The aviation industry often takes advantage of welding for joining materials, utilizing such practices as alternatives to fastening to ensure structurally sound assemblies that remain lightweight for the benefit of aerodynamics. In general, the aviation industry utilizes diffusion, laser, and electron-beam welding the most, though other methods may be carried out as well based on the application. In this blog, we will discuss some of the main reasons as to why welding is so prevalent in the aerospace industry, allowing you to better understand its versatility and importance.
As aerospace technology becomes more advanced, many structures and assemblies are growing in complexity. While fasteners such as rivets are commonly used to create reliable joints across the aircraft assembly, they are not able to create a smooth and seamless joint for complex designs and add weight to the vehicle. Welding can also be much quicker to carry out when joining materials on an assembly line, raising efficiency of processes. For the most complicated metals and components, electron-beam and laser welding are both carried out.
In addition to creating a reliable joint, many assemblies also need to be airtight for safety and performance. Sensitive materials, electronics, and gear all need to be well protected from environmental stresses and hazards, and welding ensures optimal sealing for these various spaces. While other needs may simply benefit the most from welding, the creation of airtight seals often necessitates it.
For an aircraft to remain airworthy, engineers will generally have to take advantage of materials that are uncommon to other industries and applications. The use of uncommon materials is generally a result of the need for malleable and ductile metals that are also very sturdy and lightweight. As such, materials such as stainless steel and aluminum are very commonly used, while high-end metals such as titanium and inconel are also quite popular.
Many of the metals that are used for construction exhibit high thermal conductivity, as well as high crack sensitivity which can make joining pieces together a more difficult task. Many of these metals would not be able to be joined using common methods of welding with the need for airtight seals and high-quality joints. Because of this, advanced welding techniques are preferred, and it is important that the welder creating such assemblies is amply trained for the methods that they are carrying out.
While aerospace welding is quite advanced, it cannot guarantee an infinite life for assemblies. As such, it is important that welded joints are regularly inspected for their integrity. When welds begin to falter, MRO servicing should be carried out to ensure reliability and safety. If you find yourself in need of various aviation parts or welding components, look no further than NSN Fulfillment.
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