Aluminum is Ideal Choice for Naval Designs

February 10, 2012

Presentation at American Society of Naval
Engineers (ANSE) Shows Advantages of Cutting Edge Alloys

PITTSBURGH–Modern aluminum alloys and their ability to provide strength,
durability, protection and enhanced survivability – while at the same
time offering less weight for increased speed, maneuverability and
enhanced fuel efficiency — makes the material an ideal choice in modern
naval designs according to a paper by Alcoa Defense presented this week
at the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) show.

Aluminum has been successfully used since its commercialization as a
material for ships. Most recently, the newest ships from the U.S. Navy
such as Joint
High-Speed Vessel (JHSV)
and Littoral
Combat Ship (LCS)
utilize aluminum in hull and super-structure
applications. In fact, the Independence seaframe LCS features more than
one million pounds of high-grade aluminum alloys in each ship, making it
one of the single largest uses of aluminum in the world.

The presentation puts to rest the myths associated with aluminum and
certain well-known naval incidents involving: the USS Belnap; HMS
Sheffield; and the USS Stark. A thorough review of the literature and
naval records across several countries dispelled the myth that “aluminum
burned” in these incidents; in fact, conditions on a naval vessel do not
exist to allow this to happen.

Survivability is a key factor in any military application. The ballistic
performance of Alcoa’s newest alloys including 7085
(Alcoa’s ArmXTM
for AP resistance and Blast protection)
to 7039 were also covered at ASNE. Test data presented showed 7085 with
up to 14% better performance than 7039 and 24% better than 6061 against
AP threats. Additionally, ArmXTM AP Armor and Blast Armor
have been shown to perform 5% better than 6061 and 5083 against FSP
threats. Alcoa’s armor alloys have been battle tested in Iraq and

The increase in performance through Alcoa’s newest defense alloys, as
well as elimination of myths associated with naval incidents has
ultimately led to a better understanding of aluminum’s potential,
leading to its current use in the newest and most cutting-edge naval

A copy of the paper, presented by Kyle A. Crum, Technology Manager for
Alcoa Defense at the Alcoa Technical Center can be found at

About Alcoa Defense

Alcoa Defense partners with industry leaders to design systems and
materials that increase the speed, reach, agility and survivability of
military platforms. In addition to delivering lightweight, innovative
solutions in multiple product forms, Alcoa Defense manufactures
subassemblies, prototypes and complete aluminum structures that original
equipment manufacturers can integrate into their platforms for land, air
and sea. More information can be found at

About Alcoa

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) is the world’s leading producer of primary and
fabricated aluminum, as well as the world’s largest miner of bauxite and
refiner of alumina. In addition to inventing the modern-day aluminum
industry, Alcoa innovation has been behind major milestones in the
aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial
transportation, consumer electronics and industrial markets over the
past 120 years. Among the solutions Alcoa markets are flat-rolled
products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, as well as Alcoa® wheels,
fastening systems, precision and investment castings, and building
systems in addition to its expertise in other light metals such as
titanium and nickel-based super alloys. Sustainability is an integral
part of Alcoa’s operating practices and the product design and
engineering it provides to customers. Alcoa has been a member of the Dow
Jones Sustainability Index for 10 consecutive years and approximately 75
percent of all of the aluminum ever produced since 1888 is still in
active use today. Alcoa employs approximately 61,000 people in 31
countries across the world. More information can be found at