The Boeing Dreamliner 787, the world's largest commercial aircraft. China has developed a new aluminum lithium alloy to support the production of large aircraft. (File photo/Xinhua)
Aluminum Corporation of China has announced that the company has successfully developed the new third generation model of 540mm aluminum lithium alloy round ingots, used in large airplanes.
The move presents a breakthrough of China's Al-Li alloy field which has been long dominated by other countries, and signals a new era for China's aerospace technology, the company said.
The development of aluminum alloy materials for large aircraft is also an important area of China's 12th five-year plan.
"Aluminum Corporation has been putting efforts into the R&D of aluminum alloys for China's aerospace industry over the last few years. R&D into aluminum alloys has become a burden on the company but we never gave up," the Shanghai-based First Financial Daily quoted one of the company's senior managers as saying.
Jia Mingxing, general secretary of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, said that the Chinese government should encourage automobile manufacturers to use more aluminum in their production lines.
He Weijiang, a material analyst at Central China Securities, said the density of aluminum is only 30% that of steel, and the weight of vehicles can be reduced by 10% if the body is made of aluminum.
In addition, the density of magnesium is only two-thirds that of aluminum and less than a quarter that of steel. The use of magnesium and aluminum in vehicles in China is far lower than that in the developed countries, even lower the global average standard.
Furthermore, China should promote its titanium processing technology, He said. Only 9.7% of the country's titanium was used in the aerospace industry, compared to the figure of 48% globally. There is lots of room for the use of titanium in China as the country is stepping up the domestic production of large aircraft.