Titanium, Stainless Steel, and Aluminum: AMS Forging

Overview of AMS Forging

When you think of the aerospace industry, think of intricate engineering marvels that traverse vast skies or explore the uncharted cosmos. Now, imagine the foundation that supports these marvels: the materials and forging processes. That foundation is fortified by the Aerospace Material Specifications (AMS).

Diving deep into the essence of AMS, these aren’t just a set of guidelines; they are the DNA of aerospace quality and performance. They dictate the ‘how’, ‘why’, and ‘what’ of every material chosen and every forging technique employed in this elite industry.

AMS forging is not just about hammering metals into shape. It’s an art and science that intertwines with AMS standards at every turn. The metals are caressed and molded, heated, and pressurized, all while dancing to the precise tune set by the AMS. Whether the dance involves the sophistication of closed-die forging or the expansiveness of open-die forging, the choreography is governed by AMS.

The next time a plane soars or a satellite orbits, remember the silent symphony of AMS forging that made it possible.

Forging Defined

Forging, at its core, is the art and science of shaping metals through controlled deformation under high pressure and heat. The primary objectives of forging are:

  1. Enhancing Material Properties: Forging refines the microstructure of metals, aligning the grain structure to improve mechanical properties such as strength, toughness, and fatigue resistance.
  2. Dimensional Precision: Forging enables the precise shaping of materials, ensuring that components meet tight tolerances and exact specifications required for aerospace applications.
  3. Material Density: The forging process compresses the metal, reducing porosity and increasing material density.  

Each method is chosen based on the specific requirements of the aerospace component being manufactured.

Titanium in AMS Forging

Here is why titanium is a favored choice:

  1. Strength-to-Weight Ratio: Titanium boasts an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, making it an ideal choice for components where lightweight yet robust materials are crucial.
  2. Corrosion Resistance: Titanium is highly resistant to corrosion, even in aggressive aerospace environments. For aerospace components to perform well for an extended period, their durability must be tested with exposure to moisture, salt, and various chemicals. This resiliency is integral for such parts to be dependable and secure.
  3. Forging Characteristics: Titanium’s forgeability, though challenging, can be mastered with the right expertise. Without this technique, it would have been virtually impossible to create aerospace parts.

Benefits of Titanium

Here is a list of benefits of titanium:

  1. Exceptional Strength: Titanium’s strength-to-weight ratio property is crucial for aerospace applications, where weight savings are paramount.
  2. Corrosion Resistance: Titanium exhibits excellent corrosion resistance, even in aggressive environments such as seawater and acidic conditions. It is essential that they possess a certain level of resistance to remain operational over the long run.
  3. Low Density: The weight of spacecraft is significantly reduced by the low density feature of titanium which enhances fuel efficiency in aircraft. Subsequently, not only does it saves on gas consumption, but also reduces the overall mass of these machines.
  4. High-Temperature Stability: Titanium maintains its structural integrity at high temperatures, making it suitable for engine parts and heat shields.
  5. Biocompatibility: Titanium stands out due to its biocompatibility, making it highly sought after for medical applications.
  6. Non-magnetic: The advantage of using the element of Titanium in aerospace and medical applications is its non-magnetic quality.
  7. Low Thermal Expansion: Titanium has a low coefficient of thermal expansion, meaning it expands and contracts less than other metals with changes in temperature.

Stainless Steel in AMS Forging

Stainless steel offers several unique benefits that make it highly suitable for aerospace applications:

  1. Corrosion Resistance: Stainless steel’s corrosion resistance is one of its defining characteristics.  
  2. Versatility: Stainless steel is available in various grades and forms, offering versatility in material selection for specific aerospace components.
  3. High Temperature Resistance: Stainless steel alloys can provide reliable durability when temperatures rise, making them well-suited for automobile parts and exhaust systems.
  4. Hygienic Properties: Due to its non-porous surface, cleaning and sterilizing of components made from steel is an easy process.  

Key Stainless Steel Grades in Aerospace

Here are some commonly used grades:

  1. AISI 304 (AMS 5513/5511): This austenitic stainless steel grade is known for its excellent corrosion resistance and versatility.  
  2. AISI 316 (AMS 5524/5507): Another austenitic stainless steel, AISI 316, offers improved corrosion resistance, especially in chloride-rich environments.  
  3. AISI 321 (AMS 5510/5645): This grade provides good high-temperature resistance and is commonly used in aircraft exhaust systems and other components exposed to elevated temperatures.
  4. AISI 17-4 PH (AMS 5643/5604): Precipitation-hardening stainless steel, like 17-4 PH, offers a unique combination of high strength and corrosion resistance.  .

