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The aerospace industry has benefitted for many years from using high-performance sand-cast and forged magnesium alloys to produce critical components.
Magnesium alloys are extensively used for a range of helicopter transmission casings. Elektron®21, the latest high performance casting alloy, has achieved Aerospace Material Specification AMS 4429 and is the first magnesium alloy ever to achieve full MMPDS (MIL-HNDBK-V) design handbook entry, including statistical A & B values and elevated temperature information. For applications operating up to 200oC (392oF), engineers have more options resulting in Elektron® 21 being specified on aircraft such the Boeing Apache and Agusta Westland AW169.
Elektron®RZ5 (ZE41) is an alloy specified for applications operating up to 150°C due to its excellent castability and good mechanical properties. It is specified on many helicopters including the Agusta Westland AW101, NH Industries NH90, Airbus Helicopters AS332 Super Puma. For superior mechanical properties and durability that enables longer intervals between overhauls and improved corrosion performance, Elektron®WE43 has been selected as the material of choice for many helicopter programmes including the MD500, Airbus Helicopter EC120 and NH Industries NH90.
In the aero-engine industry, magnesium alloys are being used successfully in both civil and military aircraft. Civil applications include intermediate casings for the Rolls Royce RB183 Tay engines and gearboxes (Elektron®RZ5/ZE41 and Elektron MSR-B), as well as these other Rolls Royce engines: RB211 (Elektron®ZRE1/EZ33), RB44 Tay (Elektron®ZRE1/EZ33) and BR710 (Elektron®RZ5/ZE41).
Military aircraft—including the F-16, Tornado GR4 and Eurofighter Typhoon – benefit from lightweight magnesium-alloy transmission casings. For example, performance of the new Pratt and Whitney F119 gearbox on the Lockheed F-22 Raptor fighter is improved by the excellent high-strength properties of Elektron®WE43.