Electrical Resistance Welding and Its Use For Aviation

Welding is a process of joining two or more parts together through the application of high heat that causes fusion through the cooling of melting surfaces. Electrical resistance welding in particular is a process in which an electric arc and pressure are used for the joining of elements. With the use of a powerful arc, metal pieces may be melted down and forged together through fusion. First invented in the 19th century, electric resistance welding still remains a popular procedure for many applications due to its various advantages over other welding types.

In general, electric resistance welding is most beneficial for when thin metal sheet components are to be joined together. As a result, such welding methods are often relied on during aviation manufacturing processes. When carrying out a weld, electric current is induced to the sheet, causing electrodes to apply pressure onto the materials. As the force exerted on the sheets turns into heat, melting will occur for a weld to be established. The electrode then finalizes the process by extracting heat from the operational space so that a cooled nugget forms at the solidified welding point.

Electric resistance welding is advantageous for the speed at which it may be carried out, enabling it to be used for large-scale manufacturing processes. Additionally, certain aspects of electric resistance welding may be automated, furthering the ease of manufacturing as labor may be reduced. Unlike other forms of welding, electric resistance welding does not require the use of a flux or filler rod, and no consumable materials are spent during the process. For the benefit of novice working personnel, such welding processes require little skill, and such machinery is fairly cheap to operate. Nevertheless, up-front costs may be high, but these are made up with the economically friendly operating costs further down the line.

When carrying out electric resistance welding, there are a few common methods that may be used. These include seam, spot, projection, butt, and flash resistance welding, each of which has its own unique application. Seam welding is optimal for overlapping metal sheets, and such processes utilize two roller electrodes to achieve a constant pressure for a continuous joint. Seam welding is popularly relied on for automobile and aviation manufacturing, often being used for aluminum pieces. Spot welding involves a stationary sheet and a moving sheet, and an upward electrode creates fusion through pressure. Generally, spot welding also may be used for aircraft and automotive manufacturing, as well as other related applications.

Projection welding is considered a form of spot welding, differing in the fact that flat electrodes are used. While serving as an expensive form of welding, projection welding can allow for the fusion of thicker parts as compared to the other methods. Butt welding, meanwhile, is a method that ensures that welding is established across the entirety of an object, regularly being employed for the fusion of pipes and rods. Lastly, flash welding is a procedure in which the working parts create the heat necessary for fusion, and current may be used to remove any surface irregularities. To achieve a perfect weld, such methods also allow for a thin film to be produced at the joint for more perfect results. Typically, flash welding is used for railing ends and shaft axles.

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