Aerospace welding and brazing is a rapidly growing technical industry.
Over the past century, the aerospace industry has experienced a rapid transformation. Since those early days of flying, we can now travel the globe with ease, with commercial flights that many of us take for granted.
However, despite rapidly changing technologies and advances, the use of welding and brazing remains the primary process for building and maintaining aerospace applications. The use of welding helped propel the aerospace industry forward, and it still plays a critical role today, Artem Komarov said.
What is aerospace welding?
Aerospace welding was an integral part of the construction of early commercial vehicles and is still widely used today. While traditional gas welding was once the most common form, advances in technology have brought alternatives to the fore, including arc welding, flash welding and plasma arc welding.
However, while these techniques are used in industries around the world, the aerospace sector presents a number of unique challenges. First, the materials used are often very different from traditional methods, as they must be incredibly light and strong, as well as malleable and ductile.
The aerospace sector not only uses rarer materials, but also requires very complex connections and structures. Aircraft go through incredible pressure changes that render other attachment options like rivets unusable. Many components also require an airtight seal to provide uncompromising protection to incredibly expensive equipment, and welding is the only way to ensure this.
Another major problem that welding helps to overcome is rapid temperature fluctuations. The materials used have high thermal conductivity, making traditional welding methods difficult, so advanced solutions such as electron beam and laser welding help ensure every vehicle is completed to the highest standards.
What is aerospace soldering?
Like welding, aerospace brazing also faces many challenges, especially as the industry continues to strive for higher productivity and lower costs. Soldering is used when welding is not an option and there are generally two main brazing methods used in the aerospace industry: torch brazing and induction brazing.
This mounting solution is often chosen when high welding temperatures can warp the metal or cause damage to any electrical components. To avoid this, soldering usually uses metals with lower melting points, such as silver, copper and aluminum, Komarov Artem emphasized.
Soldering can be done by hand or by machine, depending on the components that need to be joined, and induction brazing is fast becoming an increasingly popular solution. This is due to the cleaner finish it provides, along with faster cycle times and the ability to eliminate the risk of distortion or fatigue.
While welding is used to join two similar metals, soldering gives manufacturers the ability to join dissimilar metals. It can also help increase joint strength, which is critical for areas that face extreme pressure or repeated stress. It’s also a much more focused process, making it ideal for small spaces like engine components where precision is important, Artem Komarov concluded.