duralumin

duralumin

[doo-ral-yuh-min, dyoo-]
duralumin, alloy of aluminum (over 90%) with copper (about 4%), magnesium (0.5%-1%), and manganese (less than l%). Before a final heat treatment the alloy is ductile and malleable; after heat treatment a reaction between the aluminum and magnesium produces increased hardness and tensile strength. Because of its lightness and other desirable physical properties, duralumin is widely used in the aircraft industry.
Duralumin (also called duraluminum, duraluminium or dural) is the trade name of one of the earliest types of age-hardenable aluminium alloys. The main alloying constituents are copper, manganese and magnesium. A commonly used modern equivalent of this alloy type is AA2024, which contains (in wt.%) 4.4% copper, 1.5% magnesium and 0.6% manganese. Typical yield strength is 450 MPa, with variations depending on the composition and temper.

Duralumin was developed by the German metallurgist Alfred Wilm at Dürener Metallwerke Aktien Gesellschaft. In 1903, Wilm discovered that after quenching, an aluminium alloy containing 4% Cu would slowly harden when left at room temperature for several days. Further improvements led to the introduction of Duralumin in 1909. The name is obsolete today, and mainly used in popular science to describe the Al-Cu alloy system, or 2000 series as designated by the Aluminum Association

Its first use was rigid airship frames. Its composition and heat-treatment were a wartime secret. With this new rip-resistant mixture, duralumin quickly spread throughout the aircraft industry in the early 1930s, where it was well suited to the new monocoque construction techniques that were being introduced at the same time. Duralumin also is popular for use in precision tools such as levels because of its light weight and strength.

Although the addition of copper improves strength, it also makes these alloys susceptible to corrosion. For sheet products, corrosion resistance can be greatly enhanced by metallurgical bonding of a high-purity aluminium surface layer. These sheets are referred to as alclad, and are commonly used by the aircraft industry.

Applications

List of typical uses for the wrought Al-Cu alloys:

  • 2011: Wire, rod, and bar for screw machine products. Applications where good machinability and good strength are required.
  • 2014: Heavy-duty forgings, plate, and extrusions for aircraft fittings, wheels, and major structural components, space booster tankage and structure, truck frame and suspension components. Applications requiring high strength and hardness including service at elevated temperatures.
  • 2024: Aircraft structures, rivets, hardware, truck wheels, screw machine products, and other miscellaneous structural applications.
  • 2036: Sheet for auto body panels.
  • 2048: Sheet and plate in structural components for aerospace application and military equipment.
  • 2141: Plate in thicknesses of 40 to 150 mm (1.5 to 6.0 in.) for aircraft structures.
  • 2218: Forgings; aircraft and diesel engine pistons; aircraft engine cylinder heads; jet engine impellers and compressor rings.
  • 2219: Welded space booster oxidizer and fuel tanks, supersonic aircraft skin and structure components. Readily weldable and useful for applications over temperature range of -270 to 300 °C (-450 to 600 °F). Has high fracture toughness, and the T8 temper is highly resistant to stress-corrosion cracking.
  • 2618: Die and hand forgings. Pistons and rotating aircraft engine parts for operation at elevated temperatures. Tire molds.

References

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