Aluminum-Lithium applications:

Company Application Model Alloy How it's used
Boeing (North American Aviation)Military AircraftA-5 VigilanteAA 2020Wings and horizontal stabalizer
AgustaWestland NV (Westland Helicopters)Military AircraftEH-101AA 8090Airframe
NASASpacecraftAres IAA 2195 & AA 2050Crew launch vehicle - upper stage
Bombardier Commerical AircraftCSeriesAirWare I-Formfuselage
SpaceXSpacecraftFalcon 9AA 2198Second stage rocket
AirbusCommerical AircraftA350-XWBAirWare I-GaugeInner wing structure
AirbusCommerical AircraftA380-800AA 2050-T84Lower wing

Key facts about Aluminum-Lithium alloys:

  • An advanced structural alloy comprised primarily of aluminum and lithium with traces of copper, zinc, manganese, magnesium, zirconium and iron.
  • Lithium, the worlds lightest metal, decreases the weight of aluminum while improving its strength, toughness, corrosion resistance and forming characteristics of the alloy.
  • Early use began with the Al-Li 2020 alloy back in the 1950's by the aerospace industry. Three decades latter, Alcoa introduced the 2090 series. Modern versions of the Al-Li alloy include the 2099, 2195 and the 2199.
  • Commonly used in military aircraft and space vessels including the fuel tank on NASA's space shuttle which enabled it to carry a heavier payload. Modern aircraft manufactures benefit from the Al-Li alloy with typical uses such as wing and fuselage skins and wing stringers. Weight savings result in less fuel consumption and increased flight range.
  • An important material characteristic of the modern Al-Li alloy is the Fatigue Crack Growth (FCG) performance. This allows aircraft designers to use less material for the same level of safety margins when compared to other alternatives such as composites. Al-Li is an attractive option for damage tolerant applications found in the aerospace and military industry.
  • The new Airbus A350 uses a great deal of Al-Li (estimates as high as 20% have been reported) for the wings and fuselage.