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Materials selection for aerospace components
Chapter · January 2018
DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-08-102131-6.00001-3
4 authors, including:
Jayakrishna Kandasamy
Vishesh Ranjan Kar
VIT University
National Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur
Rajesh M
VIT University
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Materials selection
for aerospace components
Kandasamy Jayakrishna1, Vishesh R. Kar1, Mohamed T.H. Sultan2
and Murugan Rajesh1
VIT University, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India,
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
The aviation and space industry has generally been a pacemaker for improvement
and innovation of new materials frameworks and advances in their creation [1]. The
key driving parameters for aerospace materials improvement are weight reduction,
application-specific needs, and low cost [2]. Utilization of advanced materials has a
critical effect on both practical and natural issues. The significance of materials science and innovation in aeronautic design cannot be overstated. The materials utilized as a part of aerospace structures and automobile applications are basic to the
effective planning, development, accreditation, operation, and maintenance of aircraft. Materials have their impact throughout the entire life cycle of aircraft, starting
from the design phase of their product development to their end-of-life disposal [3].
Materials influence every part of the aircraft, starting with the purchase, up gradation, design, fuel consumption, operational performance, maintenance, safety,
reliability, recycling, disposal, etc. Aerospace materials are defined as structural
materials that carry the loads exerted on the airframe during flight operations
(including taxiing, take-off, cruising, and landing) [4]. Structural materials are
utilized to ensure the safety of aircraft at critical areas such as the wings,
fuselage, empennage, landing gears, tail bottom, rotor blades, the airframes, thermal
insulators, etc.
The key concern of these advanced material developments are material properties, available manufacturing options for material fabrication, and finally cost.
Structural performance in the aerospace sector is predominantly influenced by
mechanical properties such as strength, stiffness, and damage tolerance, as well as
by physical and chemical properties such as density, and corrosion resistance at
ambient and high temperatures [5]. In recent times, life cycle costing has also been
documented as an important tool to assess the economic feasibility of materials.
The prime factors for materials development in the aerospace industries are weight
reduction and increased temperature capability. The significance of weight reduction in aerospace systems is a key factor. Based on a rule of thumb, each pound of
direct weight reduced over a primary structure brings about another pound saved
indirectly in another part of the aircraft [6]. Weight reduction is most efficiently
done by decreasing density using topology optimization studies. Subsequently, the
Sustainable Composites for Aerospace Applications. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-102131-6.00001-3
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Sustainable Composites for Aerospace Applications
use of new materials and new types of structural concepts, particularly the thinwalled type, has dominated. Clearly, from a designer’s perspective, the primary
function of a structure is to transmit forces through space with the minimum possible weight, and lowest cost to the customer. Typically, the job of a designer is to
balance a variety of functional requirements with constraints, to arrive at the optimum choice of structural concept and material selection for a given weight and/or
cost. Several aluminum alloys, titanium alloys, and ceramic materials have been
studied for their aerospace thermal applications. In recent times, hybrid composite
materials have also been focused on producing fire retardant materials [7].
In aerospace applications, material selection is one of the important activities considering design and manufacturing of its components, which is carried out by design
and materials engineers [8]. The importance of material selection is to reduce fuel
consumption without compromising the flight performance [9]. The next important
parameter considered is weight reduction, as it is mandatory to reduce the vehicle
weight and other individual components [10]. Minimization of vehicle mass influences the flying performance and emissions [11]. Researchers suggested various
methods for material selection to choose the appropriate material to avoid damage
in assembly, poor performance, and to avoid significantly reducing efficiency [12].
The process of material selection is highly cumbersome, and it is difficult to
remember the grades of thousands of materials, so they should be in a database to
choose appropriate materials for a particular component. This material selection
should influence the performance of the product or component. In the material
selection field, multicriteria decision-making approach became popular, because
this could generate alternatives, establish criteria, evaluate alternatives, assess criteria weights, and apply a ranking system [13]. Jee and Kang [14] used the decisionmaking theories to evaluate the weight factor of different materials. They developed
a material selection procedure for flywheels, considering fatigue strength as one of
the primary factors for material selection. Milani et al. [15] evaluated the effect
of normalization in multiple attribute decision-making in the process for gear
material selection for power transmission. Fayazbakhsh et al. [16] proposed the
z-transformation method, a mathematical approach for material selection.
