Nickel Alloys For The Aersospace Industry

Using nickel alloys within the aerospace engineering industry is much more important than you might think. In fact, without nickel-based alloys and other metal alloys such as stainless steel, the aerospace industry would not be as safe or as technologically advanced as it is today. 

Nickel-based alloys are vital for high-pressure applications in the aerospace industry for a host of reasons:

  • Excellent mechanical properties
  • Naturally high tensile strength
  • Magnetic properties
  • Ability to withstand high stresses and extremely high temperatures
  • Excellent corrosion and oxidation resistance

Uses for Nickel alloys in the Aerospace Industry

Nickel alloys are the perfect solution for a wide variety of structural applications in the aerospace industry. For example, many parts and assemblies for aircraft engines and gas turbines are composed of nickel alloys. These components must be flawlessly manufactured and able to withstand extremely high temperatures and pressure. A typical jet engine contains about 1.8 tons of nickel-based superalloys.

Nickel-based alloys can be used for more than just jet engines. Common uses include:

  • Aircraft parts and assemblies
  • Pressure vessels
  • Exhaust systems
  • Heat exchangers
  • Bleed air ducts
  • Rocket engines
  • Turbine blades

Common Types of Nickel Alloys

Nickel is a versatile metal in that it will alloy easily with most metals including copper, chromium, iron, and molybdenum. The purpose of nickel alloys is to create a metal that has the desired characteristics of both such as improvised corrosion, oxidation resistance, increased high-temperature performance or lower coefficients of thermal expansion. Common nickel alloys include:

  • Nickel-Molybdenum
    • This alloy is known for its resistance to reducing acids such as ferric or cupic acid. 
  • Nickel-Copper
    • Nickel-Copper alloys are known for being highly resistant to corrosion by alkaline solutions, non-oxidizing salts, and seawater. 
  • Nickel-Iron alloys
    • This alloy is used as soft magnetic materials, as glass to metal seals, and as materials with known thermal expansion properties. They can be found in transformers, inductors, magnetic amplifiers, magnetic shields, and memory storage devices. 
  • Nickel-Titanium
    • The most common combination of nickel and titanium is the 55% nickel-titanium alloy called Nitinol. Known for its shape-memory properties, it is commonly used in medical devices, glasses frames, and shock absorbers. 

What are the Benefits of Using Nickel-Based Alloys for Aerospace Applications?

Creep Resistance

Using nickel superalloys for aerospace and aviation applications provides advantages you won’t get with other alloy metals. Nickel combined with certain metals can create a high-temperature alloy with numerous beneficial properties, like resisting creep and other extreme conditions while offering reliable performance.

Creep is the tendency for individual components within larger systems to move and change position under the wear-and-tear from daily use and constant high pressures. Nickel alloys have extraordinary creep resistance and can also withstand extreme conditions or temperatures.

High Strength and Corrosion Resistance

Nickel alloys also have naturally high strength, which means they can withstand very intense pressure and situations due to the high oxidation resistance and corrosion resistance they possess. This high resistance makes virtually every nickel alloy well-suited for high-pressure operations where strength and durability are of the utmost importance.

Nickel Alloys Are an Integral Part of Aerospace Industries and Applications

It's plain to see how important a nickel-based, high-temperature alloy can be for applications in the aviation, aerospace, and military industries. The beneficial properties of alloys also make them perfectly suited for creating air, land, and marine-based engine parts, gas turbines, and other applications.

At Hi-Tek Manufacturing, we know the importance of using nickel alloys for aerospace applications. Our fully-equipped, state-of-the-art machine shop produces precision CNC-machined components and assemblies for aviation, marine, and land-based applications. We also manufacture engine parts, gas turbines, and a high amount of nickel aerospace alloys. We handle every project with our 40+ years of skill and expertise to produce flawless components that can withstand the high stressors of the aerospace industry. Contact us for a quote today.

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