DWA-USA, the global leader for Aluminum
Metal-Matrix-Composites for Lighter Weight Designs
F-16 Ventral Fins and Fuel Access Covers

F-16 Ventral Fins and Fuel Access Covers

6092/SiC/17.5p-T6 sheet extends the life of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, where it is used as the skins for the ventral fins and fuel access covers.

The 40% higher elastic modulus of DWA’s Al MMC over conventional AA2024 improves ventral fin dynamic response, lowering peak defections during demanding flight maneuvers. The result is a significant, greater than 4X, service life extension of the ventral fin.

The high stiffness-to-weight of 6092/SiC/17.5p-T6 Al MMC yields fuel access covers that reduce peak stresses in the F-16 mid-fuselage upper skin by as much as 38%, contributing to another significant aircraft service life extension.


Applications such as ventral fins and fuel access covers are excellent examples of how efficient Al MMCs are in stiffness critical applications. This is further demonstrated by a Northrop Grumman trade study using a “weight ratio methodology” for 6092/SiC/25p-T6 Al MMC applied to buckling and crippling critical designs.

Estimated Minimum Weight Savings for 6092/SiC/25p-T6 Compared to Conventional Metallics


Case Studies

Fielded Applications

DWA-USA specializes in new aluminum-based powder metallurgy materials and applications development. We serve our customers throughout the entire development cycle, whether it be an upgrade to an existing design or starting from the ground up. Our track record for transitioning prototyping efforts to real world serial production is unparalleled.

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Density Adjusted Properties of Aluminum MMCs Compared to Steel, Titanium and Aluminum


One of the clear advantages of Al MMCs compared to conventional metallic materials is greatly enhanced strength and stiffness. These property gains are achieved without impacting material density, so the specific properties of Al MMC are dramatically increased. Al MMCs are also isotropic composite materials. Their design space is not dependent on reinforcement orientation.

DWA Aluminum Composites

Aluminum Metal-Matrix-Composites Manufacturing

The Al MMC manufacturing process can be divided into three elements- primary processing, secondary processing and finishing. Unlike other composite materials, after primary processing of the billet, Al MMCs offer a high level of “fit, form and function” when inserted into the industrial manufacturing stream, making use of conventional facilities and equipment.

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