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What are the processes used to improve the performance of the materials commonly used in air frame structures ?
Typically the metals used on aircraft are aerospace grade which means that they are extremely durable and can withstand constant stress. To achieve this grade most metals (commonly aluminum) are mixed with elements like Magnesium, Copper, and Silicon. This creates an alloy that is a lot stronger than pure aluminum. Another process is anodizing the metal. Anodizing involves dipping the metal in a strong acid and running electricity through it. This causes the outer layer to harden and it prevents corrosion and makes the metal stronger. Using a combination of mixing alloys and anodizing, aircraft manufacturers are able to make aerospace grade aluminum that can even withstand the extreme environment of space.