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Magnesium in the defense industry



Magnesium metal has been an important aspect of the defense industry since the 1940s. Research and Development in the field have led to new ways in which the metal can enhance the performance of the machinery in the defense industry. Especially, given that the requirement for defense materials needs to withstand wear, corrosion, friction and a number of other materials challenges, all while being lightweight and inexpensive


Benefits


-Magnesium alloys have a variety of advantages, including its density, being one of the world's lightest structural metals. Magnesium has a lower density than structural metals such as aluminum or steel. As a result, magnesium may be utilized as a straight replacement for aluminum or steel while also conserving weight.


-The pricing is the second feature. The eighth most prevalent element in the Earth's crust is magnesium. Magnesium is less costly than other materials due to the availability of supply (and the economies of scale that result from its consumption). While there has been a lengthy period of reduction in global defense spending, a recent rise in demand makes this a good time to look at new material options.


-Third, new discoveries in materials science and technology have made it possible to improve the performance of magnesium alloys more than ever before. Aluminum alloys and steels, which are heavier and have a shorter lifespan than a Z-series alloy with an improved coating, are quickly being replaced by alloys like AZ31b and AZ80.


Evolution of magnesium in the industry


Magnesium was widely utilised in first-world-war armaments, such as incendiary flares and tracer rounds, because of its flammability and its light-emitting qualities. The metal's low density was utilised during WWII, when it was employed widely in military aircraft. Because older aircraft engines lacked the power and efficiency of newer engines, employing magnesium in fuselages, structural frames, decking, brackets, engine and gearbox elements, and wheels may drastically cut weight and extend range. The B-36 and B-47 bombers, in particular, made substantial use of lightweight magnesium components to boost munitions payloads and bounties.


After WWII, as engines got more powerful, interest in magnesium in military aircraft dropped, only to be renewed as the rocket era took off in the 1950s, and then again during the Vietnam War. Magnesium began to be used in military ground vehicles at this time, such as the M-274'mule' built by the United States. The M-274 had a 450kg payload and a range of 120-180km, proving that magnesium's low density was advantageous once again. The US military employed this vehicle into the 1980s, thanks to its magnesium axle housings and load platform. Armoured personnel carriers (APCs), amphibious vehicles, main battle tanks (MBTs), and other military vehicles use magnesium alloy.


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