The Metals Used in Spaceships

Spaceships have some contradicting requirements – they need to be strong and sturdy enough to protect the astronauts from the dangers of space, as well as the high temperatures they reach when they re-enter the earth’s atmosphere, but they also need to be as lightweight as possible, in order to break free of the earth’s atmosphere when they take off. For engineers, space flight posed one of the most challenging problems in human history.

Metals are an important part in the creation of spaceships and most space travel requires a range of metals in order to make sure the craft is able to do all the things that are required of it. From being able to break free of the atmosphere of earth, to life support for the astronauts, to re-entering earth. These are three important metals used when building spacecraft.

Aluminium – The bodies of spaceships are made from aluminium – not only is this a lightweight metal, but it is also great at protecting the astronauts from extreme temperatures. Think about the uses of aluminium in the kitchen as a foil. This is why it was also the perfect choice when it came to building a spacecraft. Space shuttle also had some ceramic tiles which were also used for protecting the astronauts from the heat of re-entry.

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Copper – Copper is an important component in space shuttles. This is a metal which has been used by humans for thousands of years, and is used for all sorts of things in our daily lives today, like these copper pipe connectors

In space shuttles, copper is used in the engines as it is fantastic for dissipating the huge amounts of heat that is generated when the space shuttle takes off and breaks through the earth’s atmosphere. Copper is one of the best conductors of heat available, so it is perfectly suited for this.

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Stainless Steel – Despite weighing more than other metals, steel is still a necessary component of spaceships. It is an incredibly strong metal, as well as being able to withstand very high temperatures that are generated by the engines, as well as the temperatures generated by the re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. Screws and bolts are usually made from steel, as they are essential when holding the rocket together.



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