634. Properties and Design Considerations for High Density Metals


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R A Kurtz: 634. Properties and Design Considerations for High Density Metals. 1967.



In aircraft and space vehicle design the materials engineer is usually concerned with providing high structural materials of strength and minimum weight. There exists, however, a definite need for very heavy alloys of high strength to concentrate maximum mass in a limited volume. Such applications include aircraft counter-weights, instrument balance weights, gyro rotors and others which will be discussed in detail at a later point.
In selecting appropriate materials certain obvious requirements come to mind. These are high density, strength, cost, and ease of fabrication into useful shapes. Most important of these factors, of course, is density and Table I compares the density of a broad group of potential high density materials in comparison to the common lower density structural materials. It is evident that the only common metal of higher density than the general engineering materials is lead but its low strength and relatively low density limits its use in many applications. The precious metals, gold, platinum etc. areof substantially higher density but their cost is prohibitive. Although not nearly as costly as these metals, tantalum is still relatively expensive, and its function as a high density metal is limited to certain specific applications.
Tungsten and uranium, however, are among the highest density metals, are relatively inexpensive, and their alloys have sufficient strength and fabricability. It is these materials that are of prime interest in the design of high density components for aerospace applications.


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