Researchers discover new welding technology for lighter aircraft
Engineers at the Fraunhofer IWS in Dresden have developed a new method for processing a particularly light metallic alloy. It is intended for use in aircraft construction.10 Sep 2018 Roland Freist
The material called AA5024 AlMgSc is made of aluminum, magnesium and scandium and is about as strong as yet 5% lighter than the aluminum alloys used in aviation. The previous methods however did not make it possible to form AA5024 into the spherical shapes required for aircraft construction. The stretch forming process commonly used for aluminum is not possible with this material.
Engineers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology (IWS) in Dresden have nevertheless now developed a new process for manufacturing aircraft components made from this material. They combine friction stir welding (FSW), which uses the friction heat generated by a tool rotating on the material for welding, with the creep forming process. In doing so, the metal sheet is placed on a production mold and joined to it at the edges in an airtight manner. It is then heated using heating mats while a negative pressure is generated in the mold, thus stretching the sheet into the desired shape. The IWS managed to show that even previously welded AA5024 molded parts can be reliably reshaped in this manner.
Although the company plans to further test and develop the method using real aircraft components, it is likely to take some time before it is used in practice.
port material Breakaway, which likewise avoids the disadvantages of PVA while minimizing post-processing.
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