Aluminum in AMS Forging

Aluminum offers several unique benefits that make it an attractive material for aerospace applications:

1. Lightweight Nature: One of aluminum’s most prominent advantages is its low density, which results in lightweight components.  

2. Excellent Conductivity: Aluminum possesses excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, making it suitable for applications involving heat transfer and electrical conductivity. In the aerospace industry, heat exchangers and electrical components are dependent on a certain material.

3. Malleability and Formability: Aluminum is highly malleable and formable, allowing it to be easily shaped and forged into intricate components with precise geometries. This property is vital for producing aerospace parts with complex designs.

4. Corrosion Resistance: Aluminum has natural corrosion resistance due to the formation of a thin oxide layer on its surface. In order for aerospace components, such as aircraft and spacecraft parts, remain in good condition for prolonged periods of time, they must be given some type of protection.

5. Recyclability: Aluminum is highly recyclable, contributing to sustainable practices in aerospace manufacturing.  

6. Cost-Efficiency: In comparison to some other aerospace materials, using aluminum for constructing aircraft and spacecraft brings down the cost of production considerably. This makes it a highly advantageous option when it comes to aerospace projects.

Aluminum as AMS Metal

Delving into the realm of aerospace, aluminum makes its presence felt with a flourish. Let’s embark on a journey to explore the diverse landscape of aluminum alloys that grace the skies:

  • Aluminum 2024: Often termed the ‘workhorse’ of aerospace alloys, its remarkable strength-to-weight proportion, coupled with its fatigue defiance, carves its niche in parts like wing beams, the skeletal framework of fuselages, and even the tiny fasteners. A dose of heat treatment amplifies its inherent strengths.
  • Aluminum 6061: A jewel in the crown for its resistance to corrosion and its amenability to welding. Its versatility sees it being molded into aircraft skeletons, the sturdy landing supports, and vital structural elements.
  • Aluminum 7075: If there was a ‘Hercules’ among aluminum alloys, this would be it. Boasting unparalleled strength, it’s the top pick for components that bear high stresses – think the sturdy bones of aircraft wings or the linchpin elements in aircraft.
  • Aluminum 5052: A knight in shining armor against the corrosive forces of nature, this alloy is a popular choice in aerospace, especially when the gear is exposed to Nature’s extremes. It seamlessly integrates into the protective skins of aircraft, reservoirs for fuel, and the bedrock structural segments.
  • Aluminum-Lithium (Al-Li) Formulations: Stepping into the future, these avant-garde alloy formulations offer the allure of a lighter footprint coupled with heightened performance metrics. Their domain? The crucial realms of both air and space, shaping the bedrock of planes and interstellar vehicles.
  • Aluminum 2219: With a knack for welding like no other, this alloy is the go-to for those aerospace marvels that demand a touch of welding finesse. Picture spacecraft fuel reservoirs or the intricate pressure vessels.

Guided by the beacon of AMS standards, each alloy variant is meticulously chosen, ensuring aerospace marvels align perfectly with the benchmarks of strength, longevity, and weight efficiency. In the grand tapestry of aerospace, aluminum, with its myriad avatars, emerges as a pivotal thread, weaving tales of safety, agility, and stellar performance.

Comparative Analysis: Titanium vs. Stainless Steel vs. Aluminum

Comparing titanium, stainless steel, and aluminum? Let’s break it down:

Strength and Weight:

  • Titanium: Titanium offers exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, making it ideal for applications where weight reduction is critical, such as aircraft frames, engine components, and fasteners.
  • Stainless Steel: While stainless steel is strong and durable, it is generally heavier than titanium and aluminum. In situations where resistance to corrosion and increased strength are essential, a material is usually employed that meets these needs. Such a material can often provide the necessary characteristics while still allowing for weight reduction.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum is lightweight, offering an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. Frequently used for structural components in aircraft and spacecraft to reduce weight.

Corrosion Resistance:

  • Titanium: Titanium exhibits outstanding corrosion resistance, even in aggressive environments. This makes it suitable for components exposed to harsh atmospheric conditions.
  • Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is known for its exceptional corrosion resistance, particularly against rust and staining. It is favored for components that require both strength and resistance to corrosion.
  • Aluminum: While aluminum naturally forms a protective oxide layer, it is not as corrosion-resistant as titanium or stainless steel. It is well-protected from corrosive environments.

