Aluminum is the 2nd most malleable metal and is known for being lightweight. However, Composite materials are still lighter and more flexible than aluminum with a much higher elasticity, causing many to change the way they use aluminum. Check out the benefits of converting to composites:
With aluminum, highly tension loaded applications increase fatigue failure and maintenance. Composites are great at handling tension compared to aluminum because the fibers in the composite matrix can be designed to carry loads in a more efficient manner that helps dissipate stress induced into the material. This is accomplished by forming geometries that aluminum cannot be formed in, by aligning reinforcing fibers in directions to improve strength, or a combination of both methods working together.
Composites have the design flexibility to distribute the strength and weight accurately to create a more precise design than aluminum. This is done very similarly as to how composites handle tension as mentioned above. In some applications of composites, it is possible to achieve higher part stiffness than aluminum at far lower weights, honeycomb composites are a great example of this.
A problem with creating an aluminum structure is that you need multiple pieces to assemble, along with special processes to weld the material, not to mention expensive tooling. The design flexibility in composites allow a part to be made in just one piece. For example parts as large as boat hulls can be formed in one single piece.
Aluminum does have some bending properties, however, when bending the material too much it is likely to snap, or in some cases take on a permanent deformation (much like you see a dent in a metal car door). Composites can bend significantly without snapping due to its strong yet flexible attributes. This makes it ideal in applications such as ski poles where constant pressure and flexibility is applied, but yet the part must return to its original form.