Airplanes are complex structures that have to be meticulously designed and a lot of thought is given to the types of materials that are used in their construction. Nickel composites are one such item.
Many old style planes have aluminium frames and these are slowly being phased out in preference of carbon fibre which is often incorporated with nickel. Aluminium is lighter than nickel but it can not withstand high temperatures as well. Nickel expands and shrinks as a result of temperature fluctuation much less than aluminium and it has a higher melting point. This makes it a great option for use in aircraft, as they often undergo very quick temperature changes as they ascend to higher altitudes.
These benefits allow for further developments in air technology to take place as the ability for nickel to withstand higher temperatures means that the engines can work at higher temperatures which results in less fuel consumption. So as an indirect result of using nickel the cost of fuel can be decreased and the efficiency of the engines can be increased. As the need for technology develops further nickel will undoubtedly be used more and more in the construction of aircraft and other vehicles that require the need for high temperature resistance.« Back