Temperature Resistance:

  • Titanium: Titanium retains its mechanical properties at elevated temperatures, making it suitable for applications in high-temperature environments, such as aircraft engines and exhaust systems.
  • Stainless Steel: Certain stainless steel grades exhibit excellent heat resistance and are used in aerospace components exposed to high temperatures.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum has limitations in high-temperature applications due to its lower melting point. It is typically used in components with lower thermal stress.

Formability and Machinability:

  • Titanium: Titanium is malleable and can be forged into complex shapes. However, it can be challenging to machine due to its toughness.
  • Stainless Steel: Stainless steel offers good machinability and can be easily formed into various shapes, making it versatile for manufacturing.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum is highly formable and machinable, allowing for the production of intricate aerospace components.

Electrical Conductivity:

  • Titanium: Titanium is a poor conductor of electricity, making it suitable for applications where electrical conductivity is not a primary concern.
  • Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is also a poor electrical conductor, which can be an advantage in applications where electrical interference needs to be minimized.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum is an excellent conductor of electricity, making it suitable for electrical and electronic aerospace components.

Cost Implications in AMS Forging Choices

The choice of material in AMS forging has significant cost implications. Here’s how the cost factors associated with each metal can influence material selection:


  • Higher Material Cost: Titanium is relatively expensive compared to stainless steel and aluminum. The cost of raw titanium materials can significantly impact the overall manufacturing budget.
  • Cost-Efficiency in Weight Reduction: The reduction in aircraft weight achieved by using titanium can lead to long-term cost savings in fuel consumption and operational efficiency.

Stainless Steel:

  • Moderate Material Cost: Stainless steel is typically more cost-effective than titanium but may be pricier than aluminum in some cases.
  • Cost Savings in Durability: The durability and corrosion resistance of stainless steel can lead to cost savings in maintenance and replacement of components over time.


  • Lower Material Cost: Aluminum is generally the most cost-effective of the three metals.  
  • Cost-Efficiency in Weight Reduction: Like titanium, aluminum’s lightweight properties can contribute to significant cost savings in fuel consumption and overall operational efficiency.

Environmental Impact and Sustainability

Evaluating the environmental impact of these metals throughout their lifecycle:


  • Mining and Processing: Titanium extraction and processing can be energy-intensive and environmentally impactful.
  • Recyclability: Titanium is recyclable, but the recycling process can be challenging and less common compared to aluminum or stainless steel.

Stainless Steel:

  • Mining and Processing: The environmental impact of stainless steel production is moderate, with some grades containing recycled content.
  • Recyclability: Stainless steel is highly recyclable, and recycling rates are relatively high, reducing its environmental footprint.


  • Mining and Processing: Aluminum has a moderate environmental impact during extraction and processing.
  • Recyclability: Aluminum is highly recyclable, and recycling aluminum consumes significantly less energy than producing it from raw materials, making it one of the most sustainable choices.

Future of AMS forging metals

  • Titanium’s Next Chapter: The world of titanium is abuzz with the quest for alloys that push the envelope – be it a more remarkable strength-to-weight ratio or formidable resistance against heat’s onslaught.
  • Stainless Steel’s New Vanguard: Tomorrow’s aerospace could be adorned with novel grades of stainless steel – ones that are tailored to pack a punch in corrosion resistance and strength.
  • The Green Revolution in Recycling: The environment gives a nod of approval as the frontier of recycling sees revolutions.  

Forging with a Seal of Assurance

The very heart and soul of aerospace forging lie in safety and unwavering allegiance to AMS standards. This dedication stands as the sentinel, guarding the very essence of aerospace’s integrity:

  • The Gauntlet of Testing: Under the vigilant eyes of AMS standards, each piece undergoes a crucible of tests and meticulous inspections. The goal? Ascertain impeccable quality and a performance that echoes safety’s hymn.
  • The Badge of Certification: The final nod, the golden stamp. Before any component kisses the skies, it must bear the testament of AMS certification – a mark of excellence and assurance.


For AMS Forging service contact us at 714-632-0140 or toll-free at 800-854-6777.


About Us

Friend Metals Co, is a leading steel distributor specializing in a wide range of steel products, including bar, forging, plate, and sheet materials.

Find us at

© 2023 - Friend Metals Co.