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Commercially available pure titanium is widely used as construction material in aircraft and its parts owing to its property of being light weight. It also offers high tensile & compressive strength and excellent corrosion resistance properties. By using reinforced titanium alloys in aircraft engine and mainframe fuel consumption of the aircraft has been reduced to a great extent which is the major reason for the growing demand of titanium and its alloys in the aerospace industry.
Titanium and its alloys are highly compatible with carbon fiber. Combination of carbon fibers and titanium alloys improves the tensile strength of the aircraft frame and also provides excellent prevention to metal corrosion. Titanium and its alloys also have high thermal coefficient. This provides enhanced stability to the aircraft at high engine temperature from thermal expansion during operations. Titanium alloys are replacing steel-based materials in areas where high strength is required. Titanium alloys provide protection from galvanic corrosion in the joints of the aircraft. These alloys also helps in structure strain elimination which is caused by the differentiating expansion coefficient between different joint materials. Titanium and its alloys are also employed in turbo fan engines, which are widely used in commercial aircraft to lower fuel consumption. Titanium and its alloys provides excellent crack propagation resistance, fatigue strength, corrosion resistance, and fracture toughness. This helps in reducing airframe maintenance costs.
Aerospace grade Ti-6Al-4V alloy typically consists of Vanadium (V) of 4 wt% and aluminum (Al) of 6 wt%. Titanium alloys are superior to aluminum alloys for usage in aircraft engines, as they provide high specific strength. Specific strength of aluminum alloys drops rapidly when the engine temperature exceeds 200?C. For the manufacturing of rotor fan blades and aircraft frame premium industry grade titanium alloys are used such as Ti-17 (Ti-5Al-2Sn-2Zr-4Cr-4Mo) and Ti- 6Al-4V. Other applications of titanium and its alloys are manufacture of gas turbine parts, helicopter rotor blades, medical devices, surgical equipment, and space applications.
Rise in defense and aerospace development activities across the globe provide immense potential for the titanium alloys market. Increase in demand for titanium alloys in the automotive industry is also driving the market around the globe. The market of titanium alloys for aerospace industry is driven by factors such as increase in trade of fighter aircraft, growth in defense deals among countries, expansion in the global aviation industry, technological advancements in the automotive technology, and expansion of space program in various countries around the globe. High prices of titanium and its alloys and lack of infrastructure and technology in emerging economies are the key restraints of the titanium alloys for aerospace industry market.
Currently, North America and Europe lead the global titanium alloys for aerospace industry market in terms of consumption. These regions are followed by Asia Pacific. Technological growth in material science and rapid economic growth in countries in Asia Pacific are expected to provide immense opportunities to the global players in the titanium alloys for aerospace industry market.
Prominent global players that produce titanium alloys for aerospace application are Precision Cast Parts Corporation, ThyssenKrupp AG, Allegheny Technologies, Alcoa Howmet Castings, Outokumpu, Nippon Steel, ATI Metals, Aperam, Haynes International Inc., and VSMPO are the major players operating around the world. Increase in investments for improvement of material strength of aircraft, led by the rise in per capita GDP of countries in Southeast Asia, is anticipated to boost the demand for titanium alloys for the aerospace industry.
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