Minor errors in material selection could cause fatal structural issues over the aircraft’s fuselage, skeleton, wing, etc. Thus, aerospace material selection should be
based on sound engineering and structural engineering, i.e., material selection for
aerospace applications is based on flying speed, Mach number, and environmental
effect [17]. Material selection of aerospace components should consider the specific
strength (strength-to-weight ratio), ultimate strength, low-velocity impact strength,
fatigue strength, manufacturability, and resistances to creep, crack propagation, corrosion, and exfoliation corrosion [18 20]. Huda and Edi [17] reviewed the material
selection process for supersonic aircraft engines and structures. In their material
selection process, they considered operating and ambient environmental conditions,
Materials selection for aerospace components
and recommended different alloys (aluminum alloys, titanium alloys, superalloys)
and composite materials. Material selection for aerospace is directly related to
Mach number, which defines the aircraft conditions whether under subsonic,
transonic, supersonic, or hypersonic [21]. During flight, air molecules over the aircraft are distributed around the aircraft. When the Mach number is less than one,
the density of air remains constant [22]. At a higher speed, with a Mach number
greater than one, the energy of the aircraft is transferred into the surrounding air
and compressed, which affects the air density. This increases the temperature
around the aircraft structure. So, creep resistance is an important property to consider during material selection. This is the reason why all aircraft (passenger, military) are made of lightweight polymer composites [23]. Lightweight polymer
composites provide high strength-to-weight, reasonable creep strength, and fatigue
and corrosion resistance [24].
Improvement in the tensile strength (B4.5 Gpa) and strain-to-fracture (more
than 2%) of polyacrylonitrile (PAN-based fiber) provides three basic factors: high
modulus (HM, B380 Gpa); intermediate modulus (IM, B290 Gpa); and high
strength (HS, with a modulus of around 230 Gpa and tensile strength of 4.5 Gpa).
This high strength and modulus fiber is known as high strain fiber, which has 2%
strain value before failure. The advantage of this high strength fiber is the response
of tensile stress strain in elastic medium up to failure, and the release of more
energy during fiber failure. Selection of different strength and modulus fiber
depends on the application. For military aircraft, strength and modulus are more
important than in passenger aircraft, which increases the stability and stiffness for
reflector dishes, antennas, and structures [25]. Soutis [26] reviewed the advantage
of fiber-reinforced composites for aerospace applications over other available conventional materials, and found that composite material has high specific strengthto-weight and more stiffness, compared to conventional material, which is more
important for aerospace components. He also suggested that the use of carbon
fiber-reinforced epoxy composite for aerospace applications can reduce the total
weight of aerostructure by 50%, and increase fuel efficiency and flight performance. In 1964, the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, UK, discovered
the advantage of carbon epoxy composites for aerospace application.
In general, fibers are supplied in the form of roving, which contains a number of
strands or bundles of filaments wound into a package up to several meters in length.
