Aircraft Welding and Its Limitations


Welding is a fabrication method that is often used to join metals and thermoplastics together, relying on high heat to conjoin parts through fusion. Welding is practiced for the manufacturing of countless assemblies, even finding many uses in the realm of aviation for aircraft part construction. Despite this, there are certain areas of an aircraft in which welding cannot be used, necessitating a reliance on fasteners and other solutions for securing assemblies. In this blog, we will discuss the most common aircraft parts and sections that cannot be welded, allowing you to better be aware of the limitations of such practices in the aerospace industry.
 
When aircraft are designed and manufactured, engineers will often seek ways to improve maintenance, inspection, and repeatability. Additionally, the various stressors that aircraft face as they fly through intensive environments demand that assemblies perform without failure across the board. While welding has been relied on for metal bonding since the 1800s, its joining characteristics are unable to meet the expected requirements of aircraft for certain parts and systems.
 
Aircraft are primarily constructed with the use of aluminum, due to the fact that such materials are inexpensive and boast an optimal strength-to-weight ratio. While highly beneficial for optimal aerodynamics, aluminum has a low heat tolerance that causes the material to weaken and change when exposed to high temperatures. As the heat produced during welding is enough to affect the properties of aluminum, it is detrimental to carry out such practices for aircraft assembly. Rivets, on the other hand, allow for pieces of aluminum to be connected together without weakening the structure to a significant degree. Riveted joints also boast increased strength and rigidity, allowing them to be highly reliable as an aircraft travels at high speeds in the atmosphere.
 
Another major limitation of welding is its repeatability, that of which is a major concern in the aerospace industry for the means of guaranteeing safety and performance standards. If an engineer follows the standard steps for installing rivets or similar fastener types, each installation should feature very similar strength and reliability. As such, one can better gauge the capabilities of a given joint with a fastener. With welding, on the other hand, repeatability is increasingly difficult due to an engineer having less precise control over the fusion process.
 
Alongside repeatability is the ease of inspection, allowing operators to better ensure that all parts are airworthy and dependable for safety. With fasteners, one only needs to conduct a visual inspection a majority of the time to ensure the assembly is secure. Meanwhile, welded joints necessitate the use of a specialized machine or system capable of testing such joints. With the large time constraints and quick turnaround times that are common in the aerospace industry, the need for rapid testing and inspections is high.
 
Although fasteners surpass welding in some aspects for aviation applications, there are various parts of an aircraft that rely on metal fusion for assembly. Generally, welding is used for repairing aircraft components, joining thin metal sheets together, and manufacturing structures such as the exhaust system, access doors, engine mounts, filters, tube assemblies, and more. If you need a welding machine or products for cable welding, bolt welding, brush welding, and other processes, there is no better alternative to Jet Parts 360.
 
Jet Parts 360 is a trusted distributor of aircraft parts and other aerospace components where you can compare quotes for every aviation product we offer. With over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items readily available for purchase at any time, we are sure to fulfill all your part needs with ease. To save customers time and money, we leverage our purchasing power and market expertise. Furthermore, our supply chain network stretching across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom enables us to provide expedited shipping to meet time constraints. Experience the future of part procurement today when you begin the purchasing process with Jet Parts 360.

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