Aerospace FAQ

What materials are used in the aerospace industry?

Common aerospace materials include refractory metals and specialty alloys with high melting points, typically titanium, vanadium, aluminum, titanium, and steels. Lightweight metals like aluminum or magnesium, ceramic foams, and composite materials are also used in the aerospace and aircraft industries. Some of the most widely used alloys are Titanium Aluminum Vanadium (TiAl6V4) and heat-resistant super alloys (HRSAs) such as Inconel 78c.

What are the challenges in selecting aerospace materials?

Aerospace and aircraft materials must be able to withstand extreme high temperatures in environments like jet engines. Strength, durability, corrosion resistance, and thermal stability are important properties, but lightweight materials decrease the overall weight of the aircraft which in turn increase fuel efficiency (and thus decreases cost). Aluminum-Magnesium Alloys) are have typically been used in this capacity, but the industry is increasingly turning to ceramic and composite materials to achieve the goal of decreasing material weights.

What are composite materials?

Advanced composite materials (ACMs) or advanced polymer matrix composites are composed of two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties that, when combined, produce a material with characteristics different from the individual components. Aerospace composites incorporate materials like carbon fibers to create lightweight, stiff, and durable materials .

What are the specifications for aerospace materials?

More information about Aerospace Material Specifications (AMS) can be found on the ASTM website. Additionally, a list of common chemicals and substances used in the aerospace and defense industries released by the International Aerospace Environmental Group (IAEG) may be viewed here: Aerospace and Defense Declarable Substance List (AD-DSL)

American Elements counts most major aerospace manufacturers as customers including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems. We comply with AS9000 and AS9100 standards to assure we meet the most stringent safety and quality requirements.

American Elements materials are found in numerous airline components from lightweight composites to flight displays in the cockpit to the auxiliary power units (APUs) that keep your coffee warm.

Question? Speak to an American Elements engineer at

Innovation Case Study #11: American Elements Assists Teledyne in Creation of New Light Absorbing Coating

#11: American Elements Assists Teledyne in Creation of New Light Absorbing Coating

The Challenge

Ever since the invention of sunglasses at the beginning of the last century, inventors have worked on ways to better protect the eye from the sun's harmful radiation. In 1936, Edwin Land advanced the technology by developing polarized lenses using technology he developed at Polaroid. Polarized lenses remained the state of the art until the 1990s when Teledyne and others began experimenting with optical filters that actually absorbed harmful wavelengths of light rather than merely diverting them from the eye through polarization. Teledyne discovered that one critical elemental layer to this new technology was the element dysprosium, which absorbs light in the yellow-green range. Teledyne turned to American Elements to find a cost effective strategy to thin film depose dysprosium onto an optical substrate.

The Innovation

American Elements engineers met with Teledyne production teams to review equipment and evaporation material options. American Elements came up with the production of a dysprosium fluoride cone that could be inserted into a physical vapor deposition chamber. Tests with the new cones were successful. We then engineered a scale up of the production process making custom molybdenum crucibles for use in melting the material at high temperature in our vacuum furnaces.

The Result

Teledyne's program was intended to create a next generation goggle for U.S. military pilots. Since its development, however, they have found wide use in commercial flight, sportswear, and in industrial applications like welding goggles. At the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, numerous competitors in such events as the Aerials competition could be seen wearing ski goggles based on this technology; an invention not available just 4 years prior at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.