Tremendous developments in the field of textile technology influence the development of improved composite materials [27]. Furthermore, to enhance the properties
of the composite material in aerospace applications, different technologies such as
braiding and knitting have been suggested by researchers [28 30]. Weaving, braiding, and knitting technology increase the strength of fiber-reinforced composite by
increasing the elastic properties of the material. In weaving, the orientation of fiber
yarn in the warp and weft direction, yarn twist, the number of stands, influences the
material properties. Other than this, weaving patterns such as plain, basket, twill,
stain, and huckaback, etc., also influence the properties of composite materials
[31,32]. In the case of plain weave, fiber yarn in the warp and weft direction moves
one-to-one. The main disadvantage of plain weave is that the gap between two fiber
Sustainable Composites for Aerospace Applications
yarns is greater, which increases the stress concentration between the gap in the
warp and weft direction [33]. In order to improve the performance of woven composite, a basket weaving pattern has been suggested by the researcher [34]. The
main advantage of basket weave over plain weave is that the gap between two fiber
yarns in the warp and weft direction is very minimal, which reduces the stress concentration while loading [35]. The main aim of braiding and knitting technology is
to enhance the elastic properties of woven fabric, which influences their properties
and is important for aerostructure, as they are subjected to various loading and environmental conditions. Another important parameter to be considered while selecting
the material for aerostructure is vibration behavior, which depends on the natural
frequency of the material selected [36]. In general, metal has high strength with
low damping. At higher temperatures, aerospace structures lose their stiffness
because of internal molecular movement. This affects the overall performance of
the product or component. But, compared to metal, composites have high strength
and a considerable amount of damping properties at environmental temperatures
and under a higher temperature environment [37]. For an aerostructure wing, flexural and buckling strength is important under normal and higher temperature environments. Compared to the composite material, the conventional material has a
lower elastic property, which provides poor resistance against bending and buckling
[38]. In order to improve the bending and buckling behavior of composites for aerospace applications, carbon nanotube has been used as a secondary reinforcement in
the carbon epoxy composite. Mehar et al. [39] conducted vibration analysis of a
functionally graded carbon nanotube reinforced composite plate under a thermal
environment. They inferred that various geometrical parameters, such as aspect
ratios, support conditions, thickness ratios, the grading effect, and the temperature
variation, influenced the natural frequency of the composite plate. Kar et al. [40]
reported on the thermal buckling behavior of shear deformable functionally graded
(FGM) single/doubly curved shell panel. The authors found that FGM constituents
influenced the buckling properties to a greater extent. Chandra et al. [41] reviewed
the damping studies for synthetic fiber-reinforced composites, and reported that
energy dissipation composites depend on the fiber matrix interaction and viscoelastic nature of fiber and matrix, which is important for aerospace structure.
Berthelot et al. [42] conducted an experimental investigation on composite laminate
and compared it with a finite element method. Berthelot [43] analyzed the damping
behavior of glass and Kevlar fiber composite laminate. Matter et al. [44] proposed a
numerical and experimental procedure for estimating and dissipative parameters of
composite plates and shells. Authors from their study inferred that modal damping
factors of material could be used for realistic predictions. In the composite material,
the fiber matrix interaction provides damping to composites, but it is not enough
for the structure to be safeguarded. Several researchers analyzed free vibration characteristics of the sandwich beam with metallic and composite made of synthetic
fiber by experimental, numerical, and analytical methods. Khalili et al. [45] analyzed the natural frequency of composite laminates. They studied the influence of
various parameters such as density, thickness, and shear modulus of the core on the
first natural frequency. Banerjee et al. [46] used a dynamic stiffness method and
Materials selection for aerospace components
Table 1.1
Advanced materials used for aerospace application
Soutis C [48]
Lee and Kim [49]
Farouk and
Langrana [50]
McConnell [51]
Carbon fiber-reinforced polymer
Functionally graded (FG) panels
PMR-15/graphite-reinforced polymer
Aero engine
Supersonic structure
Aerostructure to
resist temperature
Recommended for
speeds above
Mach 3.5
Recommended for
Turbine blade
Kawakami and
Feraboli [52]
Reed et al. [53]
Polyimides, Bis-Maleimides (BMIs),
Cyanate Esters (CEs), and
Graphite fiber composites;
Phthalonitrile resin
Nickel-based and cobalt-based
experimented on free vibration characteristics of a three-layered sandwich beam
using the impulse hammer method. Kumar and Singh [47] analyzed the damping
characteristics of the curved panel using the impulse hammer method. They used
strain energy techniques to select the location for desired damping character.
Advanced material used in aerospace is presented in Table 1.1.
Hence, it can be concluded that material selection for aerospace should consider
the different loading and environmental conditions, and provide more stiffness.
