The Aerospace industry has unique needs for materials. Many applications call for metals which are strong, light, and capable of withstanding a great deal of pressure. Corrosion is a real problem in the atmosphere and space and nickel alloys are some of the best materials for the job. In fact, many companies today use nickel superalloys like 718 with AMS 5662 and ASTM B637 specifications. Why is nickel such a good fit for aircraft, spacecraft, and many military applications? Here are some reasons to check out.
Nickel is ductile and does not deform easily. It’s also very hard and durable. However, pure nickel is rare, and it’s almost always alloyed with other metals to make it usable for many applications. Nickel (along with chromium) is an important ingredient in stainless steel. It’s used in batteries and many items you see around the house. Nickel alloy is also used to make durable pipes.
Nickel and Aerospace
When you need a tough structural material, nickel alloy is hard to beat. For example, the stress of repeated take-offs and landings cause a great deal of wear to most metals. Nickel alloy (especially 718 AMS 5662) is well up to the task. In fact, spacecraft may experience temperatures not far from absolute zero, and most metals become extremely brittle at this point. Spacecraft entering the atmosphere face extreme heat from friction and special metals like superalloys can handle the task. Materials near jet engine exhaust get extremely hot, and many metals would melt, but not nickel-based superalloys.
Nickel alloy has other desirable properties too. It’s highly resistant to oxidation, so corrosion is not a problem. It’s magnetic and a good conductor of electricity. Thanks to materials like 718 AMS 5662, air transportation is safer and more efficient, and space exploration is possible.