The wrought aluminum aerospace alloys such as 7075, 7050, 7055 and 2024, attain their high-performance properties because unlike castings, wrought products such as sheet, plate, extrusions and forgings are heavily worked and typically contain little or no defects. Moreover, the thermal mechanical processing and aging treatments are optimized to provide high strength and repeatable ancillary properties that are design drivers: bearing strength, fatigue, fatigue crack growth rate, fracture toughness, corrosion and stress corrosion cracking.
The downside, in terms of production cost, for wrought products in aerospace structures is the fact that the delivered wrought product form must be extensively machined to achieve the geometry of the final part; the part itself is a highly engineered component designed to minimize weight while withstanding the loads of operation. CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining typically removes as much as 90% of the material, thereby requiring that 10 pounds of alloy be purchased to produce a one-pound part or a 10:1 buy-to-fly ratio. Simply put, this results in nine pounds of cutout scrap and machine chips.
LSA has coordinated the segregation of specific alloys, the modification of scrap into usable input material and provided high-quality scrap input for new melts of advanced aerospace alloys. Moreover, we are now working to recycle high cost/high performance aluminum-lithium alloys that are in high demand to reduce the overall weight of aircraft and launch vehicles. Coincidentally, the highest volume alloys are the silver-containing variants that Mr. Tack helped develop early in his career as a project manager for Lockheed-Martin. Working with a small team of engineers, the original alloy inventors and producer Reynolds Metals, the initial alloy 2195 was used to reduce the weight of the External Tank of the Space Shuttle by 8000 pounds.