The Most Common Surface Treatments Used in Aerospace

The manufacturing process of aerospace equipment such as the airframes, engines, landing gear, turbine blades, flap tracks and axles, is complex and requires specialist engineers to prevent what could be life-threatening mistakes in the structure. An important part of the manufacturing of aerospace equipment is the treatment of the surfaces. It may not sound like much, but it plays a crucial role in preventing the equipment from corroding, getting damaged easily, or not adhering properly to the materials it is attached to. Here are the most common surface treatments used in the aerospace industry.

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Firstly, there is corrosion protection. The most common material used for this is cadmium because it can provide landing gear with a sacrificial barrier as well as support lugs. It is an ideal treatment as its repairs require minimal, if not any, dismantlement at all.

Secondly, there is a pre-braze surface treatment which is when the turbine blades are plated with nickel so the surface can wet properly when brazed.

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Another treatment used in aerospace is refurbishment. This is when nickel is used for restoration of components such as bushing bores and end bell housings. Parts that are ‘out of tolerance’, because of wear or mis-machining, can be plated without disassembling.

The last two most common surface treatments are surface enhancements and anodising. For surface enhancements, nickel is applied in order to improve the wear resistance of a component. Anodizing is a complex process to replace damaged hard coats.

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Author: Richard Brown

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