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Welding of blades to disks (blisks) and blades to rings (blings) became a reality with the development of a new variant on the friction welding process for metals. Instead of the normal rotary process, one part is moved in a linear reciprocating motion to effect the heat at the joint. This opened up the process to parts with non-rotational symmetry and the aerospace industry was among the first sector to spot the opportunities offered.
Bladed disks with mechanically attached blades were heavy because of the need to support the sacrificial weight of the blade root fixing. Production welded blisks today are much lighter than their previous counterparts, contributing greatly to the weight and cost savings of aeroengine manufacture.
TWI demonstrated the feasibility of the technique and then worked with a number of large companies to move the process from a research tool into the production process it is today.
Future applications include blings, and the end-welding of engine rings and bosses to the engine.
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