WEL-AIRProject ID: 502832
Development of Short Distance WELding Concepts for AIRframes (WEL-AIR project)
The age of sustainable growth in which the world aeronautics is entering will require to the Research and Technology development to contribute to the strengthening of the competitiveness of the aeronautic manufacturing industry with more economical, performant and better quality products.
Weight and cost efficiency will be obtained on the "Integral Structure" or "Rivet-Free"Al-alloy airframes through the use of advanced welding technologies such as laser beam (LBW) and friction stir welding (FSW) and the introduction of new aluminium alloys with improved performances : welded integral structures are claimed to offer a cost saving of up to 60% over built-up structures.
Large distance LBW skin-stringer joints for manufacturing of panels of the current fuselage of A318 are used and similar applications are also planned for other next generation aircrafts. Now, there is a need to extend this current level of technological achievement to "more critical and difficult-to-join" sections of the metallic airframes through replacement of conventional riveted sub-sections with short distance welded integral structure which exhibits lightweight and damage tolerant features.
The main scientific and technological objectives of the project are :
* To optimise and validate the most suitable short distance LBW process parameters for various Al-alloy combinations for joining of stiffener/cleat-skin connections (containing run-outs) of the airframes by understanding and control the basic mechanisms of the hot tearing, crack initiation and crack growth.
* To develop short distance friction stir welding process for some FSW suitable joints and non laser weldable alloys and hence gaining new knowledge for both joining processes for such new applications.
* To develop repair schemes of short distance welds and define allowable damages to minimize the maintenance and operational costs.
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