From the above survey, it was found that carbon fiber, carbon nanotube reinforced
epoxy composite enhances the properties of aerostructure compared to conventional
Aerospace components
During material selection for aerospace applications, some important factors should
be considered, such as ambient, lower, and higher temperature, humidity, and different types of mechanical loading like tension, compression, flexural, fatigue,
creep, and torsion [54]. Tremendous developments in the material field provide different materials and alloys, but it is difficult to choose a single material for an entire
aerostructure, because of fuel economy and flying performance. Selection of a
material for aerostructure is too complex, because of the variables involved [55]. In
aerospace, strength, and lightness are both important. Selection of materials should
provide higher ultimate stress, yield stress, stiffness, temperature limits, corrosion
resistance, fatigue resistance, fracture toughness, fragility at low temperatures, crack
growth resistance, ductility, maintainability, and reliability [56]. Wood, steel, aluminum alloy, titanium alloy, and fiber-reinforced composite are used to construct
aerostructures. During World War II, with a shortage of skilled labor to construct
Sustainable Composites for Aerospace Applications
Different types of aluminum alloys used
for aerospace application
Table 1.2
Aluminum Alloy
Nakai and Eto [60]
Bretz et al. [61]
Zhao et al. [62]
Aluminum alloy 2024
Aluminum alloy 7075
Aluminum alloy 2024-T3
Troeger and Starke [63]
Washfold et al. [64]
Aluminum alloy 6013 and 6111
Aluminum alloy 6061, 6063,
and 6066
High toughness
High toughness
High corrosive
High strength
aircraft using metal, the Soviets constructed aircraft with wood [57]. Even though
the wood structure gives considerable strength-to-weight, the main disadvantage is
moisture absorption. Aluminum alloy is the most used material for aircraft structure
construction, but the main disadvantage is that aluminum alloys have different
grades with different properties. For example, aluminum alloy 2024 has poor ultimate strength compared to aluminum alloy 7075, but it provides more resistance to
fatigue [58]. In aerostructures, aluminum alloy 2024 has been used in the bottom
portion, while aluminum alloy 7075 is used in the top portion. Corrosion resistance
is one of the important properties in aerostructure, but compared to pure aluminum,
aluminum alloy has poor corrosive resistance. Sandwich structures with stiff aluminum alloy as a facing layer and pure aluminum sheet as a core layer were found to
improve the corrosive resistance in aerospace applications [59]. Different grades of
aluminum alloy used in the aerospace are reported in Table 1.2.
The Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG-25) aircraft is made for military purposes, and the
whole structures are made of steel, as they can reach up to Mach three. Due to this
high Mach number, temperatures over the aircraft structure reach up to 300 C [65].
For this reason, an iron nickel steel alloy is used in the aircraft structure, as aluminum alloys are not suitable for high temperature applications [66]. Even though
steel provides better performance compared to aluminum, due to high specific
weight, it is not preferred for aircraft structure construction [67]. However, for
highly stressed conditions, steel is used because of its high ultimate strength. For
undercarriage, surface tracks, fasteners, wing, and tail-to-fuselage attachments, steel
is most preferred. Even though steel provides higher ultimate strength, it is difficult
to manufacture compared to aluminum [68]. In order to increase the usage of steel
material in aerospace applications, maraging steel was invented by researchers by
eliminating the carbon element and incorporating elements like Co, Mo, and Ti. It
provides higher yield strength, and ultimate impact resistance [69]. Normally, maraging steels are used in aerospace components like aircraft arrest hooks, rocket
motor cases, and landing gears. In hypersonic rockets, stainless steels are used
which resist kinetic heating [70]. In spy aircraft, structures are made with titanium
material, thereby increasing the cost. The main advantage of titanium is a high
Materials selection for aerospace components
strength-to-weight, good corrosive resistance, and better creep properties. Normally,
titanium material will be used only for special purposes, such as turbine blade, spy
aircraft. Recent developments in the field of composite material have influenced the
aerospace industry, due to enhancement of flying performance. Carbon fiberreinforced epoxy composites are mainly used in the aerospace industry. It gives
high strength-to-weight, and higher ultimate strength, stiffness, corrosive resistance,
and creep strength, which important for aerostructures. Carbon fiber-reinforced
composites were used in the Boeing Airbus for the first time, which increased the
fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, reduced assembly parts, tooling, and
increased the design life [71]. It reduces the vibration and noise-related issues,
ensures passenger comfort, and improves cabin air quality. Glass fiber composites
are widely used in aerospace industries, and in major structures and components of
the Boeing 707 passenger jet. Rosa et al. [72] analyzed the electromagnetic properties of carbon fiber/carbon nanotube reinforced composites for advanced aerospace
structures. In the RB211 jet engine, compressor blades were developed using a carbon fiber composite, which is brittle in nature and exhibits good fatigue behavior
[73]. The advantage of using advanced composite structures in the aerospace industry is that it reduces the total weight of the aircraft by up to 20 to 50%, and singleshell molded structures provide higher strength at a lower weight, with high impact
resistance. For defense applications, organically modified composites are used to
construct the aircraft, which improves the damping properties of aircraft structure
and reduces the noise. In the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, advanced composite sandwich
structures are used. Aramid fiber-reinforced composites were used to construct the
stiff leading and trailing edge components, fuel tanks, and floors [74]. Kevlar fibers
(aramid) act as shielding for aircraft, and reduce the accidental damage to the
engine pylon, which carries fuel lines and engine controllers. They also increase
thermal stability, increase resistance to fatigue and corrosion, and are easy to
assemble [75 77]. Whitener [78] used specially reinforced skin spare joints with a
combination of honeycomb core to construct the airplane wing.
