Aircraft Materials Nomenclature: Aircraft Parts Classification

Aircraft Materials Nomenclature: Aircraft Parts Classification

The production and designation of aircraft materials and parts is regulated in the United States and most other countries.

Strictly speaking,  an aircraft part is an item or component that has been approved for installation on a type-certificated aircraft. Aircraft parts are approved within the jurisdictions of the countries where the aircraft is based. In the United States, for example, approval for aircraft parts is conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under Federal Aviation Regulation Part 21.

According to an FAA information sheet

“A standard part is a part or material that conforms to an established industry or U.S. Government-published specification. The FAA’s acceptance of a standard part as an approved part is based on the certification that the part has been designed and produced in accordance with an independent established set of specifications and criteria.”

Types of Aluminum Aircraft Parts

When taken as a whole, an aircraft is composed of several components and a variety of materials. However, the bulk of most any aircraft is essentially made up of aluminum with composites becoming more and more common. In fact, aluminum alloys and used primarily for airframes and skin, while composites for structures.

Aluminum is still lightweight, technically advanced in terms of forming and alloying, and it relatively low cost, especially when compared to titanium and composites. 

Despite being lightweight, commercially pure aluminum is incredibly strong. It has a tensile strength of about 13,000 psi and cold working aluminum essentially doubles its strength. Aluminum is usually alloyed with elements such as manganese, silicon, copper, magnesium, or zinc to further increase strength. The alloys can also be made stronger by cold working.

In addition to its high strength-to-weight ratio and formability, aluminum also has inherent anticorrosion qualities. Exposure to air forms a hard, microscopic oxide coating which seals aluminum from the environment.

Aluminum and aluminum alloy parts are produced in all common commercial forms. Aluminum-alloy sheet, for example, can be formed, drawn, stamped, or spun. Many wrought or cast aluminum alloys can also be brazed, welded, or soldered. In addition, aluminum surfaces readily accept a wide variety of mechanical and chemical finishes.

Aircraft parts made from aluminum can generally be classified under four major description types:

  • Aluminum Sheet
  • Aluminum Extrusion
  • Aluminum Rollform
  • Aluminum Bar

Within these major categories there are some additional variations. Aluminum bar material, for example, can be either cold finish formed or extruded. And aluminum sheet or plate, and rollform can be produced in a bare state, or what is known as clad. Cladding produces a corrosion-resistant aluminum sheet that is formed from high-purity aluminum surface layers being metallurgically bonded to high-strength aluminum alloy core material.

Standard Nomenclature for Aircraft Part Numbers

Searching for and ordering aluminum aircraft parts is far easier when using standardized aircraft materials nomenclature. This system is typically comprised of two nomenclature formats: Part numbers and Description.

Here are some examples of each for the four major description types:

Aluminum Bar

Nomenclature format for part number:

Alloy-temper – 7075-T6511

Shape – RND

Size – 0.750

Nomenclature format for description:

Specs – AMS-QQ-A200/11

Description – ALUMINUM EXTRUDED

Shape – ROUND BAR

Aluminum Sheet

Nomenclature format for part number:

Alloy-temper – 24-T3

Bare or Clad – CLAD

Thickness – .032

Nomenclature format for description:

QQ-A Spec – AMS-QQ-A250/5

AMS Spec – AMS4462

Size – ALUMINUM SHEET 48 X 144

Aluminum Extrusion

Nomenclature format for part number:

Part number – BAC1505-100999

Alloy-temper – 7075-T6511

Nomenclature format for description:

Part number – AC1505-100999

Alloy-temper – 7075-T6511

Spec – AMS-QQ-A-200/11

Aluminum Roll Form

Nomenclature format for part number:

Part number – C1496-444

Alloy-temper & C for Clad or B for Bare – 7075-T62C

Nomenclature format for description:

Part number – BAC1496-444

Alloy-temper (Clad or Bare) – 7075-T62 CLAD

Spec AMS-QQ-A-250/13

AAA Air Support Offers Exceptional Service and Availability

We offer a wide variety of aerospace parts and other metal supply services. We specialize in aerospace roll forming. Roll forming is a process that uses a coil or strip of metal, which is continuously passed through shaping rollers and dies to form the desired profile.

We can manufacture roll form products using various grades of aluminum, steel and titanium and we can produce roll form in sections up to 75 feet in length, custom “one off” sections and multiple production runs.

Our Gardena office offers on-line ‘live chat’ through our website. We encourage customers to make use of this convenient tool to check inventory, pricing, lead-times, material certification, and any and all other questions relevant to our industry. We offer this function as a convenience to busy, challenged, and dedicated purchasing agents.

No matter whether you need 100 feet of an aluminum alloy product, or just a few sheets of clad aluminum, AAA Air Support promises to always ship out your part orders quickly and efficiently. Our goal always is to provide your company with the means to complete that project or get that airplane off the ground and back in the air.

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