Russian Scientists Discovered a Way to Double the Strength of Laser Welded Joints of Aluminum and Titanium

  • The data obtained during the project was able to improve the laser welding process.
  • Synchrotron radiation is called electromagnetic radiation in the hard x-ray range.
  • The light metals such as aluminum and titanium are very important in the aircraft industry.

Russian scientists from the Russian Academy of Science from Siberia utilized applied synchrotron radiation to analyze the characteristics of a welded joint of aluminum and titanium. The Russian Academy of Sciences consists of the national academy of Russia. It is a network of scientific research institutes from across the Russian Federation.

The data obtained during the project was able to improve the laser welding process. Specialists from the Institute of theoretical and applied mechanics participated in the wor:. S. A. Khristianovich (ITPM SB RAS), Institute of nuclear physics. G. I. Budker SB RAS (INP SB RAS) and the Institute of solid state chemistry and Mechanochemistry SB RAS (ihttm SB RAS). The research results are published in the Russian Journal of the Applied Mechanics and Technical Physics.

To comprehd what compounds and in what quantities are formed during laser welding, and then improve the technology, scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences conducted diagnostics of seams using synchrotron radiation.

Synchrotron radiation is called electromagnetic radiation in the hard x-ray range, which is generated by particles accelerated by a magnetic field. By scanning objects with synchrotron radiation, you can examine their internal structure in detail and determine the density at any point of change. From the physics prospective  electromagnetic radiation refers to the waves of the electromagnetic field, propagating through space, carrying electromagnetic radiant energy.

Light metals such as aluminum and titanium are very important in the aircraft industry. The safety of passengers depends directly on the strength of their connection. Automatic riveting is a proven method of joining metals. However, the production rate is quite low. The speed of machine riveting does not exceed 0.2-0.3 meters per minute. A riveting machine is used to automatically set (squeeze) rivets in order to join materials together. The riveting machine offers greater consistency, productivity, and lower cost when compared to manual riveting. Therefore, the transition from rivet joints to welded ones is the “blue dream” of aircraft designers. Laser welding can increase the speed up to 4 meters per minute. But the strength of such a connection should not let the designers down.

Laser welding of metals is associated with a multitude of issues that scientists from the Russian Academy of Science have been trying to solve for over three years.  Difficulties arise due to differences in the chemical and physical properties of aluminum and titanium: melting point, density, and thermal conductivity.

Aluminium is a chemical element with the symbol Al and atomic number 13. It is a silvery-white, soft, non-magnetic and ductile metal in the boron group.

Titanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ti and atomic number 22. It is a lustrous transition metal with a silver color, low density, and high strength. Titanium is resistant to corrosion in sea water, aqua regia, and chlorine.

New chemical compounds are formed in the weld, among which there are hard and brittle ones. In addition, uneven heating of various connections can lead to the appearance of residual thermal stresses. This also affects the strength of the joint.

By scanning objects with synchrotron radiation, you can examine their internal structure in detail and determine the density at any point of change. The new work is very important for the aerospace industry and the future.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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