What Materials Are Used to Make Airplane Wings and How Do They Work?


Blog Introduction: Have you ever wondered what materials are used to make airplane wings and how they work? The truth is that the materials used to fabricate airplane wings vary depending on the type of plane and its purpose. But why does it matter which material is used for the wings? Let’s dive into the different types of materials used to construct airplane wings, how each material affects the plane’s performance, and which one is most commonly used in the US today.

Aluminum Alloys

Aluminum alloys are one of the most common materials used for constructing airplane wings. Aluminum alloys are lightweight and strong, making them a popular choice for airplanes that need to reach high altitudes and speeds. An added benefit of aluminum alloys is that they are relatively inexpensive compared to other materials, making them a good choice for budget-minded aircraft designers. However, aluminum alloys do not hold up well against extreme temperatures, so they should not be chosen as a wing material if the plane will be exposed to very hot or cold conditions.

Aluminum alloy is by far the most common material used for airplane wings. The aluminum alloy is lightweight yet durable, which makes it ideal for both commercial and military aircrafts. Additionally, aluminum alloy stands up well against corrosion and other environmental factors. As an added bonus, aluminum alloy is relatively inexpensive when compared with other materials on this list. However, it’s not without its drawbacks; aluminum alloy can dent or crack easily if not properly maintained.

Composite Materials

Composite materials such as carbon fiber and Kevlar can also be used to construct airplane wings. These materials are incredibly strong and lightweight, making them ideal for high-performance aircrafts like fighter jets or racing planes. However, composite materials can be expensive and difficult to work with since they require special tools and expertise. This makes them unsuitable for budget-minded aircraft designers but perfect for those looking for maximum performance from their planes.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its lightweight nature and remarkable strength-to-weight ratio. Carbon fiber is also more durable than aluminum alloy, meaning it can stand up better against corrosion and other environmental factors. The downside? Carbon fiber is significantly more expensive than aluminum alloy, making it less appealing for budget conscious aircrafts builders.


Wood can also be used as a wing material in some cases. Wooden wings tend to be much heavier than aluminum or composite ones but have better aerodynamic properties than either of those two materials. Wooden wings are often chosen by vintage aircraft owners who want their planes to look authentic or by pilots who want an extra challenge when flying their planes due to their weight. However, wood does not hold up well against extreme temperatures or moisture, so it should only be chosen if these conditions won’t be encountered while flying the plane.

Believe it or not, wood was once a popular material for building airplane wings! Wood was particularly useful during World War II due to its availability and light weight properties; however, modern advances in technology have made wood less desirable as a wing material today because of its susceptibility to moisture damage and rot over time.


When choosing a material for an airplane’s wings, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration including strength, weight, cost effectiveness and environmental conditions in which the plane will fly in. Aluminum alloys offer excellent strength-to-weight ratio at an affordable price but may not hold up well against extreme temperatures whereas composite materials provide superior strength but at a higher price point than aluminum alloys. Lastly wood provides great aerodynamics but is less durable than either aluminum or composites under certain conditions such as moisture or extreme temperature fluctuations . 

Ultimately it comes down to balancing performance needs with budget constraints when deciding what type of material should be used for an airplane’s wings. For US audiences looking for the best balance between performance and budget considerations aluminum alloy remains one of the best options available today.