Material properties
Material selection for any application should concentrate on physical, mechanical,
fatigue, and creep properties, etc., which offers better load carrying capacity and
stiffness to the structural design. In aerospace applications, aerospace components
should have damage tolerance under both static and dynamic load. To achieve that,
existing conventional materials, such as steel and pure aluminum, have to be developed for advanced aviation [79]. The development of new alloys should enhance
the resistance to crack growth, environmental damage, creep strain, and high temperature yield stress. Material selection for any application should concentrate on
physical, mechanical, fatigue, and creep properties, etc., which offer better load carrying capacity and stiffness to the structural design. Advanced material, fiberreinforced composites are used in the aero application, due to high ultimate and
Sustainable Composites for Aerospace Applications
Table 1.3
Composition of modern alloys used in aircraft
Steel (wt5%)
Titanium (wt5%)
Other (wt5%)
Boeing 747
Boeing 747
Boeing 747
Boeing 747
Table 1.4
Special alloys used in aerospace
Peters et al. [67]
Rioja [81]
Airframe, turbine blade, rotor head
Airframe application
Luo [82]
Yan et al. [83]
Smith et al. [84]
Titanium alloys
Isotropic Al-Li
Magnesium alloys
Nickel alloys
High temperature application
Severe vibration environment, such as
airborne optoelectronic platform
Turbine blades, discs, seals, rings, and
casings of aero engines
yield strength, and resistance against environmental effect [80]. The composition of
modern alloys and special alloys used in aerospace applications are presented in
Tables 1.3 and 1.4.
1.4.1 Mechanical properties
Nearly all mechanical design involves the selection of materials based on their elastic properties in relation to other properties, such as temperature, strength, or
thermal-expansion coefficient. Ultimate strength and yield strength are important
for aerospace applications. In recent years, development in the material field has
enhanced the material properties which are used for aerospace applications.
Compared to steel and titanium alloy, aluminum alloys have been dominant in the
aerospace industry, because of their light weight, strength, ductility, corrosion resistance, ease of assembly, and low cost [85]. Rapid development in the aluminum
industry led to the development of different types of aluminum alloys, such as rapidly solidified alloys, metal matrix composites, and aluminum lithium alloys.
Aluminum lithium alloy especially enhances the elastic properties of materials,
Materials selection for aerospace components
while rapidly solidified alloy enhances the operating temperature to 200 to 300 C
[86]. The AA2219 aluminum alloy offers tensile strength 170 Mpa at 260 C. At the
same time, the Rapid Solidification Process (RSP) aluminum alloy exhibits 350
Mpa at temperatures up to 350 C. The inclusion of SiC, Al2O3, B4C, and B with
aluminum-based metal matrix composite exhibits high strength-to-weight and
enhances the elastic modulus of material suitable for aerospace applications [87].
The stiffness of the material is important for the aerospace application. The specific
stiffness of the aluminum alloy used in aerospace is increased by adding 20 weight
percentage of SiC in the aluminum matrix [88]. Aluminum lithium with SiC reinforcement provides stiffness and reduces weight drastically, making it suitable for
aerospace applications [89]. Superalloys, such as nickel based and titanium alloys,
other advanced materials, and structural ceramics are used to fabricate aerospace
component, because of their unique properties, such as high elastic properties, and
resistance against wear and environmental effects. This offers extreme strength-todensity ratios, and enhances temperature resistance, therefore they are used to construct airframe structures where the operating temperature limit exceeds 1308 C
[90 92]. Polymer matrix composites have high stiffness, strength, and low density,
and are widely used for lightweight structural applications.
