Understanding the Aviation Welding Process

Aviation welding is now an integral part of basic aircraft maintenance. Previously, technicians would replace malfunctioning or worn down airplane parts to achieve smooth flight, but this method is not cost effective, meaning only the rich could afford it.

In today’s world, new methods are being devised in the aviation industry to weld and join the old aircraft parts after repairing them. This will cut costs in terms of aircraft repair and maintenance operations that would otherwise be much higher. What we are seeing is that welds are rapidly replacing rivets in the industry, as they provide increased strength and structural integrity. However, selecting the right welding process from all the available options can be difficult. To streamline the selection process, this blog will cover some of the most common welding processes and how to choose one based on your requirements.

Friction Welding (FRW)

Mechanical deformation is utilized in friction welding to join two metals, making the union as strong as the base material. This method can be used with a variety of materials like steel, aluminum, and wood, and does not utilize filler metals, flux, or shielding gas. Friction welding finds use in areas where parts have simple cross-sections such as circular. It also finds use in areas that necessitate the bonding of wood without adhesives or nails. 

Friction Stir Welding (FSW)

This welding method is also carried out through mechanical deformation. In this method, a shouldered tool is slowly plunged into the joint line between two pieces of plate butted together. This process is popularly used to weld aluminum alloys of series 2xxx and 7xxx. In some sectors, FSW replaces Plasma Arc Welding (PAW) and Electron Beam Welding (EBW).

Laser Welding

Laser welding is used when higher accuracy and minimal distortions are needed. It takes advantage of a concentrated and narrow laser beam to weld two pieces together. Furthermore, you can achieve deep welds and high joining rates with this method. Laser welding is perfect for welding engine components that are made of heat-resistant alloys. In addition, due to its high welding speed, laser welding is ideal for high volume applications, such as those found in the automotive industry.

Electron Beam Welding (EBW)

As EBW uses a high beam of electrons to join materials, it is performed within a vacuum to prevent the beam from dissipating. The electrons’ kinetic energy is converted into heat upon contact with the materials, which melts the material. Materials like titanium alloys benefit from this welding method, since they cannot be welded in an open atmosphere. It is the method of choice when one needs to join thick sections, required for some application in the aerospace and nuclear power sectors.

Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)

While it is used worldwide for its low cost, gas metal arc welding has a large welding source that can produce poor mechanical properties. Nonetheless, it used to serve as the main welding process for fuel and oxidizer tanks for the Saturn V rocket. 


ASAP Components is a premier distributor of aviation welding tools and instruments, all of which are sourced from top global manufacturers that we trust. With countless new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find options, customers can fulfill their operational requirements with ease. Kickoff the procurement process with a competitive quote on any desired item and see how ASAP Components can serve as your strategic sourcing partner. For questions about our other offered services, call or email us at any time; we are available 24/7x365!


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