Composites may be replacing metals in aircraft structures, but the use of titanium is increasing both to reduce weight and because of the incompatibility of aluminum and carbon fiber. Boeing's 787 is 50% composite by structural weight, whereas its earlier 777 is only 12%, but a 787 contains almost 90 tons of titanium compared with 55 tons in a larger 777. And titanium can be around 10 times as expensive as aluminum, so pressure is on to reduce costs. Machine-tool manufacturer Makino has ...

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