Advanced materials such as glass and carbon-reinforced composites offer higher
elastic properties and stiffness. This makes them good alternative materials for aerospace structures [93]. Aramid fiber-reinforced composite material exhibits the stiffness
properties of the composite material. Normally, aramid fiber-reinforced composites
are used to construct the fuel tanks of aircraft [94]. The development of sandwich
composites with glass and aramid fiber enhances the strength and stiffness properties.
These sandwich structures are employed to construct the wing [95]. Polymer nanocomposite is one of the advanced materials which are used more effectively in aero
applications compared to traditional carbon fiber-reinforced composite. Even though
nanoparticle-reinforced composite offered many advantages such as creep resistance,
thermal resistance, stiffness, and strength of polymer nanocomposite is below the carbon fiber-reinforced composite. So, these nanoparticles are reinforced with the epoxy
matrix as secondary reinforcement in carbon and aramid-epoxy composites [96].
1.4.2 Thermal properties
In aerospace, the thermal properties of materials are one of the main criteria, as the
components should perform well in the cold and at elevated temperatures. The
selection of materials based on thermal properties depends on operating height [90].
The addition of Li in the aluminum matrix enhances the low temperature properties,
and exhibits the superior strength toughness combination, lower density, and higher stiffness, which reduces the weight by 4% compared to conventional aluminum
alloy. At present, titanium materials are used for aerospace applications for a temperature range of 500 to 550 C [97]. Superalloys (nickel based and titanium alloy)
can withstand temperatures up to 1150 C. Conventional aluminum alloys normally
withstand temperatures up to 150 C (grade 2219 and 2618). A few advanced alloys
have thermal resistance to withstand temperatures up to 450 C (grade 8009 and
Sustainable Composites for Aerospace Applications
8019) [98]. Normally, this strengthened alloy has a transition element (Fe, Mn, Cr,
Ni, or Co) and a rare element (Ce), but those elements have limited solubility in
aluminum. Titanium alloy is used to construct the turbine blade, engine pylon, etc.,
and provides temperature resistance up to 550 C [99].
1.4.3 Economics
Cost is a basic reality to consider while choosing materials for a specific plan for
most items, since there is serious rivalry in the market [100]. It has been observed
that a large portion of the metal and other significant materials have been supplanted by plastics in the majority of processes where they are pertinent, for example, automotive and aerospace components [101]. The cost element can be
disregarded when execution is the top priority. When evaluating costs, all the
related cost elements must be considered to get a more sensible estimate.
In a few examples, the specific properties of the material may become the prevailing component over different properties [102]. For instance, electrical conductivity is crucial for an electrical application, so it must be given priority. In aerospace
applications, planning for light weight is essential for certain body parts of vehicles
where aluminum is utilized rather than steel. A failure to meet the highest working
temperature might be a reason to avoid the most beneficial material for a specific
high temperature outline. Once a short rundown of materials is chosen, an ideal
applicant that gives the greatest execution at the least cost must be selected.
The cost of the material and in addition the cost of preparing the material into
the required form must be considered. As a major aspect of general financial considerations, both accessibility and reusing perspective ought to likewise be taken
into account [103]. The aerospace components should be characterized all together,
so that the required mechanical properties might be prominent. It is vital to distinguish fundamental properties from attractive properties, those that can be traded off
with a specific end goal to accomplish the basic properties. Material properties are
frequently cited free of shape, however, in a few conditions geometry can impact
the reaction of a part for solidness and quality, to an impressive degree [104].
As a general rule, both material and process determination must be considered at
the same time, since not all materials are perfect for each procedure. It is likewise
imperative that both the material and procedures utilized must be controlled in fabrication. For instance, a supply of raw material which demonstrates varieties in synthesis and microstructure cannot be heat treated and machined effectively. A sheet
metal demonstrating varieties in its cold worked condition will show contrasts in
“spring back” attributes during shaping [105].
