Industrial Oven and Furnace Application Spotlight: Aircraft Metals

Industrial oven and furnaces are used to perform a variety of heat treatment processes on raw materials. They are widely adopted in the aerospace industry, from the manufacturing process to maintenance and repair once the aircraft is built.

This blog post will look specifically at some of the aircraft metal applications that be achieved using industrial ovens and furnaces.

Stress Reduction

Reducing stress in metals is important for all industries, especially aerospace. There are many causes of stress in metals, including stress that is a result of an externally applied load, and residual stresses that are internal and is a build-up of the various treatments the metal may undergo.

Welding is often used in the construction of aircraft and this is a common source of residual stress due to the fast thermal expansion and contraction in a localized area. If a metal undergoes too much stress, it can result in cracking, distortion, or buckling, all of which are not desired properties of aircraft metals.

Annealing using an industrial oven or furnace is a popular method of reducing this residual stress in aircraft metals. While this process can be used to achieve a number of other things, when used for stress relieving the material is heated to a temperature just below the lower critical temperature before it is steadily cooled.

Improved Strength

Aircraft metals are required to be strong and durable while also being as lightweight as possible to reduce fuel consumption. The process of hardening metals in an industrial oven or furnace is one way to ensure the required strength is achieved.

Hardening works by heating the metal above the critical transformation temperature, and then a fast cooling, which results in a much stronger structure. This helps to ensure safety and increase aircraft speed.

Corrosion Resistance

Corrosion is a big issue for aircraft metals due to the extreme environments that they encounter, including heavy rain, wind, and snow. There are various heat treatment processes that are used to provide metals with high resistance to corrosion.

Performed in an industrial oven or furnace, quenching is the process of cooling a metal at a rapid rate to increase corrosion resistance and resistance to deformation.

Quenching can cause brittleness in metals though, which is not desired in aircraft metals, so tempering is often performed after to help to reduce this. In this process, the metal is heated to a specified temperature and then cooled.

 

Thermcraft supply a range of different industrial ovens and furnaces that can be used to heat treat metals for the aerospace industry. If you would like any more information about any of our products please contact us.