Why Magnesium

The benefits of Using Magnesium Alloys in Aerospace

Lightest Structural Metal

With a density of 1.8gcm3, by volume magnesium is 30% lighter than aluminium and 75% lighter than steel.

High Specific Stiffness

For bars with equivalent weight and width, magnesium is 18 times stiffer than steel and double that of aluminium.  In practice it is not always possible to increase section thickness to these extents.  But with only small increases in cross section it is not possible to redesign parts that offer 20-25% weight savings over aluminium equivalents and 65-70% weight savings when substituting steel designs.

Versatile

Magnesium alloys for Aircraft Interiors can be shaped into plate by rolling and extruded into both solid and hollow profiles.  These can be further shaped using forging, pressing, bending or simply machining from solid.

Highly Machinable

Magnesium alloys are the easiest of all structural metals to machine.

Advantages include:

  • Low power consumption (45% less than aluminium)
  • Fast machining rate (55%)
  • Excellent surface finish
  • Reduced tool wear
  • Well broken chips

High Strength

Alloys are available that have comparable properties with other structural metals – with the added advantage of superior performance at elevated temperatures (good creep resistance and tensile strength).

EMI/RFI Shielding

Has inherent screening properties, useful for electronic enclosures and has good thermal conductivity for heat dissipation.

Vibration Damping

Magnesium alloys have excellent vibration damping properties.

Corrosion Resistance

Modern alloys have good corrosion resistance.  For more severe environments there are a range of surface passivation and top coat treatments commercially available.