Materials selection
1.5.1 Ashby’s method of materials selection
Ashby, in the 1980s, developed the selection of materials for mechanical design by
deriving materials indices. These material indices are derived based on the
Materials selection for aerospace components
performance criteria of a material for a given mechanical design. In this method, a
pair of material properties is plotted against each other. Also, a database of different
classes of materials is plotted as ellipses showing the range of values for the respective material properties. The database has different classes of materials, such as natural materials, polymers, ceramics, metals and alloys, composites and foams. Each
class of materials clusters together, as they all have a similar range of properties.
The plot also consists of guidelines that are drawn based on the derived material
indices for a given design [106].
Materials selection can be carried out visually using the software developed by
the Ashby and Granta design. The problem of multiobjective optimization for material selection is also addressed in this method. Few researchers have used Ashby’s
method along with decision-making methods, such as multiobjective decisionmaking (MODM), and multiattribute decision-making (MADM) for materials
selection [107 109].
1.5.2 Decision-making methods
In the case of selecting materials, decision-making methods are primarily based on
multiple criteria decision-making (MCDM) which, depending upon the problem,
are classified into multiple attribute decision-making (MADM) and multiple objective decision-making (MODM). Both MADM and MODM are solved by having a
decision matrix constructed.
Multiple attribute decision-making (MADM) takes a finite number of alternatives
and operates based on ranking or choosing the different alternatives that are available for a problem. This method is used for a case of a finite number of alternatives.
The methods such as elimination by choice of expressing reality (ELECTRE), technique for order by preference similarity to ideal solution (TOPSIS), analytical hierarchy process method (AHP), or by the simple additive weighting method (SAW), use
MADM concepts for materials selection. The multiple objective decision-making
(MODM) method is continuous, and works in designing the best alternative for cases
where there are conflicting objectives. It is used when there are an infinite number
of choices or attributes. In the MCDM method, there are a few techniques like multiattribute utility analysis [110], VIseKriterijumska Optimizacija I Kompromisno
Resenje (VIKOR), and multicriteria optimization and compromise solution method,
which are used in materials selection [111 114].
1.5.3 Knowledge-based quantitative systems
A knowledge-based system (KBS) uses knowledge of a given problem and logic to
arrive at solutions or help in making decisions. A KBS as defined by Mayyas et al.
[115] is a computerized system that uses knowledge about some domain to arrive at
a solution to a problem from that domain. This solution is essentially the same as
that concluded by a person knowledgeable about the domain of the problem when
confronted with the same problem. The KBS has a user-interface, inference engine,
knowledge base, and a database of materials. The user-interface helps a user to
enter the required inputs [116]. After the user input is entered, the inference engine
Sustainable Composites for Aerospace Applications
processes these variables, based on the knowledge base and the materials in the
database. Thus, this method helps a user to select the material for a given problem
using a flow chart.
The use of KBSs for materials selection was reported for selecting materials of
polymeric-based composites [117 119]. Apart from the above-mentioned methods,
Jahan et al. [120] introduced the concept of a design index for the simultaneous
optimization of the geometry and material selection. Many authors have presented a
quantitative framework for materials selection consisting of three major classifications, namely: user-specifications, device parameters, and device characteristics.
The framework takes these parameters for a given problem, then solves them using
optimization, and shows the feasibility map/region based on the inputs. The database of materials is present in the plot, and only those materials which fall within
the feasible region satisfy the user-specification. The method of quantitatively
selecting materials has been tried for various cases, and it can be considered as an
extension to Ashby’s method of materials selection.
The material selection for aerospace components has been reviewed. It has been
highlighted that a precise understanding of operating conditions that are vital in the
selection of structural components for aerospace applications such as stresses, temperatures, environmental conditions, moisture, air flow, radiation, and maintenance
are essential. Different grades of aluminum alloys, and special alloys and their
applications in the field of defense, sonic, supersonic, and aerospace have been discussed in this chapter. Conventional materials tend to possess high strength with
low damping. At higher temperatures, conventional materials lose their stiffness
due to internal molecular movement, thereby affecting their performance. In order
to increase performance without affecting functionality, it becomes mandatory to
replace conventional materials with advanced composite materials for improved
properties and applications. Usage of advanced composite materials for aerospace
structures, to ensure high strength, stiffness, temperature, wear and corrosion resistance, are presented in this chapter. Replacement of conventional materials with
advanced composites brings in weight reduction, in turn enhancing fuel efficiency
without affecting flying performance, at the same time ensuring sustainability.
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