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Magnesium Elektron welcomes new standard on use of magnesium in commercial aircraft seats

Commercial Aircraft Seats | Magnesium Elektron

SWINTON, England–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Magnesium Elektron, a global leader in the development of magnesium alloys for aerospace applications and a division of specialty materials company Luxfer Holdings PLC (NYSE:LXFR), has welcomed the publication of a new design standard recording the removal of a long-standing regulatory ban on the use of magnesium alloys in commercial aircraft seats.

Magnesium Elektron has led an intensive eight-year effort to get to this point with the objective of making modern lightweight magnesium alloys available to aircraft seat designers and manufacturers. Two years ago the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allowed the use of certain magnesium alloys under “special conditions,” but it has taken until now for the design standard to be formally revised.

“Magnesium alloys may be used in aircraft seat construction provided they are tested to and meet the flammability performance requirements in the FAA Fire Safety Branch document: Aircraft Materials Fire Test Handbook – DOT/FAA/AR-00/12, Chapter 25, Oil Burner Flammability Test for Magnesium Alloy Seat Structure.”

On Aug. 14, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), which develops standards for both the automotive and aviation industries, published SAE AS8049 Revision C, in which a key statement that had previously read “Magnesium alloys shall not be used” was changed to this new wording: “Magnesium alloys may be used in aircraft seat construction provided they are tested to and meet the flammability performance requirements in the FAA Fire Safety Branch document: Aircraft Materials Fire Test Handbook – DOT/FAA/AR-00/12, Chapter 25, Oil Burner Flammability Test for Magnesium Alloy Seat Structure.”

Elektron® 43 and Elektron® 21 are the only magnesium alloys that have already met the cited performance requirements by passing extensive flammability tests conducted by the FAA, including seven full-scale aircraft interior tests (for the complete test report, see http://www.fire.tc.faa.gov/pdf/AR11-13.pdf). Developed specifically for demanding aerospace applications, these alloys are high-performance materials that are designed to withstand high temperatures and be resistant to corrosion. Both alloys have proven, long-term performance records, including critical applications in jet engines and military aircraft.

“Our years of hard work have finally paid off,” said Bruce Gwynne, Magnesium Elektron vice president of divisional strategic development. “This new standard is a major landmark for the aircraft seating industry. Given the ongoing need to improve airliner fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions, aircraft seat designers are now able to capitalize on the lightweight characteristics of our advanced Elektron magnesium alloys, which offer weight savings of between 15 and 20 percent over aluminum in an equivalent metallic component that will meet all the strength and safety requirements for the application.”